Matt Casper threw his atheism under the capitalist bus, and let Jim Henderson pay him to visit Church in the USA. What followed was a retelling of those visits in Jim & Casper Go to Church.
Jim is an old and good friend, and Matt I have yet to meet. But Matt has offered to interact with our students on the Leadership and Global Perspectives D.Min, as we explore atheism next term/semester.
We already have Peter Boghossian ready to interact with us. Peter is a philosopher and lecturer, who wants to convert his students away from faith, which he diagnoses as a 'cognitive sickness'.
Matt is a different kind of atheist. He's not a philosopher, scientist or academic. But he is an atheist who has spent time listening and interacting with the subjects of many atheist polemics.
Matt stands out as an atheist who has spent some time in conversation with people of faith, i.e. trying to understand them directly instead of through straw man caricatures. His interactions with Christians, does not seem to have led to any conversion of Matt to faith. But it does seem to have led to some other things for Matt.
Firstly his observations of faith in action, are far closer to the real thing. And as a result make for far more uncomfortable reading. Matt get's under the skin of Christians and faith in a way that the scientific naturalism used by many popular atheists, in an attempt to bludgeon religion to death never will.
Secondly Matt has some observations about the methods and nature of atheism, that it seems many atheists find unpalatable. In this guest blog post Matt as an atheist criticises Hitchens and Dawkins methods of interacting with religion.
Reading the couple of hundred comments in response to Matt, is like reading a religious web site, where the doctrines and the main proponents of faith have been called into question, before the defenders of that faith. It would seem to be analogous to heresy for an atheist to question the canon of Hitchen and Dawkins.
Anyhow, as we try to get under the skin of atheism, Matt will add another dimension to our conversations. You can follow those in the early summer, when they happen here. I'll post notice about them on my site here when that takes place.