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Atheism's Best Friend?


By freak80   Follow   Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 7:43am PDT   3,105 views   20 comments
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As we all know, Protestant Liberalism has done a lot of work refuting historic Christianity. Shouldn't atheists support Protestant Liberalism, then? After all, what better way to get rid of historic Christianity than to undermine it from within?

What do I mean by "Protestant Liberalism" and "historic Christianity"? I mean in the same sense that J. Gresham Machen used the terms in his book "Christianity and Liberalism."

Thoughts?

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leo707   Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 8:51am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 1

I don't think that atheism's primary concern is to "get rid of" historic christianity. For the most part I don't think atheists even care what religious beliefs another person practices.

They just want the freedom to not-believe, and not be persecuted for said unbelief.

futuresmc   Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 10:45am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 2

leoj707 says

They just want the freedom to not-believe, and not be persecuted for said unbelief.

Exactly. Athiests merely don't believe in divinity or things of supernatural origin. Athiesm is not a conspiracy or a religious sect in coflict with 'historic christianity', which in and of itself is a lie.

Christianity has always had a liberal side to it. Christ was quoted as being big on social justice and forgiveness of sins rather than harsh punishment of sinners. 'Historic christianity' as you put it was a construct of the protestant reformation, although it had some of its origins in the political realities of the Roman Empire.

freak80   Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 2:49pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 3

I'm not trying to say anything against Atheism. My point is that there isn't much difference, functionally, between Atheism and Protestant Liberalism.

As for the case that the protestant reformation "invented" Christianity, that's a pretty tough case to make historically. Look at the three Christian creeds, written in the first few centuries after Christ: all of the "basic" doctrines of Christianity are there. St. Paul's epistles were written even earlier, and all of the "basic" doctrines of Christianity (abhorred by both atheists and Protestant Liberals alike) are there.

Again, I'm not trying to debate the merits of Atheism vs. Protestant Liberalism vs. historic Christianity. My point is that Atheism and Protestant Liberalism are functionally the same thing: "deeds not creeds", as the slogan goes. Much of the effort that attempts to debunk historic Christianity comes from Protestant Liberalism.

Dan8267   Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 3:34pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 4

As the resident atheist here, I'll shed some light on this subject. Atheism does not have any agendas, atheists do. Atheism is simply the disbelieve in the supernatural including gods. Atheists like myself promote rational thinking which inevitably leads to the rejection of all superstitions.

We vocal atheists don't have it in for religion per say, we have it in for irrationality and deception of which religion is a prime example. We also have it in for lies that masquerade as historical truths like "Jesus walked on water and rose Lazerus from the dead". No he didn't. Ancient Egyptian scrolls, carbon dated to be older than Christianity, reveal these stories to have been Egyptian myths before they were copied by the early Christians. The historical truth is undeniable.

As for Protestant Liberalism, I have never heard of that, so I cannot have an opinion on it. However, I would reject any philosophical or moral framework based on falsehoods including the falsehood of a supreme, benevolent creator. If your philosophy can't stand on its own two feet, no fictitious god can help it.

futuresmc   Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 6:04pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 5

wthrfrk80 says

As for the case that the protestant reformation "invented" Christianity, that's a pretty tough case to make historically. Look at the three Christian creeds, written in the first few centuries after Christ: all of the "basic" doctrines of Christianity are there. St. Paul's epistles were written even earlier, and all of the "basic" doctrines of Christianity (abhorred by both atheists and Protestant Liberals alike) are there.
Again, I'm not trying to debate the merits of Atheism vs. Protestant Liberalism vs. historic Christianity. My point is that Atheism and Protestant Liberalism are functionally the same thing: "deeds not creeds", as the slogan goes. Much of the effort that attempts to debunk historic Christianity comes from Protestant Liberalism.

My point was that there is no such thing as 'historic Christianity' seperate from liberal principles. The harsher, judgemental, less forgiving side of Christianity as we know it today, that I believe you are calling 'historical christianity', had its moddern origins in the reformation, evolving out of Calvinism, Puritanism, and other sects. However, Christianity has always had both sides since the days of Rome. I never said 'Christianity' came out of protestantism.

freak80   Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 11:03pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 6

futuresmc,

Go and read J. Gresham Machen's "Christianity and Liberalism" to understand what I mean by "protestant liberalism." I'm not talking about political liberalism or anything like that. That's a different topic.

I wasn't interested in debating the merits of either view. Rather, I was pointing out that the core beliefs of protestant liberalism (i.e. "deeds not creeds") aren't functionally much different than atheism.

leo707   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 2:20am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 7

wthrfrk80 says

I wasn't interested in debating the merits of either view. Rather, I was pointing out that the core beliefs of protestant liberalism (i.e. "deeds not creeds") aren't functionally much different than atheism.

The closest religion to atheism, I believe, is the unitarian universalists.

While the liberal protestants may be a more progressive and "logical" religion, their beliefs seem to vary and they seem to be functionally very different to atheists.

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2001/06/What-Liberal-Protestants-Believe.aspx

freak80   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 4:17am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 8

Maybe I don't have my facts straight, but aren't the Liberal Protestants fairly close to the Unitarian Universalists?

leo707   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 4:37am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 9

wthrfrk80 says

Maybe I don't have my facts straight, but aren't the Liberal Protestants fairly close to the Unitarian Universalists?

I don't know a whole lot about the liberal protestants, but I think that they are fairly close. However, there are some big differences.

The primary one being that the liberal protestants are still "christian". Unitarian universalists -- while most are christian -- don't promote any one god; infact god/jesus/etc. is not mentioned in their sermons. You could be a believer in Thor, Set, Gaia, or Banjo the Clown -- or none of the above -- and still be welcomed into a universalists congregation.

freak80   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 4:54am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 10

leoj707 says

Unitarian universalists -- while most are christian -- don't promote any one god; infact god/jesus/etc.

I wonder why they would want to be called "Christians" if they don't mention God/Christ in their sermons. Seems bizarre to me. Maybe because the term "Christian" has come to mean "nice guy/gal" and not "someone who believes Jesus is the Son of God and rose from the dead, and is coming again to judge the world, etc."

Seems there are a lot of dishonest people that would say,"yeah, I'm a Christian, but I don't believe all that weird stuff about Jesus, sin, atonement, the Resurrection, etc."

I've got a lot more respect for an atheist who just says "Christianity is bullshit" outright, rather than pretending to believe something they really don't.

leo707   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 5:04am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 11

wthrfrk80 says

I wonder why they would want to be called "Christians" if they don't mention God/Christ in their sermons. Seems bizarre to me.

They don't mention god/christ/bible in their sermons because not everyone in the congregation is a christian and believes those things.

Some unitarians are christians because they do believe...
wthrfrk80 says

"...Jesus is the Son of God and rose from the dead, and is coming again to judge the world, etc."

When any christian reads the bible they pick-and-choose what to take literally and what to take as metaphor/symbolism. Unitarian-christians -- while believing the teachings of christ -- lean heavily in the metaphor/symbolism side of the scale.

wthrfrk80 says

I've got a lot more respect for an atheist who just says "Christianity is bullshit" outright, rather than pretending to believe something they really don't.

Unitarians worship in an environment where nothing is gained by pretending. Other religions require you to pretend if you want to remain as part of the community.

freak80   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 5:18am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 12

leoj707 says

They don't mention god/christ/bible in their sermons because not everyone in the congregation is a christian and believes those things.
Some unitarians are christians because they do believe...

Seems fair enough.

leoj707 says

Unitarians worship in an environment where nothing is gained by pretending. Other religions require you to pretend if you want to remain as part of the community.

Yep. I'm willing to bet there's a lot of pretending that goes on. It's like that story of the "Emperor's New Clothes."

leo707   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 5:30am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 13

wthrfrk80 says

Yep. I'm willing to bet there's a lot of pretending that goes on. It's like that story of the "Emperor's New Clothes."

But, why? What is the motivation to pretend?

People pretend to follow various religions to stay in good standing with the community; their entire support network may be their church. Politics is another reason that I think people will pretend to believe; getting elected in the US is very difficult if you are not christian. People may also pretend in the workplace to avoid being treated unfairly because of their "true" beliefs.

While there may be some unitarians who pretend to believe in a god I am not sure why they would do it. Atheists will go to unitarian churches just to be a part of the community.

freak80   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 5:39am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 14

leoj707 says

getting elected in the US is very difficult if you are not christian

True. You have to at least claim the Christian label. I wonder how many presidents were just claiming the title. George Bush the first and Obama attended liberal protestant churches, for example.

leo707   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 5:49am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 15

wthrfrk80 says

leoj707 says

getting elected in the US is very difficult if you are not christian

True. You have to at least claim the Christian label. I wonder how many presidents were just claiming the title. George Bush the first and Obama attended liberal protestant churches, for example.

Yeah, we will never know. I tend to suspect the guys like Santorum; they seem a little too eager to prove their christian cred.

freak80   Tue, 13 Mar 2012, 6:18am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 16

leoj707 says

I tend to suspect the guys like Santorum; they seem a little too eager to prove their christian cred.

Santorum's one quality: He isn't a Pentecostal wacko like Palin, Bachmann, and Perry. He's less likely to hear marching orders from God in his head.

But he's still an asshole who's pandering to right wing extremists. I'm originally from PA (Pennsylvania, not Palo Alto) and he did this constantly as a senator. And he eventually lost.

I wouldn't worry about Santorum getting the nomination. He's not electable. And even if he get's the nomination, he's too controversial and extreme to win. But I guess that's a whole different topic.

Kevin   Wed, 14 Mar 2012, 12:44pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 17

I really hope Santorum gets the nomination. It'll result in people turning their backs on ultraconservative nutjobs for years.

freak80   Thu, 15 Mar 2012, 12:14am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 18

I don't think Santorum will get the nomination. The party elites and Big Business interests won't let it happen. Romney is their guy, and if they have to sabatoge the more populist Santorum they will.

I think Dubya was the "high water mark" of the Religious Reich. The delusion of that ideology was on display for the whole world to see. It resulted in two botched wars. I don't think the next generation will go along with it.

Roidy   Sat, 17 Mar 2012, 12:21am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 19

Gentle Readers,
Being an atheist myself, the Religious Right would burn me at the stake if they thought they could get away with it.

They are some scary SOBs. 'W''s little antics did nothing to cause a general disavowal of them by the American public-at-large.

Regards,
Roidy

P.S. I hope it is ok that I am not posting from my usual perch in Patrick's Jail.

Dan8267   Sat, 17 Mar 2012, 3:17pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 20

Roidy says

Being an atheist myself, the Religious Right would burn me at the stake if they thought they could get away with it.

So true. Secularism must constantly keep religion in check.

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