Atheists Can Be Good Too

I recently posted my response to my pastor’s sermons this past Sunday and in response to it, someone had problem with a small portion of it where I spoke of the angry, militant atheists saying that atheists can show human understanding and empathy and kindness.

I agree. I do.

Atheists are as able to love and show kindness as anyone else.

That said, I was trying to say that atheists who claim as Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens do that only atheists are the ones that think, question, and live in reality are wrong and intolerant. They say that just because believers believe that they don’t think or question. That’s wrong. I know I think and question—there is a reason why this site is called God wrestler. Many of the Christians I know also think and question.

Richard Dawkins told believers to shut up.

Christopher Hitchens: “Many teachings of Christianity are, as well as being incredible and mythical, immoral.”

Sam Harris: It is difficult to imagine a set of beliefs more suggestive of mental illness than those that lie at the heart of many of our religious traditions”

So, let me say and I may be called hateful and intolerant for this, I know that and I guess that’s ok. It has to be said. Is the person who claims religious people should shut up, are immoral and insane then want those same people to be tolerant of their beliefs all that loving, kind, and understanding? Why are these atheists and others like them taking so much energy to shout down something they claim doesn’t exist?

I will concede atheists can be kind, loving, understanding and wonderful people. They can. Yet, in their books Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris are not. I will not back down from this. There words and writings prove my point. Do they represent all atheists? No. I am sure there are atheists and I have known a few myself that are kind, loving, understanding and wonderful people.

I have another point to make.

Not all people who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior are kind, loving, understanding and wonderful people. Many believers suck. Sorry. It’s the sad, sad truth that many of us who call ourselves Christian don’t live up to the ideal of God, yet that is why we need a savior. We will never be complete or perfect and it is through Jesus Christ who gives us strength that we can do the good we do, love the way we love, and be the people we are.

I challenge fellow Christians to work towards being more loving, compassionate and understating people.

I would also ask that atheists not jump to the wrong conclusions they do and assume that just because we believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior and that there is a loving, personal God that we don’t think or question.

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3 Comments

  1. I get where you are coming from. This is the only post of yours I have read, so I don’t really know your beliefs or how much you actually “think.” I offer a perspective for the other side of the issue, however. The side of the atheists, including the authors mentioned in your post. I am not an atheist nor am I a Christian, but I was one (a Christian) for almost 40 years. I propose, that the quotes you quoted by the authors above are not mean, but they are true. I understand how they might be offensive to you, but consider it from their perspective. Jesus states that unless you drink his blood and eat of his flesh, you will not have eternal life. Now a Christian knows this is not meant to be taken literally, BUT, a thinking person would acknowledge that even figuratively, this is to the left of moral. Consider as well, the story of the flood. Imagine for the outsider that is told this story, what it might be like to hear that this God of love sentences all of humanity, sans Noah and his family, to death stating that only Noah could be found righteous. Imagine the thoughts of the terrified children and babies as they are wiped out by waves of water. Drowning is known to be a particularly horrible death emotionally. Also consider the fact that when the Israelites were taking over the “Promised Land” God states that he raised up certain nations for the sole purpose so that the Israelites could practice battle. For an atheist, what kind of “thinking” person finds these things moral or acts of a loving God? What kind of thinking man believes Christianity to be “the way” when their holy scriptures claim that the way is narrow and few walk on it, and Christianity is the largest religion in the world? What kind of thinking man takes Jesus seriously, when none of his prophecies have come true? Over and over he stated he would return within that “lifetime” or “generation” of those he was talking to. He told his disciples that whatever they had given up to be with him, they would be rewarded 100 fold “within this lifetime.” Add to that, the condemnation that comes from Christian beliefs that if you don’t agree with them, you are going to hell. Period. It doesn’t matter how nasty a Christian is or how good the atheist is, the only condition for exemption from hell is to be a Christian. Hmmmmmm, those are tough words to swallow. I think I might understand the attitude of the atheist. I personally have studied the bible to point that I studied my way right out of Christianity. Part of that journey was talking to many (seriously…many) educated men and women (many with doctorates) of God and I can say that categorically, not a one of them thought for themselves. To the point it was freaky. They just spouted dogma. It was truly an infuriating experience, because my goal was not to leave my faith; it was just to make sense of it. They tried to force me into believing God was a mystery, when God says, if I seek him I will find him. I discovered that the non-thinking Christian rips scriptures out of context to prove their doctrine. I discovered translations of the bible that would completely change the wording on something, therefore changing the meaning to a Christian meaning, and just expect that no one will challenge them. And no one does, because they don’t think to. I can go on and on. In fact, I have. I have written a 500 page book going on and on about it. But suffice it to say, after my studies and my pursuits to find knowledgeable leadership in the Christian religion, I sorely began to empathize with the atheist that must suffer any dialogue with them, because they really don’t represent themselves well at all. They also do not come in good faith or play fair. It is quite abominable. Watch the debate with whats-his-name from Growing Pains. I was embarrassed for him and disgusted at the same time, because he clearly did not come in good faith or play by the rules HE laid out. Just some thoughts to ponder as to why an atheist might not be so respectful of the Christian.

    • I would like to read your book. I do think and wrestle and question. Maybe there can be no common ground. But I do find it odd that atheists claim that Christians should be tolerant and accepting of atheist dogma, but don’t give the christian the same. Maybe, the Christian and the Atheist should simply agree to disagree. Becky Garrison’s book ‘The New Atheist Crusaders’, Also Aliester Macgrath has written about this subject. My thinking, questioing, or wrestling doesn’t need to supported or affirmed by anyone and my beliefs don’t need someone else to accept or affirm them to be true and life-affirming. When someone, such as Dawkins tells another to shut up that ends the conversation and any future conversations. I would never tell another to shut up. Thank you for reading my blog and offering your response.

  2. Because I am now on the other side of the issue of believer and non-believer, I can understand where the lack of toleration comes from. I experience it myself. Most ppl become intolerant of ppl that are intolerant. When I am told by someone I know far more than because I have taken the time to educate myself and not just believe what is being handed down to me from the pulpit or from my parents, teachers or mentors that I am going to hell because I don’t adhere to their babble and there is simply no movement on their part, it becomes intolerable .

    I was just talking to my cousin this week about homosexuality. He has no toleration for it. He was saying some of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Things a “thinking” person would not say. But his thoughts are dictated by his faith, and not by intelligence. My other cousin, who was equally frustrated with him, finally said, “Is anyone going to say it?” and I said, “What would you like said?” She said, “Gary, shut the F$%^ up!!!!!”

    While you might not tell anyone to shut up, please understand that unfortunately the ones that typically choose to engage in these conversations usually need to do just that.

    The tenants of Christianity do not allow for toleration. This is why they are hated so much. They bash the gay, they bash the atheist, they bash abortion rights. I could sit down and show someone scripture that shows the true value of an unborn child that would allow abortion to a certain extent, but the Christian is not open to hearing it. I dunno, it is just what God has to say about it, but they can’t handle it what God says about it. They are, in fact, not interested in hearing what God says about it. They would rather hear what David says about it. They become very threatened when someone challenges their beliefs. They become intolerant.

    I am happy for you that you wrestle and question. That is awesome. My hope for you would be that you don’t accept no answer as an answer. There is an answer, you just have to be willing to accept that it might be different than what you have been told your entire life about God and Jesus. I had that moment when I said, “WTH is going on here, God? This is NOT where I asked to go.” But I decided that no matter what it was, I was willing to give up my faith in exchange for the truth. And that is exactly what I ended up having to do. It didn’t leave me with no faith, just different faith, that made sense, and actually coincided with how life actually works.

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