Atheism and Beyond – The Triple Advocate

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One of the biggest challenges of my semester so far has been waking up on time for Sunday morning church. When my absence does not affect my grade, my laziness becomes apparent. However, a few weeks ago my motivator was my local church’s book study series. We were reviewing one of my favorites: the Romans.

The series was delivered exegetically, with the pastor going through small sections of each chapter by sermon. That morning he preached about the role of sin in Romans 1: 24-32, as much of the chosen section listed various offenses against God and other consequences of their debasement. However, the sermon began with verses 24-25: creature rather than the Creator ”(NRSV). Naturally, the pastor moved to a rejection of materialistic atheism. For my better memory, he asserted that atheism is irrational because it declares humans as mere masses of chemicals with no explanation for love or heroism, comparing this train of thought with the idea that “them humans are simply pieces of living meat ”. Unlike my brothers and sisters in Christ in the pews around me, I was taken aback.

Before going deeper into my point of view, I want to make it clear that I am a woman of faith. I adhere to Scripture and Christian doctrine, and I assert that atheistic thinking is irrational. However, what I deny – and what caught me off guard at the time – is the occasional simplification of atheism and the spirits that both contribute to and maintain this belief. Yes, atheism is illogical, but this hardly suggests that Christians are free to dismiss these human beings also created in the image of God as a bunch of idiots who do not believe in love, justice. or morality.

This does not mean that there are no atheists who renounce love, justice and morals. Famous among atheist philosophers is Friedrich Nietzsche, who argued for the death of the Christian God and the reign of nihilism in his stead. Nietzsche’s nihilist ideas advocated the destruction of traditional moral values, equating them with slavery, and the replacement of morality with the will to power. In the field of philosophy, Nietzsche has been called “the father of atheistic existentialism” because of his passionate hatred for Christianity. Probably, this title and the general end of Nietzsche’s views associate Nietzschean thought with atheism. Christians used Nietzsche to generalize atheism, fighting the belief system in a sermon that was triumphant like a straw man – easy to bring down with a verse or two from the Bible.

Although Nietzsche remains widespread in the school of atheism, not all atheists subscribe to his thinking. In fact, many atheist philosophers of the past and present have made fantastic contributions to both society and humanity. These include John Dewey, the educational reformer responsible for Dewey’s decimal classification, Simone de Beauvoir, famous feminist and activist, BF Skinner, advocate of behaviorism and father of operant conditioning, and Auguste Comte, father of positivism and first philosopher of science.

Simply put, not all atheists deny the existence of love, justice, or morality. Christians have simply used the traditional American attack of simplifying an argument or a group of people they don’t like into a compressed set of wacky ideas to ridicule and then use as a justification for cruelty. As a major in Intercultural Studies, this is what turns me off the most about this approach to atheism. It contains horrific similarities to the rationale for racism within Western imperialism. By reducing the inhabitants of the colonized territories to simple-minded savages, the colonization and subsequent westernization of these groups of people has been beneficial. They needed civilization, after all. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this comparison is that Christianity participated in this worldview, causing its fair share of irreversible damage. For generations, missionaries worked side by side with the colonizers, joining their ranks. Imperialism coincided perfectly with the scope of Christendom. The “culture”, the “civilization” brought to the east and south of the world also included Christianity.

Why must Christianity pompously descend upon those who have not been touched by its light? Did not Christ himself walk on earth in the poor and filthy form of those he loves?

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