Atheists attending future conferences and rallies geared toward their unbelief may be handed reading material aimed directly at changing their hearts, namely a 12-page tabloid produced by a semi-retired pastor from Melbourne, Australia.
Dennis Prince, co-founder of Kingston City Church in Clarinda, said he will be distributing his publication, The Regal Standard, at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne planned for April, according to Australian news publication The Age.
The lead story in the Regal Standard's first issue is about "the world's most notorious atheist," philosopher Antony Flew, described in The Age article as "one of the 20th century's most influential atheists." The front-page headline, published in the typical tabloid style of large-letter font, is "I WAS WRONG," and the story refers to Flew changing his mind about the existence of God.
"It surprised me when I got all the articles together how compelling was the case for God and his greatness," said Prince as reported by The Age. "I was delighted and humbled by that. But I know that atheists will raise hard questions – some are insurmountable."
Atheist activist Paul Z. Myers, associate professor of biology at University of Minnesota, Morris, wrote in his blog posted at FreeThoughtBlogs.com that Prince is "determined to intrude on the Global Atheist Convention."
Calling the Regal Standard a "rag of a paper," he said Prince is selling the paper "as testimony to the godless heathens who will be gathering in Melbourne."
In his review of the publication, Myers concluded, "I'm mainly astounded that the two best arguments for the existence of [G]od that this guy could find, judging by their placement in his newspaper, are the ridiculous Heaven is for Real book and an anecdote about an elderly atheist who get wobbly about his unbelief. If that's the best they can do for evidence, it's clear that Christianity is dying."
The Regal Standard was created as a response to the atheist convention, according to its website. "The atheist convention seeks to deny God, blame Christians for many evils in the world and discourage people from the faith. The Regal Standard acknowledges and honours God, proclaims the many great things he has done through his followers, and encourages people to follow God. The media will not be sympathetic to Christians. We need to produce our own."
According to The Age, Prince felt God was telling him that the convention in Melbourne "was happening on his watch, and he had to respond."
"People know intuitively that God is there, we see it in the morals of creations. The paper should not try to defend God but honor him and reveal something of his work," Prince said. "While I'm disturbed about the convention, I see a positive spin-off. Public interest will be stimulated, and we get to give the answers. Otherwise the gullible will be led down the garden path."
Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, philosophers Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss are expected to speak at the convention. Convention organizer David Nicholls, president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, said Prince's publication is "a sign of desperation by the creationist camp" to discredit the gathering, according to The Age.
"I'm certain the people on the creation side think we are the work of the devil," Nicholls said.
Prince, who co-wrote Nine Days in Heaven, with his wife, Nolene, said the paper, which has atheist bloggers buzzing, has also brought an amicable response from atheists wanting to dialogue.
However, Myers may not be sharing the love, instead describing Prince as "one of those humble Christians who, like the evangelicals who plan to evangelize at the Reason Rally, is determined to intrude."
The Reason Rally planned for the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on March 24 is sponsored by the nation's largest and most influential secular groups, organizers say. There is no announcement as to whether The Regal Standard will be distributed at the event.