Christian vs. Atheist/Agnostic world views

Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by fowl intent, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. fowl intent

    fowl intent Banned

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    I read something the other day that struck a chord, and put a lot of things in perspective. The article was actually contrasting the world views of the "average" Republican (a majority of whom are Christians, many evangelical/fundamentalist) vs. the "average" Democrat (many of whom are atheist/agnostic). While I don't necessarily accept these generalizations, because there are Atheist Republicans and Christian Democrats, I think it is actually a very legitimate observation of the contrast between evangelical/fundamentalist Christian and atheist/agnostic world views.

    The article posited that the evangelical/fundamentalist Christian world view believes that humans are born into this world as flawed beings, prone to sin and evil and cursed to a pain filled life and eternal damnation. They can only be "saved" from this natural state of sin and evil by accepting their particular savior and following the dictates of their particular ancient book. Their outlook tends to focus on the bad in themselves and in other people, and how to induce or force them to change those things. They tend to be very concerned with having a strong military, not just for defense, but to exert dominion over the rest of the world; they tend to advocate longer prison sentences for criminal offenders and overwhelmingly support the death sentence, often advocating it for much less serious offenses than it is now applied to. They want the government to control what they perceive as sinful behavior of the populace (think sodomy laws, blue laws, prohibition in the past; gay marriage, bathroom laws, abortion in the present), regardless of whether it conflicts with the Constitution or its interpretation by the Supreme Court. They tend to want the government to protect their ability to accumulate wealth, but to keep its hands off of the sacrosanct free market system.

    Atheists/agnostics on the other hand, many of whom are Humanists, believe that humans are born into this world innocent, good and with the full potential of human beings. They tend to focus on the good in people and their potential as humans, and encouraging and protecting the individuals right to develop that potential. They tend to look at our criminal justice system, and want to put more emphasis on rehabilitation and not so much on punishment/retribution. They tend to believe that the death penalty is wrong, not because some crimes don't demand it, but because of the potential of error, and the history of the harshest penalty being used primarily for minorities and the indigent. They want the government to protect the rights of those who don't look like or believe like the majority and those who don't necessarily adopt the "traditional" life style. They tend to believe the government's role is to ensure fairness in the economic arena.

    I realize these are generalizations, and I realize they are not 100% accurate and that any one individual may not fit these patterns. But I think overall it is a pretty accurate assessment of the differences between two world views. Kind of a glass half empty vs. a glass half full analogy.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Dave514

    Dave514

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    Not the worst generalization I've ever seen. Though the application of political party to religious belief probably has more margin for error than anything. What percentage of Democrats are Christians? Statistically, most are. And historically, the Democratic party was the party of the Fundamentalist Christian until the last 60 years.

    As a non believer who is also a Republican and doesn't think people are (as a whole) born inherently bad or good but have innate traits that are subject to the nurture (or lack thereof) of their environment....I guess I don't fit in any majority demographic.
     
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  3. ziggy2525

    ziggy2525

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    I think Christianity broadly has two dimensions.

    1) Their claim about the nature and divinity of God. From what I can tell, the Roman's solidified that idea in the 2nd century.

    2) A moral code based on their interpretation of the Bible. Over time, this has been all over the map, swinging from conservative to liberal and back again, over and over.

    If you look at the morality aspect, today we have "conservative Christians" that don't support social services but are big on punitive justice. For the last few years, churches are considered to be the most segregated buildings in most towns. Most churches today are inexpensive social clubs as well as places for businessman and politicians to make contacts.

    From the 40's to the 70's, churches were at the forefront of real social justice (not SJW crap). They were on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement. They were at the forefront supporting equal judicial protection. They had missions to feed the hungry and help the homeless. Very Jesus like.

    In the 1700's and 1800's, Christians in the South supported Slavery and Christians in the North ran the Underground Railroad.

    In the 1600's, Christians were burning people at the stake if they thought they were witches.

    Like I said, their moral code has been all over the map.

    IMO, those two dimensions of Christianity (deity and morality) are the two best arguments against Christianity as the "true" religion. As we understand more about the natural world, science is invalidating the deity claim. When we look at Christians as a group, their own behavior has invalidated their moral claim.
     
  4. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    Another important difference in worldviews is what each holds up as the ideal to which one should aspire. In the christian worldview, faith is held up as the most admirable quality. In a scientific worldview (not necessarily an atheist one, but they often go hand in hand in the same individual), skepticism is the most admirable quality. Inversely, lack of faith is considered a failing in christendom and in a scientific worldview assuming a conclusion before evidence supports it is considered confirmation bias.

    It's no wonder conversations can sometimes be tense between these two worldviews. Each puts forward as a virtue what the other deems to be a failing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
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  5. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    A very good explanation.
    And possibly the reason (I think) the two sides will never agree.

    "skepticism is the most admirable quality"
    I see that in myself. If you want me to accept/believe something, you have to show me some proof.

    "In the christian worldview, faith is held up as the most admirable quality"
    Telling me that you believe that "God" exists, although you can not show any proof, to my way of thinking is just foolish.
    Possibly not even a bad thing, but foolish.
     
  6. ziggy2525

    ziggy2525

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    That's the same faith that caused Christians to do things like torture people on the rack in the 1400's for saying silly stuff about "the earth rotating around the sun" because it didn't follow an ever changing interpretation of the "inerrant, unchanging word of God" that's in the Bible.

    Christians will say we have better knowledge now (thanks to the scientists they like to criticize - separate topic).The problem is that human nature hasn't changed. When Christians feel their faith is being challenged by new discoveries in science, instead of investigating, their first response is some sort of "nuclear attack" because new ideas are heresy. Christians aren't able to literally put people on the rack anymore (at least here in the US), but they try to accomplish the same thing socially. Just like they're threatening loss of advertising revenue for GT (in the Christians only thread) to silence atheists on this forum.
     
  7. rock_castle

    rock_castle Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

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    Dave is right. This is not a very accurate generalization. I don't see much connection between views on religion and politics. Some exists, but not a lot.
     
  8. F14A

    F14A

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    Science seems to be supporting creationism more than ever. Churches in Indiana are, on average, quite small. Hardly a platform for businesses or political banter. If politicians allude to anything religious, they opt for a statewide platform, from the statehouse or Governors office..at least in Indiana.
    Jimmy Carter was Christian, apparently one of the most disliked president's in history, he was Democrat, as everyone knows. I can tell you from experience, Churches can be the most brutal environments you could imagine..hypocrisy runs amuck. It is a pathetic display of hypocrisy.
    Which is exactly why I have not stepped foot in one in twenty years. Truth is, I get along just fine & even better with nonbelievers than I ever could believers...
    Anyway..
     
  9. Iamaarmed

    Iamaarmed

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    Just curious. Are the majority of Democrats Christians or not? All you mention is that many Democrats are atheist/agnostic. The word "many" really conveys nothing concrete. I am sure there are many atheist/agnostic Republicans. Depending on what many means in the scheme of things. Now the words "majority and minority" are specific, "many" is not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  10. Sarge1400

    Sarge1400

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    Please elaborate.
     
  11. TimC

    TimC Uhavthecontrols

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    :animlol: :headscratch:
     
  12. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

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  13. KCHonie

    KCHonie

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    Not hardly :animlol::animlol::animlol::animlol::animlol:
     
  14. Paul7

    Paul7

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  15. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Not Enough Gun

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  16. FinallyGlock

    FinallyGlock

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    I would say the generalizations are overall largely accurate. The theology content of the generalization on the Christian side is wrong. But accurate as to what the majority of the Christian crowd believes. Speaks to the 'wide is the road and narrow is the gate' premise. I think the generalization on the Atheist side actually also fits the liberal church going crowd (generally speaking) as well. There are deviations in all the buckets, but I think the buckets are pretty close to how things shake out.
     
  17. KCHonie

    KCHonie

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    Anthony Flew is a very poor example in this case. He was aging and had advancing dementia. Roy Abraham Varghese latched onto him and basically wrote the book in Anthony Flews name. I don't however doubt the Varghese was able to get Flew to change his position. It is not difficult to take advantage of someone with dementia. Very christian of Varghese :(


    "In 2007, Flew published a book titled There is a God, which was listed as having Roy Abraham Varghese as its co-author. Shortly after the book was released, the New York Times published an article by religious historian Mark Oppenheimer, who stated that Varghese had been almost entirely responsible for writing the book, and that Flew was in a serious state of mental decline, having great difficulty remembering key figures, ideas, and events relating to the debate covered in the book.[8] His book praises several philosophers (like Brian Leftow, John Leslieand Paul Davies), but Flew failed to remember their work during Oppenheimer's interview.

    A further article by Anthony Gottlieb noted a strong difference in style between the passages giving Flew's biography, and those laying out the case for a god, with the latter including Americanisms such as "beverages", "vacation" and "candy". He came to the same conclusion as Oppenheimer, and stated that "Far from strengthening the case for the existence of God, [the book] rather weakens the case for the existence of Antony Flew". Varghese replied with a letter disputing this view."
     
  18. Jose Yero

    Jose Yero Cochiloco

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    What did you read?
    Where did you find it?
    Who was the author?
    Is it available online?
     
  19. Jose Yero

    Jose Yero Cochiloco

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    First a bit of housekeeping:

    1) Roman emperors, some consider deities by their loyal subjects, officially persecuted Christians continuously from AD64 under Nero, until Constantine signed the Edict of Milan in AD313.

    2) The Christian moral code is based on the teachings and living example set by Christ during His earthly ministry. Christ left no writings. His Apostles, preached the Gospel through the known world before there was a Bible. Some of their writings, produced in the 1st century, were included in the New Testament when it cannonized as Holy Scripture by the Christian Church in the 4th century.

    Freelance Christianity - the notion that a a person or group can establish their own moral code, based on their "version" of the bible, and call it "christianity" - is a post-Reformation distortion of the authentic teachings of Christ.

    The early Christian Church invented social services, not exclusively for its membership, but for the surrounding community as well. That tradition is preserved to this day in every genuine Christian Church.

    The notion that there is a "christian" way to commit non-Christian acts [let alone outright sin] is anti-Christian on its face. It is outrageous that anyone can be convinced that secular concepts like "just war", or "capital punishment", or "burning of witches", or "ignoring those in need", were endorsed by Christ or the Apostles.

    So much of your above post seem to presume that they are. And I'm calling you on that. Your criticisms are against the post-modern doctrines and practices of "freelance christianity", which is in fact a man-made religion, and indeed worthy of the harshest criticism.

    There may be no logic in belief, but there is certainly no grace in ignorance.

    Lord have mercy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  20. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    Not to say that your argument does not have merit (I agree that modern christendom bares little resemblance to christ's teachings as recorded in the gospels), but the problem with it is that there are eleventy billion sects all trying to lay claim to true "christianity" and they each have an argument for why theirs represents the "authentic teachings of christ" and that all the others are a "distortion".

    Which is the core reason why separation of church in state was established in this country. Everyone should be free to follow their own interpretation (or none at all) as their own conscience dictates as long as that does not infringe upon the rights of others to do likewise. Somewhat ironically, it was the new protestant sects (like baptists) that were most in support of these measures initially when the country was formed. Now that they represent a majority here, it is the same sects that want to tear down that barrier.