Monday, March 31, 2008

In Common with the Atheists

On the way to church yesterday, I heard a brief portion of a religion show on NPR. The topic was "Exploring a New Humanism" where atheism is extolled not as anti-Christianity or anti-religion, but as a positive thing in its own right.

Although I completely disagreed with much of what Chaplain Epstein said, there were things we have in common. For instance, he says that people can't say they believe in "God" without defining who that god is. Yup! He said that most people in America who think they believe in "God" actually believe in goodness and morality and being nice. Yup!

He said that people (that is, atheists) don't need a "God" to be the cosmic policeman, punishing sin. Nor do they need a "God" to be the ultimate one dishing out the rewards to those who are good. Unfortunately, I think he's right that most people see God as either 1) the guy who's going to reward their good, or 2) the guy who's out to spoil their fun so they better behave themselves. Epstein didn't seem to have much use for that kind of god; I don't either.

It struck me as odd how, on a Sunday morning, I was finding so much to agree with as I listened to an atheist espouse his humanistic beliefs.

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