Atheists in Praise of Christianity

Very interesting article.

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Nothing new here. We do the same thing with faiths we don’t believe. We recognize the good contributions of their cultures. Doesn’t mean we are any closer to belief in their religion. I find it odd that it’s even something worth writing an article about.

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Guess it depends upon how interested one is in the morality of the culture he’s living in – what it is, where it came from, where it’s heading.

It’s more than just some “contributions” these atheists are speaking about, they’re talking about how Christianity totally revolutionized the pagan culture - for the better! To hear atheists speaking out publicly about it is NEW to me and I would guess to some others also — after quite a few years of being mocked, ridiculed and denounced for our moral codes and Christian beliefs. It’s very uplifting to see God working!

I guess. Atheists as a group are not really unified in their views. So it doesn’t surprise me that they found a few that have this view.
In speaking with many atheists they tend to give credit to the things they agree with or like about christian influence. The basic Gospel principles of love of neighbor and care of the poor are almost always praised as a good thing by atheists. Rarely do they argue against that. This seems to be PR by those who sympathize with atheism like (See, we aren’t all so bad) The long and short of it is that they never really deny things they agree with. What they don’t do is give the credit to God.

We say the same about any religion or non religion. Even atheists themselves. So what?

Most atheists Iv’e met are against rape. Though when pushed they have a hard time stating exactly why it is “wrong”
But perhaps we should praise them as well for their positions. Heavy reliance on proof and scientific values is helpful to our world. Thanks guys!

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I have come across a line of atheistic thought that approves of Christian morality because it’s keeps other people behaving.

A bit cynical, but there it is.

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Hopefully they’ll be smart enough to figure out that Christian morality is dependent on firm base of live believing Christians and they’d best try not to make atheist converts, but work instead to increase Christian converts. :slightly_smiling_face:

Unfortunately, we’ve already seen the decline of Christian morality that’s occurred with the decline of Christian faith in the populace.

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Well yeah. It keeps you lot under control while us atheists can do what we want.

Note: that was not meant to be taken seriously!

Holland sounds like a cultural Christian. From wiki:

Although his father is an atheist, Holland was raised in the Christian church by his “devout Anglican” mother, and he said in 2013 that because of her example “I’ve always associated Anglicanism with goodness and decency and generosity of spirit and compassion, so I never had that visceral association of Christianity or institutional religion with repression or dogma or illiberalism”.[76] Nonetheless, as an adult he disavowed belief in the existence of God, saying “I have seen no evidence that would satisfy me that anything supernatural exists. I have seen no proof for god”.[76]

Same upbringing as me (except my father was a devout Anglican as was my mother). Very similar views on Christianity. But I would argue against his views that the western world is simply a result of Christianity. There are some arguments to be made for it but as a blank statement it needs to ignore a huge number of other reasons.

A good counter to Holland’s view is Jared Diamond’s ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’. Won a pulitzer no less. Excellent read. https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

To be fair, it doesn’t seem to be a majority Atheist opinion. I’ve come across it every other once in a while in the way you stumble across weird stuff on the internet.
But yeah, that was the general idea.

Atheism has become a religion - they have a Church - collect donations - and who knows what they talk about - its funny they have become the very thing they are against. I find it amusing.

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Very new to me too. The word unprecedented comes to mind.

I’m not surprised at all. I never understood being accused of hating religion or never seeing any good come from it. I’ve always known and talked about the good that religions bring to society. The emphasis on charity and caring for your fellow man, the benefits of belonging, the organizational skills that churches bring to the table. Most of my fellow non believers feel the same. We can certainly recognize that the collapse of Rome was greatly mitigated by the church having an organizational structure in place to prevent total chaos.

True, you usually hear more about the harm that atheists proclaim against religions but that doesn’t mean we never see the benefits. Atheists just tend to be more concerned with religions intrusions upon our society that don’t benefit everyone. So, you’ll hear more about that as a concern…it doesn’t mean we don’t see the good, too!

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Really? One needs only go back to November of 2019 To read Richard Dawkins assessment that if people didn’t believe in a God they would do “really bad things”

It seems to be a peculiarly American phenomenon that Christians believe atheists ate hostile to Christianity or to religion. I know (literally) hundreds of atheists and almost none of them think about Christianity, ever, let alone enough to develop hostility to it. The exception might be hostility to promoters of the ‘prosperity gospel’. Even in condemning such things as child abuse most atheists I know see it as a result of clericalism, or as a widespread institutional phenomena rather than a product of religion or Christianity per se.

There are of course many atheists who are hostile to religion and to Christianity. But I think they are likely to be a small minority. I hope Pew does a survey on it sometime.

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Hopefully most atheists are like you - who know and talk “about the good that religions bring to society”. However, the ones who get public attention via books, media, etc., are predominantly the anti-religion atheists. I can sympathize. Faithful practicing Catholics experience the same type of thing - priests especially (almost to the point that you’d think they were the primary child abusers in our nation!!) The huge percentage who are good, faithful Catholics are seldom consulted or their good activities publicized. Other Christian denominations experience some of the same. Like you, we’re sort of hidden from the public.

It’s not as odd as it may seem. Pier Paolo Pasolini was an atheist and a Marxist who made what I consider the best film about Jesus ever made.

Jurgen Habermas says Christianity is the reason we have human rights.

November 2019 is very recent - and the Christian link provided in my OP noted"

Even Richard Dawkins has now admitted that Christianity might be preferable to the alternatives. He once called for Christianity to be destroyed. Now he begrudgingly says it has good effects on society.

This is from a smaller Christian source. Do you know if any of the major newspapers &TV stations, etc. have reported and interviewed him about this change in his position and given it publicity?

The link provided in the quote box above is to another Christian site that reports on Dawkins recent change of heart. They had a link to a secular source, “The Times UK”, but it’s one of those links where you have to subscribe - free for a month, admittedly, but I don’t like doing that so I was only able to read a small portion of the article.

Some non-believers can see the good in Christianity, others can see the beauty in it, and we can pray they see the truth in it. Faith is more than the sum of its parts though.

I also see the value in atheism — it’s the carbide sharpener for believers: skeptics and freethinkers can help us to prevent excess, fanaticism or superstition; to hone our philosophical skills and scientific knowledge, which helps us further to appreciate our religion. Mortimer Adler (and G.K. Chesterton) noted that, too.

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Reminds me of something I read a long time ago - can’t remember the author, and I’m paraphrasing from a lousy memory! Had to do with why God allowed heresies to arise in His Church. His opinion was that God allowed it when it was needed to force His Church to finally formulate/define a particular teaching and promulgate it as Church doctrine. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I don’t know that most are like me but I suspect most are. Yes, there are certainly many that have an axe to grind out there and many that have truly been hurt by religion in various ways. However, I think most of us quieter ones never hated our faith, we just stopped believing in it. So, we left…no drama, no announcing to the world, we just tiptoes away. We remember many of the good things…from holidays to moving sermons to feelings of inspiration and community activities and the closeness of our group.

The one feeling that seems to be common is that many that came out of faith felt they had been lied to…by parents and leaders. That takes a bit to get over. I realize my parent s weren’t lying to me, they were giving me the faith they had and doing their best. I’m the one that turned away and there weren’t lies involved…just differing beliefs.

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