May 10, 2021

Christian Atheism

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One of the things that is truly fascinating about the atheist movement in America in 2008 is not that there are people that actually believe that the Universe was brought about from nothing, but that they attempt to take morality from Christianity and then claim a secular derivation in order to take ownership of said morality.

For example, not very long ago an atheist decided to raise money for a charity. Why would they do such a thing? The concept of loving your neighbor is a Christian concept, not a secular one. In fact, if you were to derive morality from science, you would end up arguing that the helpless should be left without help so that the fittest may survive.

Take, for instance, this exchange:

Michel Onfray criticizes [Richard Dawkins] and his fellow secular humanists in In Defense of Atheism, stating “many individuals who consider themselves atheists profess – without noticing it – an ethic, a way of thinking, a vision of the world saturated in Judeo-Christianity…. The Western body (including that of atheists, Muslims, deists and agnostics raised in the geographic and ideological Judeo-Christian zone) is Christian.”

Dawkins’s atheism, like most Western atheists, is inherently Christian in its very framework. This is why Onfray rejects “Christian atheism” and calls for a post-Christian “atheist atheism”. He writes: “The immanent ordering of the world distinguishes the Christian atheist from the Christian believer. But not their values, which remain identical…. Their concerns are charity, temperance, compassion, mercy and humility, but also love of one’s neighbor and the forgiveness of offenses…. Most of the time, this Christian atheism dismisses the Pauline hatred of the body, its rejection of desires, pleasures, drives and passions.”

So, what you see here, and in places like Finding Common Ground is exactly the opposite of what the atheists really believe. When the atheists have to spend time proving how “Christian” they are, they are not truly expressing what they really believe at the core. Instead, they are forced to be almost parasitic of the Christian foundations– the Christian morals– and yet differentiate themselves by deviating from the norm.

So, basically, we have Christian Atheists that are expressing the virtues defined by Christianity and taking away those things that cramp their individual style.

Hardly original, and indicative of exactly which one is the truth and which is the lie masquerading as truth.

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19 thoughts on “Christian Atheism

  1. Yes, Min, because before Christianity, there wasn’t an ounce of morality or good vs evil in the world. You get to take all the credit for that.


    Your book served to codify what has always existed. Look back to Greek and Roman mythology and you’ll find stories of altrusim and right vs. wrong.

    I was waiting for you to take issue with Common Ground. The goddess forbid people of different backgrounds and beliefs work together instead of always trying to divide and beat down. Shame on you.

    Musicguy’s last blog post..Video Thursday

  2. Actually, Musicguy, God created all people perfect, and yet we chose sin. Then He gave us simple instructions, and we failed to follow them. Then He gave a law to His people that failed to follow them. Then He sent His Son, who we decided to crucify. God has given morality in the form of internal conscience and external law. Man has always chaffed at them and decided that he knew what was better. And it’s no different with the culture today, that exalts some morals and rejects those that speak out against their personal sin.

    I have no problem with people working together, regardless of what you say. What I have a problem with is not identifying what something truly is. Atheism, at its root, has no such morality, except where it benefits the individual. So you could construct that I should be nice to someone because they might be nice to me, but that’s not a construct for morality. That’s simply doing whatever benefits me. Totally focused on the individual, not on others. And there’s no logical or reasonable way you can argue that the atheist should be concerned about someone else except how it benefits him for his period of time before he’s annihilated. Even “because it makes me feel good” is focused internally.

    When you come to morality, especially Christianity, you’re more concerned about what God thinks of your actions, loving Him and your neighbor. It’s totally others focused rather than self focused. And therein is one of the biggest differences, and one of the reasons (philosophically) it’s hard to find the common ground you seek.

  3. Obviously you don’t know very well what I believe, Berlzebub. Christianity is founded upon the work that Christ did on the cross. His death and resurrection from the dead is what is key because in that act He paid the entire price for my sin, your sin– everyone’s sin. All He asks is faith and repentance. One of the verses that supports this goes that if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, then we will be saved.

    At that point, Hell is no longer in the picture. In fact, Paul spends a great deal of time in Romans (chapters 5 and 6) discussing what those who believe in Christ were and what they now are. Since Christians are no longer under the law (that condemns one to death and Hell) but are now under grace, Christians are not to continue in sin, even though their salvation is secure.

    Let me try to boil it down. Whatever I do now has no impact on where I will be for eternity. That was decided first on the cross and then secondly when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior some 24 years ago. My actions, my “good works” are an outgrowth of my desire to please my God, my life and my family not because I’m concerned about going to Hell. I’m continuing my growth to become the person that God has for me to be, to grow in my relationship with Him, but none of this is due to fear of Hell.

  4. That’s the most succinct answer I’ve seen to the question of avoiding hell through what you do. Good job!

    I do have to ask though… why are you equating morality with Christianity? In fact, you called Christianity “a morality” up there.

    Amanda’s last blog post..Pros and Cons

  5. The current version of morality that we operate under is a Christian morality. The whole philosophy/concept of do unto others is a Christian moral concept derived off the golden rule. Charity is a derivation of this moral concept.

    Atheism takes Christian morality and then subtracts what interferes with their own personal desires. For example, the whole sexual portions of Christian morality are thrown out of a lot of Atheistic philosophy. However, this is parasitic and not based strictly off atheism. If we take “survival of the fittest” and other Atheistic principles as the core foundation of a morality rather than Christian principles, we see none of the charitable giving, none of the concern for the poor, sick, or deformed, and the value of life diminishes since life is neither special or sacred.

    Hence why Atheists don’t have a problem having lives taken, regardless of innocence, if it allows some perceived benefit. We saw this in the case of the abortion debate. Without life being sacred, killing innocent life is justified by trivial matters of benefit to the individual. Same thing with capital punishment. There’s no higher law or justice (hence why the constant request that we eliminate the Biblical part of our discussion) that dictates what is moral other than what we believe to be moral. So then we must seek to justify our positions based on our own biases, survey data (in all of its unreliability) or some other criteria that’s subject to change over time.

    A really good illustration of this is how homosexuality has been perceived over just the last century. At the beginning of 1900s it was considered a mental disease to be treated by the medical community and the act was a sin by the religious community. Throughout the time period, as the stigma and sin attached to the act was removed, the community began to believe that it wasn’t a problem, just deviant. Then it was acceptable, and now it’s simultaneously a minority and a celebrated lifestyle. The higher moral didn’t change, what changed was people’s attachment to the moral.

    And this is the exact problem with the concept of no higher moral set, no absolutes– and democracy. Human nature will tend to push the boundaries. It will tend to define things that are convenient, regardless of how inconsistent. It will elevate one sin or another sin because they don’t want to be convicted about that sin.

    How else can we explain how Sodom and Gomorrah got to where they were– where a father would offer his daughters to a sexually aggressive crowd to protect two angels that came to visit? We can’t comprehend this, and yet throughout our history we’ve had white people torture blacks inside churches and homosexuals torture church members inside churches. It’s certainly within our nature when we’re a mob.

    The question is, how long will we buy into the farce that is Atheistic morality or will we recognize it as it is– at best “Christian lite” at worst, whatever is right in my own eyes.

  6. Obviously you don’t know very well what I believe, Berlzebub.

    The same goes for me and other atheists. You take the reasons that you feel we do things and try to rationalize that they’re selfish.

    Atheism simply means “no god(s)”, and says absolutely nothing about morals. Where atheists get their morals is probably too long of a list to even begin here, and not all of them take the same path. So, stop asserting that atheists have to be selfish, because of their lack of belief. It’s not only wrong, but runs counter to most of the things that you just said about your beliefs.

    Berlzebub’s last blog post..Late Night Conversation

  7. Berlzebub, when I talk about Atheism I’m not specifically singling you out as much as talking about the philosophy behind Atheism, and what must derive from it. When you state:

    So you’re belief in the punishment of Hell or reward of Heaven doesn’t play into why you do good things and avoid the bad ones?

    You’re specifically quoting my belief, and doing so incorrectly. Where it is true that some branches of Christendom do believe in a works based philosophy as far as making it to Heaven or ending up in Hell, I do not.

    As for your further statements, you’re right. Atheism says nothing about morals, but you have to construct them from somewhere, and I would challenge you to list your personal morals and compare them with traditional Christian morals and see how the stack up.

    However, that’s but a sub-point to the main point. In the absence of a higher moral standard given from God (or a god), each person must therefore be able to construct any moral set they want– therefore they choose the ones that they wish to believe and follow and discard those they do not. By definition this may not be selfish, but it is pride to a degree. There is no motivation for an Atheist to put any moral code on them that does not benefit them personally. There’s no logical reason for an Atheist to put something in their life that would convict them. There is logical reasons for sacrifice (or perceived sacrifice for personal gain), but not for building a moral structure that did not benefit themselves.

  8. I don’t know why it would not be allowing you to comment. I have no one in a ban queue or in my moderation queue at this time. I do know that there were three comments that were caught by Akismet as spam, but they were from Robert and someone that’s not posted before. There is some software checking for multiple comments, but that should land you in the moderation queue, not the spam queue. Since this message got through, try again, and I’ll watch for it.

  9. Berlzebub, I think I may have the answer. This site actually posts all comments to CoComments so they can be tracked. However, it appears as if CoComments was having trouble yesterday. There should be a box under the comment box that lets you close the CoComment system. If you run into further trouble, try that.

  10. Thanks for taking the time to respond, and your kind words. I’m currently trying to think through all the topics to provide a decent reply to both you and this thread and Robert in the other one.

  11. i completely agree, even though I’m a Christian. I would rather have you (a blatant athiest) than one of the many hypocrites who call themselves athiests and then bash Christians for their beliefs. Thanks for putting this out there.

  12. In response to Berzlebub, ever heard of logic? Athiesm takes away any need or reason for morals. Without God, there aren’t any morals. It’s a logical, even obvious consequence of not believing in God that you don’t have any rules for behavior. As an athiest, you should be killing anyone who you don’t like, murdering sick people, and reproducing as many times as possible. After all we’re just animals, right? Animals don’t need morals.
    P.S. The last couple lines were, indeed, sarcasm.

  13. adam, who is the blatant atheist? I guess I’m just being a little dense here, but it sounds like you believe that I’m an atheist. Let me assure you that I’m far from an atheist.

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