14 January 2016

"Christian atheism" explained

Excerpts from a religion page archived in 2006 by the BBC:

Essentials of non-realistic Christianity

  • Religion is about internal spiritual experiences, and that is all.
  • There is no world other than the material world around us.
  • There are no beings other than the living organisms on this planet or elsewhere in the universe.
  • There is no objective being or thing called God that exists separately from the person believing in him.
  • There is no 'ultimate reality' outside human minds either.
  • We give our own lives meaning and purpose; there is nothing outside us that does it for us.
  • God is a projection of the human mind.
  • "God" is the way human beings put 'spiritual' ideals into a poetic form that they are able to use and work with.
  • "God" is simply a word that stands for our highest ideals.


Worship and prayer

If there's no God out there, it might seem pointless to go to church, or to pray. Christian Atheists would disagree:

Worship is a beneficial activity. Worship in a group is good way for a community to:
  • communicate with each other
  • share ideals and ideas
  • explore the meaning and purpose of their individual lives, and the life of their community


Benefits of this form of belief

Those who who believe like this claim many advantages for it:
  • Humanity is forced to take responsibility for everything.
  • Human beings are seen as powerful and able to do things for themselves.
  • Religion no longer has to try to explain many difficult issues that go with believing in supernatural things.
  • Religion is no longer in opposition to scientific progress.

There are several more bullet points under these headings at the BBC.


  1. I would argue that this is more atheistic religion than christian-atheism. To be Christian, is by definition, to be believe in the teachings of Christ, and therefore that there is a God (among much else that he said). You can no more have a Christian Atheist than you can a Islamic Atheist. They should at least have the courage of their convictions and label themselves rightly.

    I don't mean to start a flame war.

  2. My problem is with the people who loudly proclaim themselves to be Christian, but denigrate the poor, the homeless, the sick, and the imprisoned.

  3. I would think there could be a potentially beneficial effect of prayer/ritual used as a form of meditation as opposed to actual "worship".

  4. I came here to say the same thing as Jo, above. To use the term 'Christian Athiest' is a contradiction in terms, as to be 'Christian' is to follow the doctrines and teachings of Christ. Among those teachings is that there is one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. Atheism denies this; therefore the two are not compatible terms.

    To draw a parallel, this is like saying I like to use my Samsung iPhone to make calls. Samsung does not make iPhones, therefore this is impossible. Christianity is a monotheistic religion, and you can't, by definition, be a monotheist and an atheist at the same time.

    What is being described above is atheism, pure and simple, and needs no other definitive terms.

  5. You can follow the teachings of Jesus in general without believing in God. It does not have to be an all-or-none proposition. Christianity is so vast that it does not seem strange for a moment that people would call themselves Christian Atheists. Christianity can be monotheistic or polytheistic depending on the denomination. Not every nontrinitarian denomination fits nicely into Catholic or Protestant either.

    I would assume that a Christian Atheist believes that Jesus is the Son of God insomuch that he is a version of man at his best, highest self, and therefore venerated and worshipped as the best of us.

    I like it.


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