Intelligent quote of the Day by Neotherm

What is the difference between a nominal Christian and an atheist. On a clear day, with good light, they look very much the same. Other than some peripheral academic ruminations on the existence of a god of some sort, their practical lives are startlingly similar.

Both have very little commitment to a belief system. Nominal Christians really know very little about Christianity and very little about the Bible. Just as atheists seem to know very little about the deeper implications of atheism. One atheist contributor to this blog apparently has never heard about the connection between atheism and moral nihilism (go to Wikipedia and find the article on “atheism” and click on the link for “moral nihilism”), got a simplistic and inadequate definition of nihilism from a dictionary (one of HWA’s favorite exegetical techniques) and then cluelessly asserted that I was “ignorant”.

Nominal Christians claim they believe in God but behave as if they did not. In pragmatic daily life, this places them very near to atheistic point on the spectrum. Atheists claim they do not believe in God but then inexplicably demonstrate a predilection for broadly accepted morality, which, like nominal Christians, they are willing to violate without conscience if a practical need arises. (The easily made observation that humans are the only creatures on the planet that moralize seems to be totally lost on them — something that Dawkins, with his fertile and sometimes droll imagination, has yet to explain.) The combined effect is to make nominal Christians and atheists neighbors, not at the level of philosophical cosmetics, maybe, but pragmatically.

And, of course, both like to practice a little religious behavior when it suits them. On Sunday for the nominal Christians and in debate for atheists. It usually amounts to a sanctimonious dedication to principle and commitment to a noble cause even in the face of persecution, etc. Like the wish expressed here that all the atheists would come out of the closet. In our society this would be the biggest non-event in history. After all, our science lecture rooms at every level of education are already dominated by atheistic teaching. But its nice to pretend, I guess. Makes you feel religious.

If there were a zoo dedicated to all the species of non-believers, I think the habitats for atheists and nonimal Christians would be right next to eachother. Maybe for the typical zoo-goer the markings on the two species would be so similar, an astute and experienced guide would have to point out the subtle and inapparent distinctions.


4 thoughts on “Intelligent quote of the Day by Neotherm

  1. Amazingly enough, Herbert Armstrong founded a cult system which produced both nominal Christians and atheists alike. Furthermore, the actual practices of those remaining with the WCG differs little from the xCGs, except for the colorful metaphors they use in the shouting.

    Most Armstrongists are only there for vacation planning and little else. The bridge between belief and practice has been thoroughly burned through compartmentalization.

  2. ((Amazingly enough, Herbert Armstrong founded a cult system which produced both nominal Christians and atheists alike.))

    …also produced those who are religious in deed and creed but are very fearful and suspicious of ALL “organized” religion.

  3. ft–

    you’ve made some generalized conclusions about atheists, and i’m wondering how, n your experience with atheists, you arrived at them.

    are you interested in unpacking these conclusions with me, or are you content with your current thinking?


    scott gray

  4. Welcome aboard Scott. To clarify this is Neotherm’s point of view above. I might not agree with everything else he may say, I just felt he made a good point. That’s the purpose of the quote of the day posts—it’s not to necessarily agree with that person’s totally view but to complement someone (and anyone) who makes a darn good point. Look at my post called “Need A Good Laugh?” That clip was made by an atheist and I felt it was funny and he had a point. An apparant ultra-conservative Catholic (I think I can safely safely say that until prove otherwise) responded and was not amuzed. I cannot and believe you me WON’T please everybody.

    ((are you interested in unpacking these conclusions with me, or are you content with your current thinking?))

    Look at my new post called “New Links”. I already mentioned that atheists are not a monolithic group. My problem are the more millitant or New Atheists. Frankly I do not care if you are a Radical Islamist or a New Atheist. If you do not care for my respect—but desire only for my submission…Houston we have a problem!

    I hope this helps.

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