David, I’m Trying to Figure You Out…

David Hayward (a.k.a. nakedpastor) has a knack for drawing cartoons that can be interpreted in different ways by atheists and Christians, but his latest tweets are definitely puzzling to me…




C’mon over, David! We have The Clergy Project! Plus, we need to rebalance ourselves after losing Leah Libresco :)

While he offers some Biblical-ish justification for his ambiguity, David explains himself this way:

Does this make me an atheist? Does this not make me a Christian? I don’t see how what I’ve stated above makes me not a Christian. I don’t know how what I stated above makes me not an atheist. I feel no urgency for a label. I feel no fear. I do not agonize over this any longer. I’m not anxious about it at all. My mind and heart are finally at peace.

Ok, ok, you’re at peace, and that’s all well and good… but my mind’s racing here! I NEED A LABEL FOR YOU! (And Faitheist is already taken.)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Paul Little

    Let’s be perfectly honest, we never had Leah Libresco.

    • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

      “*sniff*  Well, obviously that misfit wasn’t a real Christian anyway.  Good riddance!”

      Calling all True Scotsmen.  There is a gathering in irreligious auditorium No. 3.

  • Paul Little

    Let’s be perfectly honest, we never had Leah Libresco.

  • 1000 Needles

    “you can be a christian and an atheist at the same time”

    Sure, let’s take that whole Law of Noncontradiction and throw it out the window.

    • Stev84

      There should be something like the Pauli exclusion principle, where you can’t assume two faith states at the same time

      • kagekiri

        But you totally can! You just glue them together with indifference and/or ignorance, or blur your vision until you can’t really make out what distinguishes them from each other.

        Have you seen people who combine folk religions with Catholicism?

        I saw my great-aunt’s home altar; a statue of Jesus next to a bunch of traditional Chinese deities, offered the same incense in a Buddhist style stick form. I was Christian at the time, and felt a bit…bewildered that you could literally stick idols next to Jesus and see no contradiction, but yeah, apparently, it happens.

      • Cheepak Dopra

        That would make him a boson.

    • 3lemenope

      If you take one hand and stick it in liquid nitrogen, and the the other in molten lead, would you be hot, or cold? If you stand in the threshold of a doorway, are you in the room or without it? The law of non-contradiction functions well for logical objects and pure concepts and rather less well for complex physical objects and fuzzy subjects. 

      “Christian” and “atheist” are words both with flexible enough usages that they aren’t entirely mutually exclusive. Belief in God is merely one element of the vast web of metaphysical and ethical beliefs that normally make up what the label ‘Christian’ implies, many of which do not depend on the belief of a God existing to be sensible or usable. 

       It’s the same phenomenon that underlays those perennial tedious arguments that crop up about whether the Founding Fathers of the US were Christian–the answer is different from our perspective (of what we tend to call ‘Christian’) than it would have been to people of their cultural context, as what was meant by ‘Christian’ was a bit broader than what is generally thought of today. Which in turn leads to Christians of today desperately trying to claim them while atheists pointing out their Christianity would hardly be recognizable by today’s believers while themselves conveniently ignoring that those same people in many cases considered themselves Christian (if a bit heterodox about it).  A person may hearken back to those deist-friendly and even atheist-friendly notions of ‘Christian’ similar to the approaches of Jefferson or Franklin and apply a label like “atheist christian” without being directly contradictory. 

      Or it can even be more metaphorical of a union. A radically skeptical Christianity (or one that embraces death of God theology) can be both Christian in its primary cultural and ethical influence and metaphysically atheistic. Same too with an atheism that holds to many of the ethical precepts present in the alleged words of Jesus (such as that which Jefferson sought to capture with his Bible edit).

      • revaaron

        I <3 death of God theology. Much more of a real sacrifice than the orthodox view. Either that, or the potential gnostic view that Christ is in hell eternally to atone for humanity's sins.

    • Pseudonym
  • Bram Kaandorp
    • 1000 Needles

      Shouldn’t that be called Jesusian atheism? In calling Jesus “the Christ”, you are giving him the title of “messiah.”

      • Bram Kaandorp

        I probably call it that as well, but the Wikipedia article didn’t carry that name.

        • Kodie

           Christian just means like Christ. I don’t know that it’s saying a person labels Jesus a messiah more than using the common terms people will recognize, and I know people could get used to Jesusian if they saw or heard it more, but…. look at it. It’s not making any friends. And besides, these people look to Jesus for a role model. He wasn’t all bad, nor was he original, but I wouldn’t limit myself to one philosophy or apply either embarrassing modification to my atheism.

          • Pseudonym

            Amusing historical factoid: “Christian” was originally a term of derision which was adopted by the group as a badge of honour, much like “queer”.

            • Bram Kaandorp

              Or atheist if I’m correct.

  • Cutencrunchy

     That is not an explanation! That is an “I’m fine without labels” which is fine – until you want to communicate anything at all ever. 

    You can have Christian values such as ‘do unto others’ while not believing in the white beard big daddy – but that would make you an Atheist living truer christian values than most Christians.

    You can re-define god as the sun or the energy that all life comes from –

    but if we establish a premise that belief and acceptance of white bearded daddy is Christian and denial of him is atheist you cannot be both.

    Unless you want to be.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      What exactly are “Christian values”? Most of the ones that people readily admit to are simply ordinary human values, shared across nearly all cultures and all religions (and no religion at all).

      When I think of “Christian values” I think of really ugly concepts: original sin, absolution, undeserved forgiveness, turning the other cheek. Seriously, what positive Christian values are there, that a truly moral person would admit to having?

      I can understand the concept of a Christian atheist, but not what values that person would claim from Christianity.

      • kagekiri

        I think a lot of people consider being loving, forgiving, doing to others as you’d have them do to you, generosity, caring about family, and so on as “Christian values.”

        Not that they’re actually unique or even first discovered by Christianity, but that the sum total of that WASP-y stereotype is what “Christian values” signals to them.I mean, some are actually ignorant enough to think they’re unique to Christianity, or could only come from Christianity, but otherwise, yeah, it’s more a set of values that are, as you say,  incredibly basic and general when you get down to it.I made that mistake when I first deconverted, thinking of my morals as basically still Christian. I later realized it was really just natural humanism to do good to others, and shaved off the crappy parts of Christianity like “pro-life” stances on  abortion and homophobic voting patterns.

        • 3lemenope

          I don’t think the claim is that Christianity is the only place to find those values, but rather that it happened to be the place that that person found them in the form that was persuasive to them.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            It is quite scary to think there are people who needed Christianity in order to be persuaded to adopt some sort of humanist values. These seem like fundamentally disordered and dangerous people given that most people are essentially humanists by nature (until religion corrupts that).

            • 3lemenope

              …given that most people are essentially humanists by nature (until religion corrupts that).

              What, precisely, makes you think this is true?

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                My reading of history and anthropology. Although modern humanism, as a formally defined philosophy, has introduced a lot of subtlety, I think that most people are (and always have been) “good” in the sense most humanists use that word. Whole societies, of course, have been led away from humanist ideals at times… and in most cases, religion played a big part in that negative shift.

                Modern secular societies are substantially humanist, without any driving force making them that way.

                • 3lemenope

                  I tend to think that there is importance in those details; the subtlety is not for subtlety’s sake. There is some natural inclination towards some precepts of secular humanism inherent to being human, but much of it is not.

                  For some examples, I don’t see much historical evidence of most people being interested in any sort of rigorous empiricism in interrogating the world, nor a particular valuation of knowledge and education, nor a deep desire for finding hidden truths. Humans are primed to accept intuitive explanations, and if not those than provided explanations. Inquiry and skepticism are learned inclinations. 

                  There isn’t much desire to focus on this life, as often the conditions of the world are wholly depressing (especially in the past, but definitely also sometimes these days in many places), nor a particular desire for universally functional ethics. In point of fact, I’d argue that people (due to instinct and being as we are pack/tribe animals) tend towards naturally embracing ethical systems that reinforce kin advantage, in-group/out-group selection, and objective precedence of friend over foe. Peace, throughout most of human history, has been a functional tool of politics rather than an end in itself. 

                  I do think that people have natural *potential* in a humanistic sense, that humanistic inclinations are not directly opposed by human instinct but rather simply mostly orthogonal to them. Humanism is, thus, not simply an absence of religion and a flowering of natural instincts, but a positive nurturing of those instincts (and occasionally an overriding of them) in a different direction.

          • kagekiri

            Er, I didn’t say everyone believed it, or that it was the main claim, just that I do know people who would claim that morality is from Christianity. I think I made that clear by saying “some”…?

            • 3lemenope

              Yes…? I didn’t think you did say everyone believed it. My only point was that Christians tend to view them as Christian values not because they believe they only come from Christianity, but merely because Christianity exposed them to those values first, or more pervasively, or more persuasively than other sources, and so they relate those values they hold to their Christianity.

        • AxeGrrl

          I made that mistake when I first deconverted, thinking of my morals as basically still Christian. I later realized it was really just natural humanism to do good to others

          Perfectly said :)

  • RobMcCune

    Ok, ok, you’re at peace, and that’s all well and good… but my mind’s racing here! I NEED A LABEL FOR YOU! 

    Cryptic religious-y agnosticish… guy???

  • http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/ Jonny Scaramanga

    I can haz confusion. 

    I interpret his story to mean that he is a Christian, but that he think it’s OK to have doubts. That would leave room for him to be a fairly conservative Christian. Nothing he says sounds like an atheist to me, and it reads like he’s using the word to get attention.
    In the comments, one of his readers has interpreted it as support for her position, which appears to be more like cultural Christianity – she likes the ideas and community, I guess, but doesn’t believe any of the doctrines.

    If he’s just doing this to appease all sides, I think it’s highly uncool. Either that or he’s a crap communicator.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I would assume that David uses a fairly unconstrained definition of “Christian” as someone who believes in a forgiving, redempting life-force that exists outside of all conventional scripture or organized religions. He also uses a fairly unconstrained definition of “atheism” as the lack of belief in any conventional organized religions. Only with relaxing both definitions sufficiently, can one identify with both at the same time. Once you firm one up, you lose the other.

    • Kodie

      forgiving, redempting life-force that exists outside of all conventional scripture or organized religions.

      So, he’s not an atheist.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

    This is a case of semantic shenanigans. I call “semantigans!”

    • 3lemenope

      LOL

    • AxeGrrl

      Diablo Cody, is that you? :)

      I love it!

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    “Christian” and “atheist” are mutually exclusive. End of story. It would be like saying, “I’m an atheist and a theist.” Bullshit you are.

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

    OK, I’m pissed off. I am a good, moral, caring, compassionate atheist humanist. I am NOT one of the best Christians anybody might know and I do not live by or espouse “Christian values” in any way shape or form.
    Those values usually alluded to as “Christian”- compassion, charity, forgiveness etc – all pre-date  Christianity. They pre-date Judaism as well as the beginning of monotheism out of which it sprang. They pre-date organized religion of any type and the beginning of civilization. Their origins are lost in theists of time with the origins of the human species and almost certainly before that.
    So two thousand years ago, after a span of a quarter million years or more, some Johnny-come-lately of a religious moral philosophy thinks it can stamp its name on and take ownership of these values is insulting and ridiculous. The use of the phrase “Christian values” should be shot down and mocked at every opportunity.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      You are mistaken… there very much are Christian values. For the most part, they are quite evil, and thoroughly opposed to humanist ideals.

      • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

        No mistake made. I read your reply to Cutncrunchy and agree whole heartedly that Christians value some weird, sick shit. My comment merely agreed with you that the happy “Christian values” that are being referred to when that term is used are, in fact, human values.

    • AxeGrrl

      So two thousand years ago, after a span of a quarter million years or more, some Johnny-come-lately of a religious moral philosophy thinks it can stamp its name on and take ownership of these values is insulting and ridiculous

      *standing ovation*

      I’m sooooo tired of religions ‘claiming’ virtues that can be/have been arrived at purely through purely humanistic means.

      Thanks for making this point, Matt.  It’s something that drives me nuts.

    • ACN

      Well said.
      Have several internet cookies :)

    • Dfeldmeyer

      Those values usually alluded to as “Christian”- compassion, charity, forgiveness etc – all pre-date Christianity. They pre-date Judaism as well as the beginning of monotheism out of which it sprang. They pre-date organized religion of any type and the beginning of civilization. Their origins are lost in theists of time with the origins of the human species and almost certainly before that.

      • Dfeldmeyer

        Is that a fact based upon verifiable, measurable, quantifiable data?  Or is that your belief?  If so, upon what is is based?  It is not the notion of ethical behavior that Judaism claims to have discovered or created but rather a specific codification of moral/ethical behaviors necessary for people to live in community. Nowhere in the foundational literature of Christianity do the founders claim to have come up with anything new, but rather a new expression of the old principles established in ancient Judaism.  Now, if that is what you wish to condemn, please have at it.  I would be interested in hearing your argument.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Maybe that’s his ‘thing’, just like Crupp’s ‘thing’ is being an atheist.

  • Notaboutreligion

    The Naked Pastor has been a Christian all his life. He now rejects the Christian form of “God,” and the church in it’s present form. It’s the same as if I were to move to Australia and assume citizenship. I would be Australian, but deep down, I would always identify as being an American.

    I think its perfectly reasonable to identify as two seemingly opposing identities. Dig?

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    I have a liberal Christian friend who is similar to NP. Whenever pressed on what he believes in, my buddy will rattle on about not being into labels and all the other blah, blah, blah, that uber-liberal Christians like to say. I’ve talked to other atheists, and there is a minority opinion out there that while conservative Christians are dangerous, liberal Christians are more irritating to talk to.

    • 3lemenope


       I’ve talked to other atheists, and there is a minority opinion out there that while conservative Christians are dangerous, liberal Christians are more irritating to talk to.

      It’s like trying to nail jello to a wall.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        So true! While I think that form of Christianity is much better for society, it’s amazing how difficult it is to try to get them to make any kind of sense. You can’t pin liberal Christians down on anything, because their entire belief system is fuzzy and vague.

    • Pseudonym

      Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s nonsense. When you’re dealing with someone’s very identity, especially a smart person, expect it to be hard to understand.

      Having said that, if you want to have a conversation with your friend about what he believes that is unequivocal and comprehensible, ask him about social justice.

      • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

        There is a difference between a person who doesn’t understand what they other person is saying, and when  liberal Christian/atheist/pantheist  is intentionally trying to to obfuscate their beliefs.

        • Pseudonym

          How can you tell the difference if you don’t understand it?

  • jose

    He’s most definitely not a Catholic. But there are so many weird denominations he might fit in one.

  • Kodie

    People say a lot of terrible things about Christians, so the solution obviously is to no longer identify as one. What shall we call it? I don’t know. I think about this when there are, like, five other words for “Atheist” so people can choose to be an atheist without attaching themselves to the stigma of the word “atheist” or some other bullshit reason they don’t like it.

  • LesterBallard

    If a tree falls in the woods, does anyone give a shit?

    • Kodie

       Someone might.

      • Piet

         Depents on where you are shitting..

        • Piet

           *depends..

    • Tainda

      If I were sitting under it, I would probably give a lot of shits lol

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Well… if you define Christian as “one who is Christ-like”, one who lives out the non-violence, feed-the-poor, love-thy-neighbor tenets, one does not need to believe in Christ to be Christ-like.

    I, for one, would rather people walk the walk, get out there and do what Christ did, feed, heal, clothe, shelter, ‘cuz talking the talk isn’t getting anything done.

    • GeorginaFSmyth

       accidentally posted my reply to AshBowie, still Christ-like still implies a god.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        I see your point.

        I’ll admit to being a huge fan of liberal-hippie-Jesus. But I’m sure as hell NOT a Christian! I just think he had some good ideas, some good teachings about being kind to our fellow travelers and treating others decently, you know? And in America, Jesus is kind of… well, everyone knows who Jesus (allegedly) was, so he’s kind of a common cultural symbol of kindness and sacrifice, we all understand what “be like Jesus” means.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    I was subscribed to David’s blog for some time and often took part in many thread discussions. I left awhile ago as it was just too maddening for me. I am very fond of David, but I found his attempts to describe his fence-sitting as something it is not to be very frustrating. He’s so close, yet so far. He’s never taken that final step and I don’t think that he ever will. It’s not my place to attempt to push him in any direction, nor am I obliged to take part in or give tacit support to what I perceive to be an act of self-deception.
    If he finds peace and happiness in how he sees the world and he is doing no harm to himself or others then I am happy for him.
    He’s a good man. I wish he was playing for our team.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    Shrodingers Pastor!  He simultaneously does and does not believe in a god, and can remain that way until he actually tries to take a look at what his belief really is.  Then he’ll wind up having to collapse his waveform into one or the other.  As long as he does not open his box, he can stay both.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Good analogy.  He simultaneously uses two ambiguous definitions (for atheist and Christian) but once he firms up either one, the other definition will collaps.

  • AshBowie

     While he doesn’t want to be saddled with labels, what I’m really hearing is that he doesn’t want to give up the label “Christian”. People can use words however they want, but when one removes virtually every aspect of a label’s common definition, then the term is no longer descriptive in any pragmatic sense. If he doesn’t believe that Jesus was the messiah, the son of god who died and was resurrected, whom we must have faith in in order to be saved, then he isn’t a Christian in the typical way that word is used; he has his own personal definition for it. Which is fine, but it seems clear to me that he doesn’t use the word “Christian” to mean that he is an actual Christian…rather, it indicates that he likes the *idea* of being a Christian but doesn’t want to commit to the actual requirements of Christianity.

    • Georgina

       “you can be a christian and an atheist at the same”

      Actually, you cannot. You can be an atheist and a “follower of the teachings of Jesus” but as soon as you use the work christ (the anointed one) – you are accepting the messiah doctrine – which implicitly advocates for a god.
      No god = no messiah = no christ.

      But by all means, be a follower of Jesus – or Matthew (7,12), – but one cannot be a “follower of christ” without a christ! 

    • Oneredsoprano

      When one has been a lifelong Christian and makes an exodus from the church, it means that s/he doesn’t believe in church. It doesn’t necessarily negate a belief in god. In my mind, there is universal spirit, energy, divine intelligence. Therefore, I can neither be a Christian nor an Athiest.

  • Jeff Ritter

    My Intro to Philosophy professor was a “Catholic” atheist. He couldn’t bring himself to believe in a god in any literal sense. He felt that “god” as described by his priest was nothing but an ideal that we strive for. He didn’t buy into the miracles but did buy into the teachings of Jesus, with a few reservations he never shared. It took a while for me to grasp it, but then again I was deep in the middle of my journey away from the faith so confusion was rampant in my mind. That and the course was mentally taxing as well.

  • http://www.robinlionheart.com/ Robin Lionheart

    A couple months ago, David proposed a label for himself: “atheish”.

    • AxeGrrl

      Hmm, now I’m thinking that in addition to being a Christian/atheist/whatever, David must be a Dan Savage fan as well!

      (‘atheish’ sounds suspiciously close to ‘monogamish’, one of Savage’s more famous invented terms :)

    • jose

       I think he would be more than happy to be called “special snowflake”.

  • Erp

    Call him human? 

    I don’t think he needs the clergy project because he is ‘out’ in his beliefs (he is ‘naked’) even if he refuses to put his beliefs into one category and even as they change. 

  • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D-Ma

    I am a former conservative Evangelical Christian turned ambiguous, I don’t want a label, agnostic, atheist. I’ve joined the dark side.  Here’s my best shot at it:

    The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23. 

    I used to believe you had to be a Christian to have this “fruit”.  Then I met someone who had all of this and displayed it in greater amounts than anyone I’d ever met.  Turns out he wasn’t, still isn’t, and has no intentions of becoming a Christian.  I was confused by this because I could have sworn he was.  My fiance does this better than anyone I know.

     

    • crden

       I grew up around fundamentalist evangelicals and they seemed to share this view that you had to be a Christian to have this “fruit.” I wonder sometimes how much of it is rooted in the Puritan view that you will know the elect by their “fruit.” I know they don’t believe the same things now, but I suspect some of that kernel remains. Thus every time they see someone who has that “fruit” they automatically assume that person must be favored by god, which he wouldn’t do if they weren’t Christian.

      • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D-Ma

        ” I wonder sometimes how much of it is rooted in the Puritan view that you will know the elect by their “fruit.””

        I don’t know about Puritan views, all I knew was that the Bible said so.  If the fruit of the Spirit is that, and a person doesn’t have the Spirit, how can they be all of that?  It was just one more proof to me, when I finally pried my fingers from my eyes, that there was no Spirit.  Only people.  Doing what people do.  Good or bad.

        • crden

           Basically one big difference was that Puritans thought God had already determined who was chosen to go to heaven and who was not, back at the beginning of history. God had a big master plan, and everyone had a part to play. Humans were inherently sinful, and your righteous behavior wouldn’t make a difference in your salvation but instead would be the effect of your being chosen. Since everyone wants to be more certain about being one of the chosen, you behave well and try to master your evil impulses in order to reassure yourself that you are one of the chosen and, probably, though they weren’t likely to admit it, as evidence to others that you may well be one of the chosen.

          Here’s a link from the National Humanities Center that explains it better than I can: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/eighteen/ekeyinfo/puritan.htm

      • Scott_In_OH

        I was taught like D-Ma.  Humans are naturally sinful and selfish.  Only with God’s (Jesus’s) help can we overcome our natural desires and be more loving, patient, sharing — “Christ-like.”  This turns out not to be true, since (a) plenty of professed Christians are not loving, etc., and (b) plenty of non-Christians are loving, etc.

        • crden

           That probably is it. I don’t know, I was raised outside the faith.

    • Oneredsoprano

      The fruit of the Spirit is not the fruit of the church! I’m fond of telling people that Jesus wasn’t a Christian.

      • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D-Ma

         What does that have to do with my comment?

  • Thompsonw3

    Christian atheism has been a small but important theological form of thought since the sixties. He’s not very original.

  • P4ul47

    Neither Christian, nor atheist but agnostic?

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    It’s fascinating to watch those with a strong group identity completely loose it when someone refuses to conform to conventionally understood boundaries.  The tribalistic tendency of humans is so often brought to the fore by non-conformists.  Declare that no group’s boundaries truly contain one’s sense of self, purpose, and place, and watch the social fireworks ensue…

    Labels so frequently function as the blacksmith’s tools in forging the steely bars of social cages.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deamon-Cohln/100001884720215 Deamon Cohln

    I think we’re all just chasing a red herring and he’s just trolling at this point.

    • http://www.zazzle.com/leftwingliberal_tees The Godless Monster

       Seeing as he’s made some severe and very real financial and emotional sacrifices to reach the point where he’s at right now, I have a difficult time believing that David is just putting on a show. After subscribing to his blog for a long time and interacting with him off the blog, I find it safe to say that David is a genuine and sincere person.
      As an aside, I’d much rather have him as a friend and neighbor than 90% or more of the atheists I’ve encountered online.

  • Shira Coffee

    Wow. What a lot of frustration over the inability to pigeonhole someone.

    People are complicated. Better to acknowledge the complexity and to reduce any human being to a label.

  • nakedpastor

    Well well well. I just noticed this post and the ensuing comments. Sorry for the tardiness in weighing in.

    After reading the comments, this is the overall impression I get:Why would I leave Christianity and the Church with all its exclusivist dogmatism simply to run into the arms of another community that is just as exclusive and dogmatic?

    Don’t we see that THIS is the problem with the human race? I have come to conclude that it is labels that is the problem, so I reject them all.

    I’m not trying to belong to you guys or atheism any more than I’m trying to belong to the church or Christianity. But I do appreciate being invited to participate in the discussion… when there is one.

    This is my exploration. I can take no other.

    • http://dougmullin.ca/ Doug

      why do we need labels to live by? i like the post, but I agree with David. exclusive and dogmatic comments make me wonder if humanity is all mad. maybe I get David’s tweets, because I’m somewhere the same exploration that he is on.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Why do you need to run into the arms of a community? I’m an atheist, but I don’t belong to any exclusive or dogmatic community. I call myself an atheist because it’s accurate, pure and simple. Words have meanings. Since “atheist” means a person who doesn’t believe in gods, that’s what I use to describe myself, when I have occasion to do so. It doesn’t have to be anything other than a simple, descriptive label. Why make more of it than what it is?

  • Pastor Dan

    as a pastor and a Christian, I am with David on this.  It is not the atheists who scare me in this world, it is those who don’t know enough to care or care enough to know and those who think they are absolutely right whatever their belief system may be and therefore all others Must believe the way they do.  I am simply on a journey as are we all, I think I know who to thank along the way but I am not totally sure and I am fine with that.  

  • TheAmazingAgnostic

    I once knew a liberal Christian who would make statements similar to NakedPastor’s.

    Talking to him was always very surreal because what he said never made any sense. I do not think that he intended for his comments to be illogical; deep down inside, he thought himself to be a wise philosopher. Despite being a Christian, he considered himself inspired by Taoist teachings, which means that some of his stranger remarks were probably koans (even though I was pretty sure that koans were a Zen sort of thing).

    He often means well, but I will never understand the way his brain works. 

  • http://letgoandflow.com/hey-atheists-you-won-god-argument/ David

    Lot of good comments here. I think the whole argument is born out of the rigid idea that God, or even the Christian God, is inherently theist. I personally define God in a atheistic way. God is not a personality, God is an idea to me.

    Of course, Christianity did not create compassion or redemption. However, that doesn’t mean someone cant identify with Christianity. If Christianity speaks to you, then you are a Christian to a certain degree. So when someone says they have “Christian values” it might just mean that they have values like compassion and redemption and they learned those values through the Christian faith.

    • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

      Then they are mistaken. Christianity of course did not create compassion or redemption, otherwise chimpanzees would be Christians.

      If someone is attributing these values to Christianity then they are mistaken and ignorant of social evolution. As long as people continue to give credit where credit is NOT due then no progress can be attained. Christianity was merely a rickety explanation for inherently beneficial human values and a penalty log for inherently questionable behavior. We don’t need it anymore! We’ve got better ideas here in the 21st-century, for Christ’s sake. So let’s forsake Christ.

  • Chris

    I’m both a Christian and an atheist and I am both not a Christian and not an atheist. I get from where David is coming. If I had to give myself a label, I am a neo-perennialist. So, you thought David was confusing? ;)

  • Erwinvaughan

    It’s amazing how many people have joined the “I won’t be labeled” group. Think about it!!!
    Not trying to be overly critical but you sound like a child yelling at his parents  “you’re not my parents”.

  • KingJaymz

    Wow, Hemant. You might be friendly, but some of your commenters are most assuredly not. Fundamentalism comes in all flavors.


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