Christians Coming To Think Like Atheists.

I know many Christians see themselves as firmly grounded in the Bible, and, the Bible as the firmly grounded truth handed down from God (or some variation of this).  Looking at it from the outside, however, it appears  to change to fit the contemporary culture.

One of the areas where change is afoot is the concept of “heaven”.  The April 16th issue of Time reviewed several scholars including New Testament scholar, N. T. Wright, a former Anglican bishop in England.  He thinks the Bible’s message describes heaven as being located here on earth, after the Almighty returns.  All the wrongs will be made right.  Heaven is not a separate place.

Thus, the task of believers is to start preparing by making things right now.  While the scholar, Wright, is definitely a believer, and would not claim to be anywhere close to unbelievers, his view seems not far from that of Freethinkers.

Most Freethinkers feel their responsibility is to make the here and now better.  They would not agree they are preparing for the coming of some spiritual being, but are preparing the world for future generations.

The Time article runs through the many concepts of heaven and the afterlife believed by Christians over time.  Slaves waited for the chariot to take them from their misery. Billy Graham says it will even better than our current affluent life here.

Atheists seem not to have changed as much as Christians–but the revised view of “heaven” by Christians is one I like.


32 Responses

  1. entech

    Thought instead of blind faith would be a start. Doesn’t have to be your free thought or anything like it, just a little for a start. 💡

    1. entech 11:18 So far as I can tell, there are only a handfull of theories on what heaven is at any given time in history. Great paintings made some concepts popular, great orators, others. The faith might become even more popular if heathens were offered a menu choices all the time. If one found a selection that really apealled, another soul saved.

  2. Henry

    “Most Freethinkers feel their responsibility is to make the here and now better.

    Keep sorting those tax-deductable expired cans. Good clean work.

    “They would not agree they are preparing for the coming of some spiritual being, but are preparing the world for future generations.”

    An endorsement of works-based theology.

    1. Henry 1:59 “Keep sorting those tax-deducable expired cans.”

      Are you the one giving all those tax-deductable expired cans to the Fargo-Moorhead Emergency Food Pantry? 🙂

      (You can’t imagine the stuff people bring there, opened stuff, cans with bulging tops, sthff that is five-ten years out of date. Cans and jars not bulging and up to one year past the “use by” date are used anyway. Older is off to the dumpster. Volunteers spend a lot of time hauling to the dumpster.)

      1. Henry

        No. It is the Y2K’ers replenishing and freshening their stocks. Great scheme.

        Here is a suggestion for the liberal mind. The government at times gives away clean needles to people to compensate for their bad behavior, keeping them as healthy as possible. This concept is heartily embraced by liberals. With your “can” dilemna, why not mark a separate dumpster for use for those with bad behavior who give you expired cans? Give them what they want, a tax deduction record. Save yourself some work. A win-win.

        1. Henry 3:05 Some stuff is brought in by small shops who maybe know how far out of date their stuff is and giving them their tax deduction while they throw it in the dumpster would be a real time saver. But, if they are not sure which is six months out of date (useable) and which is a year and a half, they don’t want to read the tiny print and sort–they want old people with bad eyes to sort them.

          A lot of stuff in brought in when homes are cleared out by relatives of the dead or move-to-the-nursing home. They don’t want a tax deduction nor look at any cans–just throw it in boxes to get rid of it. Can’t blame them, I’ve done that miserable job a couple of times. But, invariably the kitchens of old folks have stuff several years old and sometimes most of it has to be pitched–after much time sorting.

          The people who volunteer there a lot have a sixth sense about cans–sort of can PhD’s. They seem know by feel or color fade when a can is old and move along quite fast with the sorting.

          1. entech

            Does that actually happen, tax credits for charity, bad as tax exceptions for religions?
            A problem in Australia is with used clothing, donations are sorted some is sold for industrial cleaning rags, some goes overseas to poor countries and some is sold locally in Charity Outlets or Opportunity Shops – the problem is so much unusable stuff is knowingly put at collection sites, used as a rubbish dump – disgusting behaviour.

            The only donations that get a tax credit are cash donations to registered charities and a receipt is required. I think even this wrong, I was taught that anonymity is the true spirit of philanthropy.

          2. entech “ credits for charity, bad as tax exceptions for religions?”

            In the U. S. there is an entire industry devoted to getting special favors into the tax code. In the case of out-of-date food, a simplified version would work like this. A store pays $100 for some food. It sits on the shelf until past it’s “use by” date. It would have sold for $200. Thus, its “value” could be said to be $200. It takes the food, or calls to have it picked up by volunteers, to the food pantry and gets a receipt for a donation of $200. If its profits are taxed at 50%, it has recovered its costs. It’s crazy, but the entire system is set up this way and it more or less works OK.

            Interesting experiences volunteering there. I delivered a bag of food to an Iraq war Veteran. He lived in a dumpy old motel in Moorhead, MN, our city next door. He was a tall, young, strapping looking guy, but his face was covered. He had some kind of medical jump suit over his whole body, all from burns someone told me. Had no car, no way to cook–just lived in that room I guess.

            Once we got some about 500 pounds of chicken breasts that had been frozen, accidently thawed, then refrozen. They had ozed into flat frozen messes about 3 feet square. We tried to chop them apart, hand saw, but nothing worked. Finally, we found a butcher with a band saw who sawed them into smaller squares. People were glad to get them. I didn’t want to look at chicken for a while.

  3. entech

    Fascinating interpretation, the word atheist does not appear once on the entire page. It doses say up to 85% of youth are leaving the churches and many will not return. The implication I would draw is that the churches are driving them away the only thing atheism has to offer is a different way of thinking. From my viewpoint this can only be a good thing, they don’t have to accept the non belief position but if they go back to the church hopefully they will have better insights and attitudes, good guys like Stan instead of people like Opinionated (who thankfully hasn’t been seen for a while).

      1. Michael 5:51 “Humanist and atheist are interchangable terms.”

        To a believer, this would seem to be the case. Just like, to an unbeliever Catholics and Prostestants are the same thing, and, even the Hindu faith is about the same practice, worshipping invisible beings.

        Humanists and atheists have different organizations. Humanists focus on the ability of humans to figure things out. Atheists focus on the lack of evidence there are invisible beings. Not that different, not exactly the same either.

      2. entech

        Looked again and found it ” … borrowed from humanistic philosophies. They should stop borrowing things from “Atheists” if they don’t like the result.

        Personally I think most would be better off if they actually adopted some things.

  4. Bob

    Younger people are getting it, there’s no place for the Abrahamic texts to fit into their video games, online videos, and tech/science worlds. You can’t take bronze age thinking and force it on a group of people who have their heads in the internet age.
    Man…religion is swiftly drawing to a close.
    Get over it faithheads.

    1. Henry

      “Younger people are getting it, there’s no place for the Abrahamic texts to fit into their video games, online videos, and tech/science worlds.”

      ALL young people I have ran into with a dispute with church do not have a problem with theology (Abrahamic texts). Some denominations may have that problem where the young people have a problem with theology. The differences I have seen are more due to personality conflicts and beefs with administration and polity.

      1. loki

        AND—poor theological instruction ! Many complaints are based on poor theological understanding. Good catechesis would go a long way in solving the misunderstanding and complaints.

        1. Henry

          That would be nice. Unfortunately, some of the many-yeared catechumens with post-secondary study do much murmering, as an example. Proper application of good catechesis is the key.

  5. Bob

    Wish thinking on your part Henry 2:23, unfortunately for you, not reality.

    Thank goodness and good reasoning, what you state, is simple not true.

    1. Henry

      Are you me?

      Let me repeat so you can slowly read:
      ALL young people I have ran into with a dispute with church do not have a problem with theology (Abrahamic texts).

      1. entech

        What percentage of the youth of America or even your local area have you “ran” into.
        Hope you weren’t driving your car when you ran into them, but of course you wouldn’t drive a car – after all the world is not old enough for all those dear carcases and forests to have turned into oil.

        1. Henry

          With the oil encapsulated below the surface of precambrian? Let me guess, the “dear” pawed their way down below the surface of precambrian before they died. That explains it.

  6. Bob

    And…whether or not you believe in an afterlife, it just makes sense to make this life, the one we know FOR SURE, we have, as wonderful as possible. And help each other also, so other people enjoy this life too. I think this is besides the point if you believe in an afterlife or not.

    1. Stan

      And that is what many of us do. With every smile and act of kindness. Does it matter to you if someone comes to Christ if it helps them live a more comfortable and happier life, without necessarily changing the actual circumstances of that life?

  7. Bob

    Unless it treads on my individual life, which, unfortunately, religion like government, does do all the time. 🙁

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