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On Atheists September 19, 2007

Posted by Joe in agnosticism, atheism, belief, Christianity, freethought, religion, theism.
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An open letter from one Christian to other Christians on atheists.

We Christians want the atheists to come over to our side of the fence — to join us, to become one of us. They would much prefer it if we would quit wanting that, and leave them be. They would naturally prefer it if we could actually respect them for, say, their intellectual (not to mention moral) integrity — but they aren’t exactly holding their breath waiting for that to happen. Because they know that Christians believe atheists to be at best lost, and at worst damned.

And let’s face it: If you know the best someone can think about you is that you’re lost, you’re hardly inclined to, say, invite that person to your birthday party. Ever.

Hence the fence.

I hate that fence! What is it doing there?

Great stuff. Thanks for writing this, John.

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Comments»

1. Teen Atheist - September 19, 2007

Nice! That really is how I feel about Christians — that they think I’m lost or misguided at best. It’s good to know that there’s a Christian out there who knows better.

2. coffeeshoptheologian - September 20, 2007

Good post. I wholeheartedly agree. (I think.)

I appreciate any honest atheist’s intellectual and/or moral integrity. They are generally up front, reasonable, and can carry on a decent conversation about something other than sports trivia. They understand the issues in ways many in-betweeners don’t. (I don’t mean agnostics, BTW. I don’t think they’re in-betweeners. They actually hold a viable position, I think, even moreso than atheists. But, that’s for another day.) But there are exceptions to that, just like with Christians. I.e., not all atheists/humanists are nice or reasonable about their faith, just like Christians.

While I have no problem ‘leaving atheists alone’ and not proselytizing them ad infinitum, I do still feel compelled to “spread” a passion for the supremacy of God in all things. I don’t intend to legislate that, of course. I don’t intend to be obnoxious with it, either. But I do intend to demonstrate, with my words and deeds, that God is real. I want to incarnate/embody that truth.

Sometimes saying “[T]hey know that Christians believe atheists to be at best lost, and at worst damned” is tantamount to saying that atheists think Christians can’t be friends with them. Or that Christians often feel like “the fence” should be there. That’s silly. There’s no reason that different value/belief systems preclude friendship, amicable relations, enjoying the common ground of, I dunno, being human!

3. Joe - September 20, 2007

Thanks coffeeshoptheologian, it is always good to get friendly responses from theists! 🙂

“But there are exceptions to that, just like with Christians. I.e., not all atheists/humanists are nice or reasonable about their faith, just like Christians.”
I agree with the sentiment, there are people on both sides that are very unreasonable about the issue. I would take issue with your use of the word “faith” though to refer to the beliefs of atheists/humanists. I plan to write about faith soon though, so perhaps we can save that for that discussion.

“There’s no reason that different value/belief systems preclude friendship, amicable relations, enjoying the common ground of, I dunno, being human!”
There is absolutely no reason people with different beliefs can’t be friends. We often have more in common then different, we just tend to focus on the differences.

4. Blog Guy - September 20, 2007

I agree the “fence that we build up around ourselves should not be there. To interact with atheist is to understand that they are human just like we are and I fully believe that God doesn’t show favoritism between us and them. We are all equal. We (Christians) have the wrong few on them. We see eighter lost or saved and as true as that may be it confuses us. We begin to believe that they are ignorant and inferior to us. Not so at all. Most are intelligent and welcome conversation from us. Some say it is for stimulation of the mind others have admitted to wanting someone to prove that God exist.
We won;t find a too;l of science that proves God to be there but we can display the love of God which is the only way we can express Him. Interact and love everyone. Even atheist.
Great post mate. I should add you to my own blog. Thanks for the visit.

5. coffeeshoptheologian - September 21, 2007

Yeah, Joe, you should post on “faith.” As far as I’m concerned, any honest scientist, humanist, atheist, etc. definitely has ‘faith’ in their senses, science, theories about life, etc.

6. j - October 16, 2007

why does egyptian history have the same stories as the bible but different names to the faces?

why are there more murders in the name of god than any other?
(maybe they believe they’ll be forgiven)

i have a question you all need to answer:

if a train was headed toward a depot, and the only way to stop it from derailing and kill 10 people was to push a person in front of it only killing that one person. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

now, the same scenario; but with names to the faces.

the one person to push was a priest, and the 10 people on the side were atheists. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

every religous person would not push the priest, because they let their beliefs dictate basic human morals.

7. Jordan - November 2, 2007

I’d jump.


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