June 24, 2013

Atheist Churches

Church without God - By Design
By Dan Merica, CNN 
June 21, 2013

Boston (CNN)-– It’s Sunday in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a rapt congregation listens to a chaplain preach about the importance of building a community.

A few dozen people sit quietly for the hour long service. Music is played, announcements are made and scholars wax poetic about the importance of compassion and community.

Outsiders could be forgiven for believing this service, with its homilies, its passing of the plate, its uplifting songs, belongs in a church.

If so, it’s a church without one big player: God.

Andy's Commentary:

I have repeatedly stated that I was not going to become either political or do cultural commentary on SoulJournaler but the absurdity of the world is becoming so pronounced someone needs to at least comment on the lunacy. I have volunteered myself as I tend towards being vocal. I will back my positions with Scripture (as I always have). I obviously cannot and will not be commenting on all the absurd things going on, only select ones since there is just too much nutty stuff to write about. 

The concept of Church is a rather simple concept for a Christian, most are raised with it since youth. No Gospel, no church. Of course an atheist or the non-spiritual will never grasp that. They will embrace the wisdom of the world and find God's wisdom (in the Gospel) foolishness (1 Corinthians 1-2). What this "belief" blog from CNN literally describes is a poor mockery of a true church. A church proper or Christian Church is a church that preaches Christ Crucified, Christ Buried and Christ Resurrected the third day in accord with Scripture. 

Acts 2:22-24 ~ “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ~ For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

The premises behind this article that atheists can be "good" in the truest sense of the word is ridiculous as they have no transcendent moral absolute to appeal to without God. Just as morality with no moral absolute is not morality. Atheists are incapable of good as they have no objective basis for it. Their goodness is therefore only relative based on a posteriori premises and empirical/naturalistic sources.

They worship themselves by worshiping their own ideas and their own images. I believe it is what the Old Testament called abominable practices that are hateful to and of God. No different than building a golden calf, building a high place in the desert, a shrine to Molech or erecting an Ashtaroth pole.

The only thing positive for the culture that will come out of this farce is that it will expose Atheism for the religion it is. Yes, you heard me correctly. Atheism is a religion. It is a belief system or a religion of no God. A religion being defined as a set of beliefs that dictate a person’s worldview that can include the following characteristics: A material dimension/aspect, ritual/rituals, ethics/virtue, doctrinal beliefs of philosophies, a social dimension, a logical basis and a narrative or meta-narrative.

Therefore, Atheism is not just the lack of belief in a god, but the outright assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. It indeed is a philosophy of no God. Atheists in in essence are worshipers of metaphysical naturalism or empiricism. They make overarching claims to things they cannot know for certain…therefore they can only arrive at their conclusions through (imagine this)…a faith or belief in something not provable from their standpoint! 

My guess as to why these "churches" are trending or becoming more popular is because they are inclusive and make no demands of attendants. They are not confronted with their sin and are accepted as-is with no expectations.

There are other belief systems that mimic the tenants of the Atheist religion to lesser extent including Buddhism and the Samkhya and the Mimamsa schools of Hinduism that fit nicely into some of these descriptions too. In ancient Hellenistic or Greek culture, Sophists and Epicureans frequently challenged a belief in the idea of a God or gods and divine action in the world.

Regardless of what people want to believe, the Bible has been clear for centuries and millennium. Great societies and cultures rise and fall but the truth of the Bible outlasts them all. Sorry folks, you can't get their from here without the Bible or God. This sentiment (or lack of it) is embodied best by the comment from one of the "faithful" atheists in the article
“I don't believe in a great power to say thank you to,” Segal sings. “But that won’t take away from my gratitude.”
This secular "psalm" is so ridiculous as to be absurd (reductio ad absurdum). It obviously begs the question: Gratitude for what and to whom? Nothing?

You're welcome to comment...


Mel Thompson said...

Thanks for revealing your heart--living inside out! 1 Corinthians says that the "natural, nonspiritual man" does not accept or welcome or admit the gifts, teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; incapable of knowing them..." (1 Corinthians 2:14). "But the spiritual man..." (verse 15; "...we have the mind of Christ" (verse 16).

Andy Pierson said...

Your examination of 1 Corinthians is quite correct Mel. Thanks for the comment. I struggle with not being snarky and using overly biting sarcasm in some of my posts but the absolute absurdity of things I see in the world today defies description. Yet people are at a loss most times trying to figure out why things are so messed up. It's simple really. Man leaves God, God leaves man and man is left with his own sinful reprobate nature to guide him (Romans 1). It is the biblical recipe for disaster personally, communally and nationally.

Alan Nixon said...

"The premises behind this article that atheists can be "good" in the truest sense of the word is ridiculous as they have no transcendent moral absolute to appeal to without God."

The evidence is against you. Atheists prove you wrong every day. This is not just anecdotal either, there has been recent research that finds atheists are either as moral or more moral than people that self identify as Christian. Other research finds that people raised by atheist parents have nearly exactly the same moral ideas as those raised by Christian parents. Morals in the atheist case are usually based on 'The Golden Rule'. The golden rule exists in virtually all religions and the Christian version is not the oldest, but is often expressed in Christianity as "Do to others what you would have done to you" (Matthew 7:12). Societies themselves also create morals and any cross-cultural study will show you how they vary yet remain oddly similar across cultures. The similarity can be explained by 2 intertwined factors, that we are a primate that lives in large groups. All group living animals have codes of conduct that allow them to live together in relative harmony. There is also a lot of evidence to suggest that fairness and morality exist in our animal ancestors (definitely in primates). Since atheists often believe (based on scientific evidence) that we are related to all animals (how cool is that!), atheists have every right to believe that they have an evolved morality available to them. There are many foundations for atheist morality, but none of them are your God.

Alan Nixon said...

"They worship themselves by worshiping their own ideas and their own images."

You fail to see the larger scaffolding that most atheists understand themselves to exist within. We cannot exist without the Earth, its animals, plants and the stars that originally gave birth to our atoms. We are one with the Universe. We are embedded at that level, but also within a society, which we cannot live without. We cannot choose to do whatever we want because we are part of something bigger. We can hurt others who we reside with. It is nearly impossible to worship oneself once you realise this. God is just a poor reflection of a truly amazing reality. The truth is much more binding. We are truly a part of this universe and there are consequences to our actions far bigger than pissing off a God that we can't even be sure exists.

Alan Nixon said...

"This secular "psalm" is so ridiculous as to be absurd (reductio ad absurdum). It obviously begs the question: Gratitude for what and to whom? Nothing?"

I think my other posts have been clear on why this is a ridiculous statement. We live in a universe that is just as amazing and interconnected without God. There are many things to be thankful for. Like my birth, great society (Australian), excellent parents, wonderful relatives, supportive partner, education, food, clothing, and all of the wonderful humans that produced these products and societies so that I can live in comfort. I could thank the billions of animal ancestors that preceded me, the placement of the earth (a happy accident) and much much more, in fact the list could go on forever........

Andy Pierson said...


As much as you seem like a nice person and are come across articulate and non-hostile in your approach, debating this issue with you is pointless. The first two comments in the comments section point to the very thing that you have done by arguing your atheistic position in light of them. The truth of these posts has been exemplified in your behavior and this point seems to have evaded you completely. It is because your atheistic presuppositions/bias prevent you from understanding it correctly. You have literally proved Mel’s comment correct.
I have attempted theist/atheist debates in the past via FB and blog posts and frankly, it requires way too much effort and it turns into a book. From your post I glean that, among other things you subscribe to macro evolution, uniformitarianism. You also subscribe to explicit biblical historicity also. Whether you’ll admit to that is another story. In other words you view the myth of the Bible and its interaction with history as more genealogical than chronological. Your assumption that the golden rule predates the Semitic tribes of the middle east that wrote the Bible assumes the God of the Bible and His principles only entered time and space at that point as figment of a Semitic tribesmen’s imagination.
If God is infinite and timeless, this would not be the case. Would it? It means God chose to enter history at that point and record it in written from through Moses. It doesn’t necessarily mean it was the first time he entered space and time, was it? (Read Genesis). But you don’t believe that do you? You are also assuming that because ideas similar to the Golden rule were not written down until the time of Moses in the Pentateuch, that is the first time they are thought of. This is a fallacy of composition based on what you believe is your complete or correct knowledge of the Bible …and you are clearly in error assuming things about the Christian/Jewish faith. I could go on ad nauseum but it is clear we have nothing meaningful that we will see eye-to-eye on.
I believe it will suffice to say that when your presuppositions are flawed, so too are you conclusions. It is also clear that both your presuppositions and mine will prevent us from ever having meaningful commonality to agree upon. What I do find amusing is that the system of the world so dead set against a theistic view found this blog post on such an insignificant blog so fast. Apparently it pushed the correct buttons.
The purpose of my blog is to exhort Christians in their faith, not argue with people that deny it, so you will understand if I do not respond to you anymore. I have spoken volumes on atheism, agnosticism and other religions and how their underlying premises philosophically and logically are flawed in the past on this blog. You are welcome to go back and read them.


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