Christian pop culture through the eyes of a radical housewife and part time atheist, Miss Poppy Hussein Dixon. Online since 1995. Stop by every day for the latest in Christian crime, intimidation, fraud, and foolishness.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

21% of Atheists Believe in God?

christian atheists
Sam Harris, the author of Letter to a Christian Nation, is over at the Washington Post trying to make sense of a recent Pew survey which found that 21% of US atheists believe in God.

Harris suggests there may be a "schism in the atheist community." First, what atheist community? Second, how can there be a schism when there are no unifying principles?

The Romans considered early Christians to be atheists because they didn't believe in the Roman gods. Atheism can be, therefore, god or doctrine specific. Evangelicals in America don't consider Christians to be true Christians unless they are against the civil rights of women (abortion) and gay people. It shouldn't be surprising that some people find themselves labeled atheists by others even though they do believe in some sort of supernatural entity interested in their well being. It also shouldn't be surprising that believers labeled as atheists might be honest enough to identify themselves as not true believers, or atheists.

Adding to the confusion over atheism are Christians who work hard to position atheism as a faith or religion in the same category as Christianity - a sort of belief that there is no god. This sets up a popular notion that atheism has unifying principles, rather than a lack of them. In other words, how faithful do you have to be, and to what, to remain an atheist? If an atheist prays for a winning lotto ticket are they no longer an atheist? Can you not be a jack atheist? a lapsed or backsliding atheist? If you occasionally question atheism are you not a true atheist?

There are probably as many kinds of atheism as there are atheists. I self identify as atheist, non theist, antitheist, and a growing favorite - apatheist, depending on my mood. But I also consider myself a Christian because it is the faith into which I was born.


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