I am a better Christian now that I’m an atheist

May 10, 2007 at 7:48 am 28 comments

A Christian recently made the following comment on a previous blog:

FingerYour way just allows you to do what you want so you can get away with sin with no consequences. The Bible says there is punishment for sin, and just because you don’t want to believe it doesn’t make it not true. I would rather error and say there is a God. Please consider what the Bible has to say today before it is too late!

This is a pretty typical Christian response to atheism. They simply believe that we’re atheist because we need a license to “sin.” Huh?

First of all, what is sin? Sin, according to Christianity, is disobeying God’s Word (the Bible).

Well, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, there are numerous commands in the Bible that Christians do not follow. Women speak in church. A man can marry a divorced woman and not be in a perpetual state of adultery. Women can wear jewelry and costly clothing. I could go on for hours on commands from the Bible which are not followed by the majority of Christiandom. In other words, a Christian who subscribes to the above definition of sin is really nothing more than a perpetual sinner.

In addition to these clear violations of scripture, other “sins” have evolved over time. There was a time when drinking, smoking, and dancing were considered sins and still are in some circles – but these are now becoming more and more acceptable in Christianity today.

Christian FishThe ironic thing is I’m probably a better “Christian” today, as an atheist, than I was as a Christian. For example, I no longer sit in judgment of others (in line with what Jesus is quoted as teaching). I now try to be kind and compassionate to everyone in spite of their beliefs, sexual orientation, or a variety of other reasons Christians have to discriminate against others. In other words, I really do attempt to “love my neighbor.”

Yes, I no longer care whether a couple engages in pre-marital sex. I don’t see how it could be wrong for two consenting mature individuals. After all, sex is a part of humanity. I no longer care if two people of the same sex love each other and want to get married. Hell, I’ve seen many heterosexual marriages void of love and respect. Yeah and who gives a damn if I curse (especially when I’m alone in my car and not offending anyone). However, is this why I’m an atheist? This question is so ridiculous to me that it doesn’t even deserve an answer.

I’m an atheist because I am a somewhat intelligent, rational being and I came to a point in my life where I could no longer simply believe myths to be true because a very flawed book said they were – and in the process, became a better Christian. How? Well, I do not subscribe to the Christian definition of sin hence believing the above stated issues does not make me a sinner. I do also attempt to live my life by the basic constructs supposedly subscribed to by Christianity. If you think about it- sin should really be defined as NOT violating the rights of another individual (to their life and possessions) but that’s another blog.

– Agnostic Atheist

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28 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rusdy  |  May 10, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Quoted:

    …I’m an atheist because I am a somewhat intelligent, rational being and I came to a point in my life where I could no longer simply believe myths to be true …

    Well said, again and again, it doesn’t take that long for those judgemental ‘Christians’ from reading your blog that you are: not lost, do not need the ‘doctor’, etc etc just as Jesus said (comes to ‘seek the lost’, ‘heal the sick’, etc). Why can’t they leave you alone and get on with life?? 😉

    Reply
    • 2. Debbie  |  March 13, 2011 at 2:25 am

      An atheist can not be a Christian. The Bible teaches us this. Anyone who calls themselves an atheist must have infinite knowledge that there is no God and are themselves God. ? Tell me, how did you create yourself? Only the fool has said in his heart that there is no God. They are corrupt.(Ps 14:1) This is the folly of the Godless. The Bible teaches us that you are on your way to Hell for eternity. You need Salvation.Salvation comes through Jesus alone and none other. Pray to the Lord asking for forgiveness and for Him to come into your heart and to help you.Believe upon the Lord Jesus and repent of your sins and you will be saved.Turn from your sins and turn to the Lord and follow Him. Study the Bible as you pray to the Lord and ask Him to show you His Truth. Wake up before its too late.

      Reply
  • 3. agnosticatheist  |  May 10, 2007 at 1:21 am

    Rusdy,

    Good point. Nice blog.

    It’s interesting that Christians do focus so much of their energy on NOT sinning that they become the very thing they fear. Reminds me of a statement I heard Gloria Copeland make (back in the day) – What you give attention to is what you desire.

    aA

    Reply
  • 4. honjii  |  May 10, 2007 at 2:41 am

    It’s interesting you should say that. I’ve often said that I, as an atheist, behave in a more Christian-like manner that most of the Christians I know.

    Never having been an actual Christian (or member of any religioin for that matter) I’ve often wondered about those who claim to be a religion, yet they pick and chose which of the tenets to follow. Since religion is a belief system, in my humble opinion, if you subscribe to that belief system then live it completely, not just the convenient parts.

    Reply
  • 5. HeIsSailing  |  May 10, 2007 at 6:50 am

    “I would rather error and say there is a God. ”

    This is a variation of Pascal’s old wager – just believe there is a God because you may just meet him after death. The whole problem here is that it presupposses God = Yahveh/Jesus of the Bible.

    But what if Islam is correct, and you meet Allah upon death? Did you ever believe in Allah? Have you ever once considered the claims made in Quran? No, just the naive view that Yahveh/Jesus was God? Sorry buster, you flunked that Theology exam, off to Hell with you!

    What if The Christians made hash of the Athiests arguments in last night’s debate – and really DID prove to the world that God exists. OK, what do we do with that information? The design of nature may very well convince people that God, in the sense of a creative force, exists in some form, but how can the design of nature alone convince you that Jesus, one member of a Triune Godhead, was born of a Virgin, and became the spotless sacrifice for the sins of humanity, and he rose again on the third day so that belief in him would bring Justification and Salvation in the eyes of God? That is too much of a leap of logic to make.

    Reply
  • 6. Brendan  |  May 10, 2007 at 8:14 am

    “Christian” and “atheist” aren’t mutually exclusive. My whole blog is about non-theistic Christianity. Having been slogan spouter for quite some time, I’ve learned a vastly more meaningful appreciation for Christian mythology as an agnostic than I ever glimpsed as a believer in dogma.

    Can Christianity survive the death of theism? You bet.

    http://agnosticgnostic.blogspot.com/2006/09/can-christianity-survive-death-of.html

    Reply
  • 7. Pedro Timóteo  |  May 10, 2007 at 8:25 am

    aA: very good point. However, one could build a case for the following: the Bible really tells you to be what amounts as a bigot. Therefore, a “good Christian” is, indeed, a bigot. By not being one, you’re not a better Christian (since you’re ignoring Christianity), but are, instead, simply a better human being.

    Reply
  • 8. Justin  |  May 10, 2007 at 8:27 am

    “I’m an atheist because I am a somewhat intelligent, rational being”

    funny, this is the exact reason why I am a Christian! 🙂 go figure.

    Reply
    • 9. Paul  |  March 15, 2012 at 3:52 am

      Many christians are intelligent but it is not a rational position.

      Reply
  • 10. Brendan  |  May 10, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Christianity doesn’t have to be limited by the Bible or some set of “approved” “scriptures.” That’s just an arbitrary rule made up by politicians 1700 years ago to control peoples’ thought and identity.

    Reply
  • 11. agnosticatheist  |  May 10, 2007 at 8:38 am

    *Pedro,

    Great point. When I was a Christian, I really wasn’t a very good one (by the Bible’s definition). I was one, however, based on my heart – which, as you pointed out, isn’t really Christianity but humanity. Interestingly enough, it was the myths I subscribed to that made me a Christian NOT my actions.

    *Brendan,

    I have to check out your blog. Sounds interesting.

    *Justin,

    🙂

    aA

    Reply
  • 12. Stephanie  |  May 10, 2007 at 10:55 am

    You made some great points.

    I am curious about the comment you made about Jesus commanding to sit in judgement of others . . .

    I think your blog is interesting, I’ll add it to my blogroll!

    Reply
  • 13. Mike  |  May 10, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Saying that atheists hold to their atheism simply because they want to “sin” is the classic ad hominem attack. In fact, it is pure demonization. If someone can associate something they’re afraid of with the devil or evil then they don’t have to seriously consider your ideas.

    Reply
  • 14. morselsfromgod  |  May 10, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    BIG’OT, n.

    1. A person who is obstinately and unreasonably wedded to a particular religious creed, opinion, practice or ritual. The word is sometimes used in an enlarged sense, for a person who is illiberally attached to any opinion, or system of belief; as a bigot to the Mohammedan religion; a bigot to a form of government.

    2. A venetian liquid measure containing the fourth part of the amphor, or half the boot.

    (Source: Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)

    Reply
  • 15. Zachary  |  May 10, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Very interesting points you have there… I think its true, as a Christian, after you have found out the definition of the right thing to do, its easy to point out the wrong others are doing. After all, the sin of self-righteousness- promoting yourself at the expense of others is so appealing. Hence your point about being a better christian now that you are an atheist would be fully understandable. I guess it the fault of us as Christians being a bad example. No excuses.

    However, if you are open to discussion, I would just like to point out there your point about Christians not following all the commandments in the Bible may be a bit flawed. The bible does have many ways of interpretation, may be it literally for the laws “Thou shalt not kill.” and the the figuratively “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

    Hence its important for us to take the unlying principle, not the form or the method per say. So taking your example: if woman were not allowed to speak in church during those time as they represented gossip & disorder, with the progression of the status of women now, isnt it logical they are allowed to speak? The underlying principle is not male chauvinism, but order in the service.

    Just like to end of with something from C.S. Lewis – a former atheist.

    “There is no need to be worried about facetious people who try to make Christian hope of ‘Heaven’ ridiculous by saying they do not want ‘to spend eternity playing harps’. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grownups they should not talk about them.All the scriptural imagery (harps, crown, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. …People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.”

    Reply
  • 16. Mothandrust  |  May 11, 2007 at 5:21 am

    It’s so bizarre to be someone’s enemy. I felt such hostility from my lifelong friends when I decided to simply change churches. I’ve recently come out of the closet and stated myself as an atheist. I had a friend who discovered my blog and simply won’t talk to me anymore (granted, my blog makes no apologies for laughing at religion).

    They hate us for not being like them, and there’s no wonder they love the idea of a hell where we’ll be tortured forever for rejecting their ‘love’.

    Reply
  • 17. HeIsSailing  |  May 11, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Mothandrust sez:
    “They hate us for not being like them”

    Not sure if that is the case. I also have church friends who will not talk to me – but also some who continue to be friends. I have not really ‘come out of the closet’ at my church, but it is a smalll church so word gets around.

    I don’t think it is hate as much as feeling insulted and maybe insecure. They are convinced that they hold ultimate truth regarding, not only them, but every human on the planet. I held onto that belief system for years and ultimately rejected it. As a Christian, I would just marvel at apostates. “How can they possibly leave the truth?? Why in the world would they do such a thing and face damnation??”, I would think. Now that I am an apostate, I am certain they are wondering and saying the same things to themselves regarding me.

    I have lived their version of truth inside and out for years. I know it well. And I rejected it. And I think my Christian friends find that insulting. I have rejected their entire world-view.

    Maybe it also makes them a bit insecure. If I left after study, prayer and contemplation, who is to say they won’t either?

    Reply
  • 18. Roz  |  May 11, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    It seems many people in the church don’t invest much time learning and understanding the language of the Bible they hold dear.

    The original Greek meaning of the word sin simply means to “miss the mark.” It’s an archery term. In knowing this, we find the word or concept of SIN isn’t as ominous as it sounds.

    Reply
  • 19. Karen  |  May 11, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Zachary:
    Hence its important for us to take the unlying principle, not the form or the method per say. So taking your example: if woman were not allowed to speak in church during those time as they represented gossip & disorder, with the progression of the status of women now, isnt it logical they are allowed to speak? The underlying principle is not male chauvinism, but order in the service.

    Not sure I’m following you here. Are you saying this?:

    In biblical times women were gossipers and introduced disorder, so that justified them not being allowed to speak in church. Now that women have more rights, somehow that’s elevated them to the point where they can be trusted to speak in church without screwing things up.

    Forgive me if I’m mischaracterizing, but that’s really, really offensive and off-base. Please – correct me if I’m wrong.

    Reply
  • 20. Karen  |  May 11, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    HIS:
    Maybe it also makes them a bit insecure. If I left after study, prayer and contemplation, who is to say they won’t either?

    Sure. It’s scary and it’s threatening, as we’ve talked about here before. Hence the hostility from some people. Others, who I think are either more tolerant or more secure in their own thinking, can handle a friend’s change of beliefs much easier.

    I didn’t know you were still attending church, HIS. How does the weekly service affect you now? Do you still enjoy going, or are you there for family harmony or some other reason?

    Reply
  • 21. HeIsSailing  |  May 11, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Karen inquires:
    “I didn’t know you were still attending church, HIS. How does the weekly service affect you now? Do you still enjoy going, or are you there for family harmony or some other reason?”

    Funny, I just wrote a short article on it on my site. Just click on my name. But the short answer is that I no longer attend my old Baptist church, but do go to Catholic mass with my wife. While the ceremonies, icons and symbols hold very little meaning to me, I use it as a time to contemplate. The church also does some terrific stuff across the Mexican border, and also with severely handicapped children – both ministries that I like to get involved with. Some people who know me get uncomfortable when a non-believer like myself wants to help build a house in Juarez, but most don’t mind or even know that I am not a Christian.

    I guess right now, I am trying to find a place where I can contribute and find meaning, without having to believe in or recite some creed. But I can never go back to a Fundamentalist Protestant church again – no way.

    Reply
  • 22. Karen  |  May 11, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks, HIS, I read your recent essay and enjoyed it very much. I could easily have written just about those very words five or six years ago, so I empathize with you greatly. Let me just say that it sounds like your experiences are much more recent and raw than mine. If that’s the case, I think I can encourage you that life as an apostate gets much easier over time. 😉

    I see you’ve discovered Robert Ingersoll, as did I shortly after leaving Christianity. (It never ceases to amaze me how much I did not know about history and life and people like him when I was utterly absorbed in religion!)

    I highly recommend his eulogy for Walt Whitman, which is on the site you linked to. His eloquence is just lovely. I also recommend “Freethinkers” by Susan Jacoby, which came out a few years ago and is a history of the secular movement of the late 19th Century and covers freethinkers’ contributions to the suffrage and abolitionist movements. It’s fascinating and it was a real eye-opener to me because I had heard that “nothing good” ever came from apostates and unbelievers.

    Good luck to you – and if you can find a way to do good through the Catholic church, more power to you! 🙂

    Reply
  • 23. agnosticatheist  |  May 12, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Stephanie,

    Thanks for the link.

    I meant his teaching was in line with not judging. I changed the wording to better reflect that.

    aA

    Reply
  • 24. Richard T Scott  |  May 12, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    I appreciate your humanist approach. It is not necessarily so that religion is the sole conveyor of ethics and it is frustrating when people exhibit irrational, obviously biased judgments.
    I agree, it seems to be more effective to be “good” based on sociological reasoning than on some unfounded commandment in a fallible book. For example, consider the axiom: What is beneficial for the whole of society is beneficial for me.

    “I’m an atheist because I am a somewhat intelligent, rational being…”

    However, it is also not necessarily true that those who believe in God are devoid of intelligence or rationality. One can logically come to a conclusion that God does exist, just as intelligently and rationally as one can conclude that he does not. ……

    [Click here for the rest of Richard’s comments]

    Reply
  • 25. Agnostic Atheism  |  May 13, 2007 at 7:54 am

    […] 13th, 2007 It seems as if a line in my post “I am a better Christian now that I’m an atheist,” was a bit misunderstood. I said: “I’m an atheist because I am a somewhat intelligent, […]

    Reply
  • 26. dennis  |  October 11, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Remember religion doesnt make you cloeser to god in which you go to heaven,you have to first be born again so jesus can live in you as you walk the streets and sleep,so that you can be changed in the image of jesus,and once that happens you will know the right religion and not a religion that you think is right but what god thinks is right.

    You’ve to remember that belief in christ means you beleive in him,so many people dont believe in christ so they take the route to look into what christians are like,and when a christians slips up someone makes the approach to jump on judging christianity by what a christian does and not by what god tells them to do,you cant judge christianity by the follower you have to judge it by the lord our god,our king,the teacher.Jeses is god in the flesh from what many scriptures have said or shown in many ways.
    If everyone has sinned in life [even though we can be born,] we must ask ourselves who si our king the humans on earth or jesus christ.you have to follow god and know him before you can follow what many christians say.

    I see that some of you know of god and his works but are judging jesus by what christians do and not what jesus wants christians to do.Some of you may know what is right but block it out because you dont want to follow it,its something I did for a while.I am still working towards knowing the lord understand I am coming back to the lord,when I was a child aorund 10 or 11 years old I ahd that love of god over me,I was happy,I was not afraid to go out there and speak,and I claimed god in front of people.This is what I want again,but I dont want you to judge me by what I do in life as I become with the lord again but by what the lord wants to do in me and what he can do in me.

    God also says to not judge,so I dont know to much about athiest so I wouldnt join them anyways because I ahd the love of god way back when I was christian[not any other faith] even though having a religion doesnt make you saved being born again and then making a commitment to god and letting god live in you is what gets you to heaven,just because Im a christian that doesnt take me into heaven,its what I do as a christian is wha makes me go to heaven.

    Reply
  • 27. dennis  |  October 11, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    And I wont judge an athiest by what he belives because everyone has sinned and there was a women in the bible that had commited adultry and they wanted to stone her,but jesus said if you havent sinned then yoiu can throw a stone at her.

    when your born again,you sins are washed away,that doenst mean you forget that you were a sinner,it means that that you live in the image of jesus and you commit to him so that you dont dwell on sin but try your hardest to not sin again.Your heart has to be right with god for him to work in you.Now Im not gonna sit here and act like I know everything baout the lord and he is working in my life but thats not because jesus because I remmeber when I put all ym trust and faith in him he worked in ym life as a young child when I could understand who he was,so then that must mean Im doing something or holding on to something that is wrong so that jesus cant forgive me of my sins because I havent forgave someone or have been holding on to things that keep me in sin.But like I said I am commiting to god again [my religion is my religion but you first must get right with god before he can work in yoru life,then you will know hwich religion is good for you through the word of god,and jesus was the word.]

    I love you all,and I only want the best for you all so that you can be in heaven for eternity,so for any religion that reads this make sure you understand gods works,make sure you read up on what he has done,look at what he has done oin your life,Im alive because of jesus when a fmaily member tryed to kill me way back,I’m safe even though I could be in jail and messed up on drugs and beat up when I was doing wrong things and hanging with the wrong people [ my mom prayed for me.] I love you all becuase that what you all need,I show you love because I want you to see that this is jesus’s love through me to you.When I was living in a homeless shelter with my mom and sister I had a dream that our duplex was gonna be ready soon,and like the next week it was ready Jesus brought out of being in that situation,and he warned me when I was just to blind to see it coming.

    Im not gonna get on here by saying what religion is right because thats for you to choose,but the right choice once you get closer to god and have a personal relationship with him and are born again and try your hardest to not sin,then we all will no longer will handicap ourselves when we’re blessed to be on this earth with everything we have,and then we will truly know what god wants for you and not what you want [even though you can have what ever you want as long as its for the riht reasons in god not of your own reasons.]And then you can all decide what is the right religion for you.

    Jesus loves you,I love you,god bless you all.

    Reply
  • 28. top mistakes  |  December 9, 2011 at 2:20 am

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Agnostic Atheism Wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God, you will be judged on your merits and not just on whether or not you ignored the lack of evidence of his/her existence and blindly believed.

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