Why Are There Still Atheists?

It is a wonder that there are atheists.  It is hard to be out of sight of a church steeple in any town in the United States.  That visual advertising is everywhere. 

Children by the millions are carted off to Sunday School every week.  Presidents of the United States end every speech with “God bless you.  God bless America.”  For many Christians, to be an atheist is just not normal.  There  is something wrong with you.

Yet, atheism remains a permanent part of our culture.  And, the number appears to be growing while that of Christians is not.  What has gone wrong?

To me, it is that the society has become more inclined to think for itself while most of Christianity prefers that people do not.  Clergy are called “preachers” because they preach.

Why are people are less likely to accept and adopt the mandates of authorities? Is it the computer, the smaller more permissive family, the broader number of choices in everything from breakfast foods to TV channels, the change from a rural to an urban society?  Whatever the cause, the Christian leadership needs to find a way to connect to an anti-authority  society. 

I don’t see much adjustment to the new circumstances.  Instead, the faith likes to repeat its old message: This faith is about sin and the punishment for it.  You were born a no good sinner.  To redeem yourself, do as we say.

That is why there are still atheists.

41 Responses

  1. Wanna B Sure

    Jon; Your; “To redeem yourself, you must accept what we tell you”. (With special emphasis on -“To redeem yourself”. Herein lies the error of understanding in Atheism, and sad to say, even in a mild form in some of the most postmodern Christian sects. Again, your world view prevents you from understanding, yet while enforcing your defiance.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            I should have put that in the form of a question. Feel free to choose the answer that makes you feel good and authorative.

          2. Wanna 1:50 In all due respect, I think your answer reflects the very problem most of Christianity faces. That is, the problem is with the customer, not the vender. The creed of capitalism is, “the customer is always right”. In the world of Christian dogma, the customer is always wrong “..distortion, misuse, and misunderstanding of authority, via defiance.” The old schoolmarm technique of shaking a fingure at the child does not work like it used to.

  2. entech

    More to the point why are there still Christians? Why are there either? This is only one hypothesis out of the many possible.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            David; Some of the Roman emperorers including Nero systematically attempted to rid Rome of Christianity. The Caesars considered themselves to be “a God”, and/or their standards (flags), and didn’t want their subjects to acknowlege a “God” other than themselves. AKA Caesaropapism If the Christians wouldn’t “bow down to Caeser” as a God, and would only acknowlege Jesus, they were put in prison, killed, tortured, etc. Some claim that some were fed to the lions in the coliseum, but the documentation on that is sparse.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            PS Regarding ceasaropapism; Even as late as NAZI controll in Germany, If one refused to “seig heil” to Hitler, or to his standards, one could be and was whisked off to the concentration camps. He damanded absolute compliance. Really no difference. Just saw that on the History Channel.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          CE=common era—-Ad=anno deium (Year of our Lord). Both designate the same time frame.
          As also in BCE=before common era—-BC=Before Christ. Both again designate the same time frame.
          BC, and AD was most commonly used from 14th century? forward, until the last 100 yr? Now, archeologists, Jews, etc use BCE and CE pretty much exclusively tue to the relationship of the Christ. Hope that helps. There may be a variation of understanding on the applications of “BCE and CE, but what I gave you are approximations.

          1. entech

            Perhaps then you could explain what happened to year zero if we go from -1 to +1. Is it Julian or Gregorian, perhaps the Hebrew dating from the creation, the Muslim calendar from whenever.
            Just shows that the confusion arises because, like many other things, the calendar was designed by man.

            Rome etc. is all about control and power and it could be secular or religious, religious organisations are not above asserting themselves.

          2. entech

            Looking at that again I seem to recall from my schooldays that AD was anno domini, but like you I don’t really care and we don’t need too much pedantic nonsense.

  3. In case anyone is interested…. NOBODY can “redeem themselves” in Christianity. It has already been done and it is free gift to anyone who accepts it.
    But an Atheist would not know that; Athiests “dis” scripture without knowing what it really says…ALL OF IT..and not just chosen bits and pieces from what I refer to as “smorgasbord” scripture selection. Pick that which pleases you and do not study any of the rest of it. SAD.

    1. As a young Catholic I was continually impressed with the knowledge of non-belivers when it came to the contents of the good book. It took me a while to get over my Catholic guilt and ascribe this particular short coming to the institution responsible for educating me in these matters rather than myself.

  4. PS Scripture tells why there are athiests but I do not like to “cast my pearls……..”
    (Matt 7:6 )

    It is in scripture plain as the nose on your face.
    For anyone who cares to look it up here are two places:

    discussions of rebellion:
    Romans 1-starting at verse 18 and continuing to the end of the first chapter
    Also in 2 Timothy beginning at chapter 3

    1. Wanna B Sure

      I’ve been wondering how Jon got to being where he is. After long consideration, the most likely scenario goes like this: Little Jon was always defiant and agrumentative as a child. He refused to eat his parsnips, even though that was the only thing at the time. Little Jon however was good at figures, but that exacting science did not fit his style. His mommy, knowing his quirks suggested that he should study economics. There he could use math, yet twist that exacting science to fit any of the various philosophies of economics. Little Jon rebelled at absolutes, and economics was just perfect for him, plus that gave him the opportunity to disagree with just everyone around him, and back it up with facts, no matter how distorted they may be. Knowing that liers figure, and figures lie, Jon enjoyed that, and made a life’s mission out of confusion, and denial. He happily would spend his final years in proseletyzing his world view to others.

    2. Quoting scripture at people who you acknowledge don’t put much stock in it is not a winning tactic. There’s a job for you in the Bishop’s marketing department.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        Sea; What then is your position of an Atheist selectively using Scripture out of context as an argumentative tool against Christianity? Although I haven’t seen this done here that I can remember, I have seen this done quite often on other web-sites.

        1. If the idea in doing it is to illustrate that your opponent is also selectively reading the text then I think it’s a powerful debating tool. Using such tactics to illustrate that the Word is not quite as black and white as some would like it to be is fair. No one has a monopoly on the text and anyone who claims to should be met with suspicion.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            especially if one side of the discussion completly denies the validity of any Scripture. Kind of like going to a gunfight with a knife. A very slick way of attempting to disarm the opponent.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            Your complaint is why I very very seldom quote Scripture. It is generally useless with those who deny it. It is however impossible to eliminate it entirely because some of the common phrases in our language have their basis in Hebrasisms or Scripture.

        2. I’d also say that there are loads of athiests who appreciate religious texts of all sorts as literature. Many see them as great pieces of literature. Pieces of literature. Useful, valuable, instructive texts. Just not the divine word of anyone or anything.

          When it comes to the good book you don’t have throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can reject the idea that its divinely inspired yet still derive value from its words. And, yes, construct arguements from it and about it.

  5. billybones

    ok, so i have a question that i have wanted to ask for a long time. Perhaps Mr. Lindgren would indulge me, as he seems willing to indulge discussion, which is all to absent on either side of the question. Are there absolutes, or is right and wrong relative?

    1. billybones 9:09 Thanks for commenting. If you are convicted of 1st Degree murder, it’s a crime, absolutely. Same for raping a child. Those things don’t seem to ever change. Now, I’ve written about how “sin” has changed. The sins that were important in my childhood, working in farm fields on Sunday and playing cards, have changed. They are no longer “sins”.

  6. billybones

    Just clarifying then, you don’t subscribe to moral relativism. That is, you believe that there are moral absolutes irregardless of whether you come at it from an atheist standpoint or a religious stand point, right? What I am getting at is that you as an atheist and i as a believer, probably van, on the basis of morality, find some things that we consider absolute, and share common ground.

    1. billy 4:34 It seems to me our laws have absolutes, murder, robbery etc. Then, there are absolutes in the way we treat each other. I would guess you and I would see most such things the same way.