Jerry Johnston Researches Reason Rally 2016: David Silverman

Though he comes from Jewish roots, David Silverman has been an atheist for most of his life and is currently the president of the non-profit organization American Atheists. The organization supports atheist rights and the effective removal of any governmental religious expression. I watched Silverman define the term “atheist” for the large crowd at the Reason Rally in June 2016 at our nation’s capital:

“An atheist, ladies and gentlemen, is a person without theism, a person without a belief in god, atheism. A person without a belief in a deity. If you don’t have that belief in a deity, you’re an atheist. It’s not about whether or not you’re absolutely sure there are no gods, and it’s not whether or not you know everything in the universe. It’s about what you know. If you don’t have a belief in a god, you’re an atheist. If you don’t have a belief in a god and you absolutely hate the word “atheist” too bad, you’re still an atheist.”

              Atheism is rising as millennials leave their faith in millions. These “nones” were raised in a biblically illiterate culture surrounded by people who think belief in a god is irrational. With our upcoming documentary and accompanying resources, Cristie Jo and I want to partner with churches and help individuals. Just as Silverman clarified the definition of “atheist,” we must clarify what it means to be a Christian.


Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.

Jerry Johnston Researches Reason Rally 2016: Anthony Pinn

The applause that met Anthony Pinn as he greeted the crowd at the Reason Rally was proof of his popularity in secular circles. In June of 2016, I stood with that crowd and listened to Pinn, an American professor of religion and theology from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Pinn is the founder and director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning, and he had something to say about the existence, or lack thereof, of gods.

“For much of the year, we do what we do, the hard work that’s necessary to make this nation more reasonable within the confines of our local communities and regional organizations, but this weekend, this day, we stand strong, family committed to reason and logic. We are prepared to carry our reason without regret, without shame, and with a determination to demand life free of prejudice and discrimination, because we choose to live life based upon reason rather than the words of old books somehow deemed sacred. Theists may try to dismiss us but we will not be ignored. We will not stand by while religious paranoia rules the day, strangling public life. Today marks a new day, a bright and beautiful day when we recognize the public importance of atheism and humanism. We are good without gods.”

              Pinn’s chilling statement “We are good without gods” should spur Christian leaders and pastors as they strive to teach men and women in an increasingly secular culture. Could you counter Anthony Pinn?  Cristie Jo and I earnestly desire to partner with pastors as they seek to fight the rising tide of biblical illiteracy among professing Christians. To facilitate this partnership, we are developing resources that will assist all ages in their quest for biblical literacy.

Jerry Johnston Researches Reason Rally 2016: Larry Decker

My crew and I attended the Reason Rally in Washington DC in June of 2016 to document the largest gathering of atheists in America. We listened to Larry Decker, the Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, and long-time government relations professional in the capital. He spent nearly eight years in leadership with the American Red Cross and was the campaign manager for D.C. mayoral candidate, Reta Jo Lewis. Decker said,

“This is a rally that supports religious freedoms, for those who believe, and those who don’t. This is a rally that supports the freedom of, and more importantly, the freedom from, religion. This is a rally to unite all Americans around shared secular values, because secular values are American values. How this Reason Rally is remembered will depend not on what we do here today, but what we do every single day after we go home. I want this Reason Rally to be remembered as a turning point in American history; as the day we started to repeal the religious privilege and exemption laws that the Right has forced on the federal government, on our State houses, and on each of us.”

Sadly, the trend in the North American church is secularization and conformity to the culture. As Christians, our values should come from scripture. Can you defend the truth of the bible and the reasons we have for maintaining our Christian values? Millennials have obviously been left ill-equipped to face such questions and resort to abandoning their faith. Cristie and I are producing resources to equip Christians of all ages to defend the truth of the Bible.


Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.

Jerry Johnston Researches Reason Rally 2016: Ian Harris

Satirical comedian Ian Harris has appeared on popular shows, including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Comedy Central, as well as his own TV special “Critical and Thinking” that is currently on Hulu. He has a skeptical comment for everything from global warming to religion. With his wit and humor, Harris entertained the crowd of the Reason Rally in Washington DC this summer:

              “God creates these two people, Adam and Eve, puts them in this garden. He said, do not eat this fruit. There’s this forbidden tree of knowledge, we can’t have you thinking or learning, so do not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. And then a little while goes by and a talking snake comes along and he says, yeah, don’t worry about that guy, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Go ahead and eat the fruit. They eat the fruit, God goes, whoa, I told you not to eat the fruit. Now I’m going to have to punish everybody for all eternity by sending them to burn in eternal hellfire, right? And that’s what he does. You’re born, sorry, you go to hell. Why? She ate some fruit, I’m sorry.  You’re born, you go to hell. You’re born, I’m sorry, it’s called justice. That’s how it works. You’re born, you go to hell. Sorry, she ate the fruit. You’re born, you go to – yeah, and then after a few thousand years, or you know, a couple million, depending on whose book you read, God says to himself, I might be being a tad bit irrational. I’m going to have another child, this time a son, and murder him, so that you don’t have to go to hell because this chick ate some fruit. At that point, my daughter gets really angry with me. She goes, Daddy, stop it! Quit being silly. That doesn’t make any sense. Now would you just tell me the real story? And I look at her and I go, you know what, baby girl, that is the appropriate response.”  

              Harris’ version of the Gospel is quite different from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Are you able to discern the difference? Can you defend your beliefs? Cristie Jo and I are making a documentary and writing many other resources that will teach men and women the truths of the Gospel.

 


Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.

Jerry Johnston Researches Reason Rally 2016: Mark White

At the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., Mark White, the bass player for the 1990s band the Spin Doctors and an active member of the atheist community, addressed the crowd from the main stage. Mark is a proponent of actively combatting Christianity rather than tolerating it through the New Atheism Movement. After speaking about the hypocrisy of Christians, Mark said:

“So one of the things that really made me upset in the beginning was that being an atheist was a horrible thing. Like, I had – I just chose not to believe in God because there’s no evidence. I realized there was no evidence. I read the Bible. I did everything that was in the Bible that you’re supposed to do, and none of this came out. And so when I became an atheist, I got, like super crazy attacked. All my Christian friends were like, “You’re going straight to hell. What the hell’s wrong with you? You shouldn’t be doing that. God’s gonna strike you down.” And so like, I’m – you know, look, I’m here today, so I thought I’d be struck down before I got here, actually. But here I am. So for all you Christian people, and all you people who are on the fence, the best thing you can do is to question everything.”

Reason and logic pose no threat to the validity of the Christian message. Are you aware of the evidence that supports the conclusion that the Bible is true? Aside from our upcoming documentary, Cristie Jo and I are writing and developing many other digital resources that will equip men and women of all ages with the truth.  


Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.

Jerry Johnston Researches Reason Rally 2016: Robyn Blumner address

Robyn Blumner, the CEO and President of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason, spoke at the Reason Rally at our nation’s capital. I stood in Continue reading “Jerry Johnston Researches Reason Rally 2016: Robyn Blumner address”

Jerry Johnston Interviews Jens Schröter on the Religious Landscape of Germany

Producing stalwart and tenacious theologians, Germany once influenced the world through Christians such as Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Why has Christianity lost its influence in Germany? Continue reading “Jerry Johnston Interviews Jens Schröter on the Religious Landscape of Germany”