We’re Not Atheists Because of Bad Christians May 7, 2015

We’re Not Atheists Because of Bad Christians

Why aren’t we religious?

I’ve heard Christians confidently express the reasons: There’s too much hypocrisy within the church, there are too many Christians who give the rest of them a bad name, we’ve had bad experiences in church, etc.

Not the reason we became atheists

Neil Carter does a great job pointing out that the problem is as much with the message as it is the messengers:

… My Christian friends routinely pass around this much beloved quote by Brennan Manning:

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.

Pardon me, but no, it isn’t. As a card carrying atheist I can certify that very few atheists will agree to this. This is just something Christians say to each other because they’ve grown so accustomed to guilting each other over things that it makes them love this kind of talk. Preachers shout it from their pulpits and friends share it on their Facebook walls, but I’ve never once heard an actual atheist say any such thing.

… I was taught so many things that in retrospect are baseless and fanciful. It’s embarrassing at times to recall what I used to accept as fact. But that’s what happens when they get to us so very young. They can teach us to believe just about anything, and once we’re older we still hold to the same things we thought when we were tiny and a lot more trusting.

So much truth there. We reject Christianity (and all faith) because the theology is bogus and the evidence doesn’t support it. How Christians act is incidental to all that. They could be the greatest people in the world and it wouldn’t matter because the foundation of their beliefs is so hollow.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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