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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | RFKJr. Makes the Ballot in Worst State for Biden -- Michiganistan
April 19, 2024

THE MORNING RANT: Another Prominent Atheist Discovers the Civilizational Importance of Christianity

Glowing church with old man.JPG

Another prominent atheist has apparently come to the realization that atheism - at least as conspicuously practiced in the West – serves as a destructive form of anti-Christianity, and that the eradication of Christianity does not result in an absence of religion. Instead, it creates an environment where other religions can thrive, including those which are incompatible with western enlightenment.

Richard Dawkins is the British professor who authored “The God Delusion” in 2006. He has made a successful career out of being a professional atheist, heaping much mockery on believers, be they Protestant fundamentalists or Mother Theresa.

Having seen the collapse of Christianity in western Europe, and the rise of Islam as its replacement, he is now starting to miss what he helped destroy, with his recent pronouncement that he is a “Cultural Christian.”

“Famous atheist says he identifies as a 'cultural Christian' and is 'horrified' by promotion of Islamic holiday; Richard Dawkins says he would choose Christianity over Islam 'every single time'“ [Fox News - 4/02/2024]

A famous atheist and evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, explained he identifies as a "cultural Christian" in an interview after learning Ramadan lights were hung on a street in the UK as opposed to hanging lights to celebrate Easter.

"I must say I'm slightly horrified to hear that Ramadan is being promoted instead," Dawkins said in an interview with Rachel S. Johnson of LBC Sunday. "I feel that we are a Christian country."

"It's true that statistically, the number of people who actually believe in Christianity is going down and I'm happy with that, but I would not be happy if, for example, we lost all our cathedrals and our beautiful parish churches. So, I count myself a cultural Christian.”

Being happy about the collapse in the number of practicing Christians while simultaneously despairing the loss of what practicing Christians bring to the culture is quite the “Chesterton’s Fence” moment. Dawkins clearly did not understand the importance of the protective fence provided by Christian culture before seeking to clear it out.

Dawkins said that if he had to choose between Christianity and Islam, he would choose Christianity "every single time."

"I'm not talking about individual Muslims, who, of course, are all quite different, but the doctrines of Islam, the Hadith and the Quran, it's fundamentally hostile to women, hostile to gays and, I find that I like to live in a culturally Christian country, although I do not believe a single word of the Christian faith."

Welcome back to the radiant glow of the chapel, Richard! I hope you will ultimately repent of the damage you have done, seek the forgiveness of those you once mocked, and perhaps one day even walk through those chapel doors and join the body of believers who are the foundation of the civilization that you see slipping away.

It was just a few months ago that another prominent atheist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, announced that she had decided to become a practicing Christian. I wrote about it at the time, noting that, “As Ms. Ali makes clear, she is making a calculated decision – a decision that is somewhat political - to become a practicing Christian.”

Ms. Ali received some criticism for her politically-motivated decision regarding her religious affiliation, to which I wrote, ”I pray that the rational decision process that has led Ms. Ali through the chapel doors will blossom into genuine faith with all of its rewards.” But even if as a practicing Christian Ms. Ali has doubts about the faith, she and society will be better off for her living a Christian life, promoting the Christian faith, and perpetuating Christian culture.

I pray that Mr. Dawkins’ awakening regarding the importance of Christian culture will allow him to follow the path of Ms. Ali. Yet I also understand the frustration of so many Christians toward Mr. Dawkins for the damage he has done, and for not fully understanding the dissonance of desiring a “cultural Christianity” that lacks actual practicing Christians.

“Richard Dawkins’ ‘Cultural Christianity’ Is Thin Gruel: There is no such thing as Christianity without Christians” [The American Conservative – 4/05/2024]

Having actively persecuted the church, Dawkins finds he is sad to see it go. We cannot pretend this is anyone’s fault but his own, and that of his compatriots who have crusaded against religion as the root of all social ills. Nevertheless, some of the church’s greatest apologists have come from its worst former persecutors. May the same be true of Dawkins.

Mr. Dawkins might be shocked to learn that in communities where Christianity remains strong and the pews remain full, there are an abundant number of parishioners whose “faith” would fall somewhere between agnostic and atheist if they were forced to be honest. Although these doubt-filled church-goers may not be published philosophers, they have long understood the magnificent importance of maintaining Christian culture and living a Christian life – for their families, for their communities, and for civilization as a whole. They also understand that being a practicing Christian helps inoculate against bad religions. If I may quote myself again from that Ayaan Hirsi Ali piece:

People are inherently religious. It was almost certainly a factor in our evolution and survival as a species, helping to create family units, parenting structures, agricultural practices, forbidden destructive behaviors, etc. which allowed humans to flourish. But being inherently religious, we’ll rapidly adopt evil religious practices where there is a void from good religions. Anti-humanity death cults (the Church of Climate, radical Islam) have filled the void where Judeo-Christianity has retreated.

These agnostic-yet-practicing Christians have understood for generations what Mr. Dawkins is just figuring out.

Nick the church usher – with his wife in the choir and with his children active in church youth programs - may have some doubts about the tenets of the faith, but he also gives generously, prays with his family, volunteers for mission work, reads Bible stories to his children, serves on committees, and actively promotes Christian culture. Christianity and the community benefit from his family’s active commitment to the church and to the faith, despite Nick’s doubts.

Finally, and this may be linguistic semantics, but it seems to me that agnostics are more likely to truly be non-believers than those who call themselves atheist, but the word “atheist” is so toxic that they don’t use it. In fact, the word “atheist” has pretty much become a synonym for “anti-Christian.” I know of plenty of people who identify as atheist who are venomously anti-Christian, yet they are not hostile to other religions, and they are especially sympathetic to Islam. Further, they are hyper-religious about climate and the environment, embracing the most primitive religious belief of all…that human misbehavior is the cause of bad weather.

I also chuckle when “atheists” speculate if we are living in a simulation. Not unlike their forebears gathered around a communal fire many millennia ago, these “non-believers” are sitting around a digital campfire with others in their online tribe, pondering their creator, and trying to formulate a creation story based on the earthly realm they know. In other words, they are trying to write their own Book of Genesis.

[buck.throckmorton at protonmail dot com]

digg this
posted by Buck Throckmorton at 11:00 AM

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