Why I am not anti-theist

by Neil Rickert

It is almost 50 years since I dumped religion.  Yet, somehow, I don’t have any urge to be anti-theist.  Take this statement from a recent blog post:

My faith is important to me. My faith is beautiful and meaningful to me. Christian community is important to me.

How can I object to that?  It is the sincere view of “Former Conservative”, the moniker used by the blogger.  I support freedom of speech, and I support freedom of people to make their own choices for their lives.  There is nothing there for me to be “anti”.

Former Conservative goes on to say:

Yesterday was the result of your twisting Christianity for power and political advancement. It made Christianity into something vindictive and ugly. I detest what you’ve done to my religion. After yesterday though I’m afraid that I may be in the minority and that is very depressing to me.

He is criticizing the Republican party for the way that they have distorted religion.

Or why should I object when James McGrath, who identifies himself as a progressive Christian, makes a post on his blog with the title “Young-Earth Creationism is a Cult.”  And he has a number of other good posts on his blog, today.  McGrath gets it.  He understands that if God is creator (as he presumably believes), then science tells us the how of creation.  He accepts evolutionary biology.

Or take another post, “David Brody says tea party isn’t ‘far-right,’ just ‘constitutional’” which is just dripping with the kind of sarcasm I expect from PZ Myers.

I am not anti-theist, because there are many fine people who are progressive theists.  While I don’t share their theism, it is not up to me to dictate their beliefs.  But there is much that I do share with them, including an understanding of the importance of a secular state and an understanding of the value of science.

[I started this post almost 6 hours ago.  A power failure, due to storms, interrupted things.  I saved as a draft, running on the UPS, before shutting down the computer.  I had planned to write more than above, but the long hiatus interrupted my train of thought.]


2 Comments to “Why I am not anti-theist”

  1. I could actually agree with the idea that faith is beautiful at times, because it gives people a sense of hope and community that is unmatched in the atheist community.


    • My sense of hope and community comes from being part of a university faculty. It is better than any I experienced back when I was a theist. I would guess that where one gets that sense varies from person to person, depending on the kind of life that they live.

      I suppose that the sense of community for university faculty comes from working together on a common humanitarian problem (that of educating our students), and I guess there is something analogous their with what unites a faith community.

      Incidentally, I have no idea about the religious views of most of my faculty colleagues. That just isn’t part of normal discussion.


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