CNN Religion Blog: How You Feel Toward God...

I'm going to try to be nice here.

Tim Clinton, President of American Association of Christian Counselors, and Joshua Straub, an adjunct professor at Liberty University, are the authors of a book called God Attachment.  They wrote an article about their theories for CNN's Belief Blog.

Apart from a LOT of masculine references for God (he/him/his...) the piece is basically about how our perceptions of God and our attitudes toward God are deeply impacted by our individual "relationship style."

Secure: a positive view of self/a positive view of others
Avoidant: an overly inflated view of self/a negative view of others
Anxious: a negative view of self/an over inflated view of others
Fearful: a negative view of self/a negative view of others

Actually, I think this is pretty true.  It seems fairly intuitive (of course our personalities, attitudes toward others and self-concept affect our read on God), but hey, if it sells books, go for it!

What the article actually opens with, however, is troubling.  They write:
A few weeks ago, Christopher Hitchens was interviewed on CNN. A renowned atheist who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, Hitchens told Anderson Cooper, “If you hear that I came to God on my death bed, don’t believe it.”  We were stunned. Why? Because a growing body of research shows that from an early age we are hardwired for a relationship with a "Transcendent One."  For Hitchens to willfully decide that he will fight off or deny any future existential longing he may develop for God - or shut out any evidence he comes across in favor of God - is grievous.
"We were stunned."  Really?  Isn't that just a little dramatic, fellas?  I mean, it's Christopher Hitchens.  Did you think he'd turned casually agnostic?  It's no different than a Christian saying, "If you hear that I rejected God on my death bed, don't believe it."  Christians say this sort of thing all the time with no worry over possibilities of subsequent changes of heart. 

I also think that if a growing body of research shows that we're hardwired for faith, then it's actually even more likely that - at least in part - religious belief is an evolutionary trait.  That doesn't undermine my belief in God, but it does reinforce for me that religion, and spirituality itself, has evolutionary benefits to a society that have no grounding in whether or not God is actually real.

The real reason I would assume Hitchens made that statement is because of the ways that Evangelicals tend to manipulate and redact the beliefs of famous "non-believers."   Charles Darwin, though not an atheist, did not "accept Jesus on his death bed."  Christian propagandists claim that Anton LaVey, the founder of modern Satanism, also accepted Christ on his death bed (notice a trend here?).

Remember the story about the anonymous atheist professor who challenges God to keep a piece of chalk from breaking when he drops it from his hand?  Then he converts when it rolls off his pant leg?

I've heard Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein called "Christians," too.  Sorry.

Wikipedia has a page, "Former Atheists and Agnostics" - I thought it might offer more helpful information, but it lists people like Kirk Cameron among "converts."  Hardly compelling.

My point being: I completely understand Hitchens wanting to clarify his unbending position.  There may be a host of Christian bloggers ready and waiting to post all sorts of propaganda when he passes.  Even can't effectively counteract all the rumors that become unsubstantiated truth.  Agree with him or disagree, Hitchens still deserves to be represented for the things he actually believed.  Everyone does.

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