Thursday, November 03, 2005

To the Christian Left

    There has been much discussion recently on atheist blogs regarding the need for progressive christians and atheists to work together and put aside our differences in order to stop the dangerous path that we are now following as a country because of right-wing "compassionate" "conservatism".

     Can this be done, or are we too divided to really work together? In my opinion I think it's the former. So what exactly are our differences? Let's're a Christian and I'm an atheist. You believe in God, Jesus, and the gang, and I think they are simply fables invented by men to control the people. So that's one difference, but I don't know of many more. It seems as though we have many more things in common than we do that are different. We both despise bigotry, unfairness, corruption, war, lies, the assault on intellectualism and science, and policies that benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. We probably like the same foods, enjoy watching the same TV shows, enjoy being with family and friends, and want the same basic things for our life, namely happiness and a sense of accomplishment when we die. We're both humans who are concerned about the direction that we are heading, and I think that our ideas of the best direction are more similar than they are different.

    And besides, why should we be at each other's throats? Neither of us are in power and are making any decisions at the moment.

    So how can we work together? Well, I think we need a good discussion on this, how we can take back America. For one, I think it's important for us both to not let the hot-button issues control our voting patterns, which is exactly what the right wants us to do. But to be honest, I don't think we'd be all too different on these hot-button issues. Most progressive christians I know approve of gay marriage, separation of church and state, and many are pro-choice. Like I said before, I don't think we're that different politically. But I think that we need to downplay the one difference that we have that could make it difficult for us to work together, and this means to be watchful of what we say. Negative comments about each other will not help us steer this country in the right direction. An example of this on the christian side is an article that I saw today called Is President Bush an Atheist?. I actually have mixed feelings about this article. I like the fact that it's a powerful message that might sway christians on the right, but it does so at the expense of atheists. If there were some justification for calling Bush an atheist, that'd be one thing. All atheists aren't good of course, but to identify someone as an atheist because you think they are selfish and whatnot is grossly unfair. Bush is still christian, he just has a different interpretation of what the bible says. I didn't look for an unfair christian characterization by an atheist, but I'm sure they happen, and atheists should be careful of this as well.

     For atheists who read this and want to check out the progressive christian camp, you could go check out Crossleft, whose founder recently posted on vjack's blog Atheist Revolution. She's a christian but her fiance is an atheist, so I figure a group led by someone like her is most likely to be able to bring us together. There may be other great christian left groups out there as well that we should look into.

    For the christians out there, who do you think makes the most sense for you to be allied with? Someone who professes to be a christian but doesn't appear to care at all about your interpretation of what the bible teaches, or someone who simply doesn't believe in jesus but otherwise has the same views that you have. And again for the atheists, I think that we can agree that religion is what the believers make it. Those who are intolerant of homosexuals will find anti-homosexual lessons in the bible (which there definitely are) while those who were raised better will focus on the lessons of tolerance. People who are intelligent and are, for lack of a better term, "good people", will find lessons in the bible to match what they believe. As George Bernard Shaw once said,"No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means". So I think that we can definitely find much common ground with the christian left.

     In any case, I think it's time we both put aside our differences, celebrate our common humanity, and work together to make this world a better place.


Anonymous said...

excellent blog, I really liked what you said about what we do have in common, I am not a christian or atheist, I am a former catholic converted to judaism. So I have lots of opinions on the subject - you can see my blog and you'll see what I am talking about. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Keep up the good blog!!!

vjack said...

Great post (as always). You raise some excellent points, and I agree 100% that most progressive Christians are good people with whom we have way more in common than we typically recognize. I particularly like your suggestion about avoiding the hot-button issues, as this is something I've been thinking about lately too.

Tim said...

You, sir, are a breath of fresh air. I'd been wondering if there were many that thought as I do, being an atheist myself, and now I know that there are. :)

Anonymous said...

well thought out commentary and right on the money... If we are truly going to work towards a more tolerant nation, its going to take effort on the part of ALL, whatever your views on religion, to be more tolerant personally. And not only tolerance for those who share progressive beliefs, but also and maybe Especially tolerance for those who we are in complete disagreement with.

Michael Cunningham said...

You might go out a visit progressive/liberal christian blogs and bring up these points:

Christian Alliance for Progress (

The Center for Progressive Christianity (

I brought up these groups on my blog, which is nowhere near as good as yours and vjacks by the way, based on an article I read in the Dallas Morning News (
Registration is required.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great to work with christians in taking back our country. However, wouldn't you agree that human nature being what it is and that we will always fight to protect what we believe, that inevitably we will end up fighting these christians when we reach that fork in the road where a crucial issue is at stake and we cannot see eye to eye?

Delta said...

However, wouldn't you agree that human nature being what it is and that we will always fight to protect what we believe, that inevitably we will end up fighting these christians when we reach that fork in the road where a crucial issue is at stake and we cannot see eye to eye?

There will always be disagreements, but like I said, I think our similarities outnumber our differences, and I think there's plenty of other problems in the world that we could focus on before fighting each other to death. Most liberal christians that I know aren't really much of christians at all. They're basically just liberals who call themselves christian when someone asks them. Now this doesn't apply to all for sure, but maybe to a decent fraction.