i wrote recently about the nines, a christian conference that took place online last week. as previously noted, the conference has had its fair (and warranted) share of criticism in the past, namely for its lack of diversity (specifically when it comes to gender, not to mention sexual, theological and cultural diversity).
so i was particularly interested when i found that noted atheist leader hemant mehta, who runs the website the friendly atheist, would be giving a presentation. his presentation certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of his provocation and candor.
a quick disclaimer: there will be a number of people who watch the video and are immediately turned off by what is, no doubt, a smug and somewhat condescending tone in his delivery. that’s unfortunate, because his message is really important and couldn’t be any more needed at a conference like this. some will absolutely dismiss it because of that, but if christians humbly listen and genuinely reflect on his message, it’s a message worth considering.
in a nutshell, his message is the following: my atheist recruitment efforts could never even come close to being as effective as the long term damage christians have done to christianity because of their hateful and dismissive beliefs about gay people.
soak that in for a minute.
not that mehta would go this far, but honestly, the new atheism isn’t moving the needle on people leaving their faith behind. it’s just not. they’re a fringe just as much as the fundamentalist fringe of christianity (who isn’t swaying people either). but where mehta is 100% correct is that the conservative christian belief regarding homosexuality is pushing away an entire generation. for people my age and younger, the hate and rejection of gay people has been one that has made the christian faith irrelevant.
but instead of me explaining it, take a look at the video by mehta. if you can get past his tone, i think it’s a valuable message worth considering.