Sunday, July 24, 2011

The public and private face of atheism

Yesterday, my son and I read and discussed two chapters in Loving God by Charles Colson. In chapter  5, Just another book? he discusses his encounter with the prominent atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair. She was eager to denounce the Bible but would not touch it of hold it in her hand when Colson offered it to her to show him passages that supported her arguments. This encounter took place during a debate between Colson and O'Hair arranged by David Frost, but was never televised. [I searched on YouTube but could not find it. Anyone know if it is online?].

The life story of O'Hair is a fascinating and tragic one. She gained notoriety in the USA for  being the plaintiff in the landmark 1963 decision of the Supreme Court which banned teacher led prayers in public schools. [BTW, I would agree with this decision from both a theological and legal perspective]. O'Hair later founded American Atheists, from which she was accused of embezzling millions of dollars. She was eventually abducted and murdered in a gruesome manner by one of her employees.

A great irony is that her son, William Murray [on whose behalf she filed the lawsuit] became a Christian in 1980. His mother disowned him (in a particularly scathing manner). He eventually became a Baptist minister, and is now an advocate of (very) conservative political causes in the USA [BTW: most of which I would not be sympathetic too]. He wrote about his chaotic childhood and his mother's moral failures.

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