I Challenge Peter Rollins to Give Up Atheism for Lent

I Challenge Peter Rollins to Give Up Atheism for Lent March 9, 2011

Happy Ash Wednesday, everyone.

Peter Rollins is the most famous Christian Atheist that I know.

Actually, Pete isn’t technically an “atheist.”  He’s an (a)theist.  Or an a(theist).  Or an a/theist, a|theist, or a\theist.  He explained this a bit when I called in live to the Homebrewed Christianity Podcast and challenged Pete to do the only natural thing for someone who de-evangelizes people and runs the Omega Course:

I challenge Peter Rollins to give up atheism for Lent.

That means I’d like to see video of Pete singing praise and worship songs, preferably while swaying with his hands in the air.  If he can conjure up a few tears, that would be even better.

I’d like Pete to post some beautiful, flowery prayers on his blog.

I’d like Pete to make some conclusive claims about the characteristics of God.

I’d like Pete to answer some questions.  I mean actually answer them, without telling a parable.

Do you have some challenges for Pete as he gives up atheism for Lent? I’ll be seeing Pete on Good Friday, so I’ll let you all know how he did!

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  • This is beautiful. Ha! I hope Peter takes you up on your challenge.

    Peter may be the most famous Christian Atheist who is a Christian, but Slavoj Žižek is the most famous Atheist Christian who is an Atheist. I would also love to see Žižek singing praise songs with real emotion. Now that would be something for Lent.

  • Scot Miller

    While I think it’s funny that you’re tweaking Pete a bit (and RealPeteRollins is evidence that there’s a lot of funny stuff to tweak Pete about), I think his point at the end of his Homebrewedchristianity interview is hard to get around. While it’s a good idea to hold a little ironic detachment from ironic detachment (“giving up (a)theism for Lent”), all of the things you suggest he do for Lent to do are practices which actually distract from the experience of the absence of God, the experience of the abandonment of God in the crucifixion, which he’s trying to recover.

    But as I said, your challenge is pretty funny, Tony. And it would be interesting to see if Pete could give up answering questions in parables for Lent.

  • I think this has to be a classic (textbook) example of projection….. Either that, or phishing…

    He sure got a kick out of it. So, good job.

  • I know that whole parable thing is just so Jesusy – it needs to stop 🙂

    I thought I was fairly well versed in Pete Rollins but I’m not familiar with his Christian atheist thing. I’m going to assume it’s very different from that internet pastor’s book (craig groeschel [sp?])

  • Haven

    But what do singing praise songs and writing flowery prayers have to do with being a christian in the first place?

    • K. Schmidt

      I certainly agree with “Haven’s” question. As a practising Christian, I cannot stand either one.

  • Aran

    I quite literally “lol”ed at the mental image of Pete singing praise songs while weeping, hands thrust “heavenward” . . . seriously, great post Tony.

    Happy Lenten thoughts and practices to all.

  • I wish he would do this 4 real. Or at least some variation on the theme. In addition 2 ur challenges above I think we should add one more. Pete should write a childrens story. One that small children can relate 2 & understand. One that describes God in a concrete way on some level. Now that would b giving up Atheism 4 Lent:)

  • Pingback: Peter Rollins & Tony Jones are making Lent much more fun than usual « www.philsnider.net()

  • Pete should also submit himself to fundamentalist Evangelical worship services in the Northeast. He could call it the Evangelical-ism Project.

  • Ian

    I’m becoming a big fan of Peter. I can’t believe he would agree to this. Getting him to give a straight answer would be amazing.
    Sometimes, listening to Peter hurts my head (thinking is hard). I often feel like I’m trapped in the Matrix, listening to the old man in front of all those monitors…but the Will Ferrel version from the 2003 MTV VMA’s…never mind.

  • He has to read “The Purpose Driven Life”

  • Dan Hauge

    Great idea. I’ve come to realize that I don’t know if I agree with Peter Rollins’ Christian Atheism or not because I still don’t understand it :).

  • Pingback: #Theism4Lent | Theoblogy()

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  • John Henckel

    tit for tat… Tony should be willing to give up God for lent. I mean that sincerely, if you expect an atheist to sincerely believe, you have to be willing to sincerely not believe. or is that asking too much?

  • JB

    This is way too confusing. I guess if Peter Rollins makes people “think” then that’s good, but his point of view is a jumbled mess. Christianity is supposed to be hard, but it’s not supposed to be confusing. God wants our trust, and “giving up God” for Lent is not going to breed more trust. Further, Lent is not about feeling the abandonment of God. It’s about growing in holiness with God’s help. WE already feel the abandonment of God by virtue of our being human and being subject to original sin in the first place. Jesus sacrifice on the cross was sufficient. . . we join our sacrifices during Lent with His, but WE don’t have to feel the abandonment HE felt. We can’t do the job He did, carrying the sin of the whole world, after all. We are not the savior. Our place is to trust and receive. And it is really important to believe in the death and resurrection of Christ if you are going to call yourself a Christian. Oh yeah, Pete doesn’t call himself a Christian. He calls himself a “a/thiest” or whatever. I guess it’s hard to believe in the sacrifice of Christ when you don’t really believe in the existence of sin or that you need “saving” in the first place. Sheesh. Have a fruitful Lent everybody. As for me, I think I’ll go read some G.K. Chesterton.

    • Jenni Fairbanks

      @JB One can totally believe in sin and not believe that Jesus was the sacrifice to pay for those sins, and still consider themselves “Christian.” And, I completely disagree with the statement that Christianity shouldn’t be confusing. With all due respect, sounds like you are comfortable with your conclusions/beliefs in your Christian faith, but please know that other Christians have different viewpoints that are just as valid…and some of those viewpoints include holding up doubts and questions of/for God…and that can still be a Christian faith full of meaning.

  • Most people have a problem with Peter Rollins because they believe they know what being a Christian is supposed to look like. The man has a remarkable education and academic record, and it would break my heart to see him “worshiping with tears n his eyes” if that wasn’t the man he is.
    And still I get it… I’ve been studying philosophy for a while, and my education is getting rather extensive – and still I like sticking close to men like St. Augustine, or St. Francis et al. Often I find that Aquinas was right, and that my reason & intellect are a gift from God. And I still need plenty of time when I leave my mind aside and just let my heart be with it’s Lord.