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.
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.
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.
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.
I have no idea why, but reading your post brought a book from long ago into my mind. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a true story; Anna was a little girl. I loaned it out, and it’s one of those books that just never made it back to me! Tried to locate another one for a long time but gave up & eventually forgot about it. But when it came to mind just now, I decided to google. I couldn’t believe the hits & that it was out there for sale! (ordered a copy immediately, before responding here.) It’s a small book titled “Mr. God, this is Anna”. (Anna is not Christian, so don’t think I’m trying to convert you to Christianity. She does believe in “Mr. God” tho’). It’s not a story that’s out there to convert anyone - just a true story about this amazing little girl.
The reviews on the Amazon link describe it better than I can.
I bookmarked it and will think about it. Please understand, I have no problem with people wanting to persuade me. I spend years with many doing just that including trying to persuade myself! My journey away from religion began with losing God…not contradictions nor issues with dogmas nor bad experiences…just Gods complete silence. In trying to refind Him, I went on a tortuous journey of pain and despair, trying to reconnect, trying to “hear” Him again. I explored other faiths, I prayed, fasted and cried. I finally accepted. I remember what it was like to have God and I’m here whenever He’s ready.
Reading about someone else’s experience with the divine is interesting but futile. Until their experience becomes my experience, I’m fine where I’m at. Thanks for an interesting title, however. It’s bookmarked and I may revisit it!
It’s not as tho’ her experience with the divine is the focus of the book - it’s essentially about her, Anna, and her relationship with the author, who found her on the streets of London when she was 4. Mr. God is part of who she was. If you read enough of the reviews, you probably came across the fact that she died accidentally at the age of 7. It’s been 30 years since I read the book, and her character has stuck with me.
I always check out the 1 and 2 star ratings when ordering something online. Noted some couldn’t believe such a girl could really exist at that young age, so they were convinced the author created a fictional character and passed it off as non-fiction. To that I’d answer: fiction or not, it’s a good read.
Ok…ordered! Sounds like a sweet story and I’m in the mood for one! Thanks.
I’m in agreement. I know plenty of atheists and I’ve never once had an argument or fight over religion. We just accept that we have different beliefs and continue as we were.
I know atheists who are very preachy, always trying to promote atheism, always trying to point out the ‘flaws’ in Christianity. I tell them that a world ruled by atheists would lead to chaos and anarchy. And that it is no coincidence that Christianity is the pillar of western civilization and not atheism.
¯_(ツ)_/¯ Maybe I’ll see more of that when I get back to the states. But the only really religion hating atheists I’ve heard about are just internet post.
I haven’t personally met any atheists, so the only ones I’ve “heard” are those who have gotten publicity through books, media, etc. Since starting this thread tho’, I’ve heard you atheists who have posted here. Hello! Nice to meet some who do not denigrate us believers.
Personally speaking I’m something of a Jeckyll and Hyde when it comes to religion. I’m normally Dr. Jeckyll, reasonably easy going and generally just frustrated by fundamentalist beliefs (which drive me to distraction). And I don’t know what tips me over but sometimes Mr. Hyde makes an appearance and I’m more anti theist than atheist and I have to be very careful what I post not to offend.
Hello to you, too. It’s nice to meet believers that don’t denigrate atheists, too.
The best discussions are usually those where both parties realize they aren’t likely to change minds and just actually listen to each other without telling the other what they believe…instead, asking what they believe. Just as it drives you up a wall when someone says Catholics worship statues…which you don’t, I, too get driven up a wall when someone tells me, You just hate God…which I don’t! I’m mostly here to learn and understand what you believe…and boy, have I learned a lot!
Like you Freddy, I think we all have some areas that tend to trigger the Mr. Hyde in us. Conquering that son of a gun is a labor that will probably last my whole life. If I conquer it before that, I’ll change my user name to St. JGD.
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