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Christian Defenses of Atheism (Christians Who Have Defended Atheism, or Respect What Some Atheists are Saying or Doing)

Christian Defenses of Atheism
I retain a profound respect for [atheismʼs] aspirations for humanity and legitimate criticisms of dysfunctional religion… There is something about human nature which makes it capable of being inspired by what it believes to be right to do both wonderful and appalling things. Neither atheism nor religion may be at fault.
Alister McGrath (Oxford Professor and Christian apologist), The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World, 2007

Skepticism and atheism are, at least in their highest manifestations, noble, precious, and even necessary traditions, and even the most fervent of believers should acknowledge that both are often inspired by a profound moral alarm at evil and suffering, at the corruption of religious institutions, at psychological terrorism, at injustices either prompted or abetted by religious doctrines, at arid dogmatisms and inane fideisms, and at worldly power wielded in the name of otherworldly goods. In the best kinds of unbelief, there is something of the moral grandeur of the prophets—a deep and admirable abhorrence of those vicious idolatries that enslave minds and justify our worst cruelties.
David Bentley Hart (Eastern Orthodox theologian, philosopher, and cultural commentator), “Believe It or Not,” First Things, May 2010

Iʼve found self-deception as much among Christians as among atheists and agnostics. In fact, Iʼve come to like dealing with secularists better than with Christians who use religion as a cloak to cover their pride and absence of love. Secularists are at least more likely to admit that theyʼre being bad. Christians, especially American evangelical Christians, with pietism and puritanism always in the background, have to pretend to be good.
William A. Dembski (Christian and Intelligent Design advocate), William Dembski Interview published by TheBestSchools.org in January 2012; updated May 2016

Atheism tends to be a term of disrepute in the Western world, but we ought to do all we can to change this situation. The honest atheist is simply a person who has looked out upon the world and has come to believe that there is no adequate evidence that God is, or that there is good evidence that God is not. Very seldom does this make a man happy or popular… A man who has no practical belief in God may nevertheless be a good man. Sometimes it is the very goodness of a man which makes him an unbeliever; he is so superlatively honest, so eager not to accept anything without adequate evidence, so sensitive to the danger of believing what is comforting, merely because it is comforting… Such a man we can only honor.
Elton Trueblood (Quaker theologian), Philosophy of Religion

Not one man in a thousand has either strength of mind or goodness of heart to be an Atheist.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Christian poet, philosopher and literary critic who had deistic and Unitarian leanings but died a liberal Anglican), Letter to Thomas Allsop, c. 1820 (Note: Twenty years earlier in his life Coleridge wrote very negatively about atheism)

An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.
Simone Weil (Christian mystic)

A Catholic Defense of Atheism

Atheism is clearly always a permissible view of man in a world in which God is not immediately evident.
20th Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism

A Christian Philosopher Tries to Explain Why There Are Still Atheists

Shouldnʼt we take seriously biblical portrayals of divine silence and hiddenness?… The Psalms are replete with references to divine silence and hiddenness. (See, for example, Psalm 10:1; 22:1-2; 30:7; 44:23-24; and 88:13-14.) The prophet Isaiah puts it bluntly: “Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel” (45:15). Saint Anselm, the eleventh century archbishop of Canterbury, asks, “Why did he shut us away from the light, and cover us over with darkness?” Mother Teresa knew this darkness all too well, and it apparently prompted her at some points to doubt the existence of God. In a letter to a friend, she writes, “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.” What seems obvious here is that Godʼs existence is not obvious, even to some devout followers. As the seventeenth century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal writes, “As God is hidden, any religion that does not say that God is hidden is not true… What can be seen on earth points to neither the total absence nor the obvious presence of divinity, but to the presence of a hidden God.”
Perhaps some atheists happen to be people particularly impressed by the dreadful silence of God—and unimpressed by the noisy, idle chatter expressed by far too many theists… We should acknowledge that we have our own powerful non-rational motivations for belief… We need to grant that our God is a God who sometimes hides and is silent. Finally, we need to concede that all of this does make a genuine evidential difference for plenty of atheists. Maybe that helps to explain why there are atheists.
Shawn Graves (Assist. Prof. of Philosophy at Cedarville University and a Christian), Why There Are Still Atheists: The heavens arenʼt the only proclaimers (and are sometimes silent), Christianity Today, March 28, 2011

A Leading Figure in the “Emergent” Church Movement Who Defends Atheism

I am so grateful for the edited collection of essays, God Is Dead and I Donʼt Feel So Good Myself: Theological Engagements with the New Atheism (pub. 2005). Atheism isnʼt just something to oppose or refute—it also can be a mirror, with much to teach us believers about ourselves and our distorted and unworthy ideas about God and religion. The atheist too is our neighbor, and God may want to speak to us all through the incisive insight of an honest atheist.
Brian McLaren, 2005
Nearly all religions—and certainly all monotheistic religions—seem at time hell-bent on inspiring people to kill each other, making atheism sometimes seem a more ethical alternative to conventional violence-prone belief. So we ask: Why does God seem so violent and genocidal in many Bible passages? Does God play favorites? Does God choose some and reject others? Does God [p. 20] sanction elitism, prejudice, violence, or even genocide? Is God incurably violent and is faith capable of becoming a stronger force for peace and reconciliation than it has been for violence in the past?… Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures do I find anything as horrible as… a deity who tortures the greater part of humanity forever in infinite eternal conscious torment… For this reason, I would grimly prefer atheism to be true than for the Greco-Roman Theos narrative to be true… On the subject of hell, see my “The Last Word and the Word After That,” and an extremely helpful and concise article by Nik Ansell, “Hell: The Nemesis of Hope” in which he quotes Evangelical patriarch John Stott as saying, of the conventional view of hell, “Emotionally, I find the concept intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain.”
Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity, pg. 19-20, 98-99, Chapter 10, and Endnote 1,pg. 272

Christians Who Admit An Atheist Can Be a Truth Seeker

As you try to figure out what exactly his [atheist Hemant Mehtaʼs] agenda is, youʼll probably arrive at the same conclusion I did. I think heʼs simply after the truth.
Rev. Rob Bell in the forward to Mehtaʼs book, I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheistʼs Eyes (2007)
If you blink, you might miss the significance of Bellʼs statement. So let me underscore it. He believes Mehta isnʼt sinfully suppressing belief in God. Rather, he really does want to know the truth. At first blush, this might seem too obvious to mention. But set against the stock Christian attitudes toward atheism and it really does constitute a quiet revolution.
Randal Rauser, author of the book, Is the Atheist My Neighbor? Rethinking Christian Attitudes toward Atheism (2015).

A Deist Who Asked, “Who is Responsible for Atheists?”

If there are atheists, who is responsible but the mercenary tyrants of souls who say: “Believe a hundred things in the Bible either manifestly abominable or mathematically impossible; otherwise the God of mercy will burn you in the fires of hell, not only for millions of billions of centuries, but for all eternity.”
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, entry under “Atheist, Atheism,” Second Section

A Deist Who Defended Heretics

All the heretics I have known have been virtuous men. They cannot afford to be deficient in any of the other virtues, as that would give advantage to their many enemies; and they have not, like orthodox sinners, such a number of friends to excuse or justify them.
Benjamin Franklin as quoted in Benjamin Franklin: His Wit, Wisdom, and Women by Seymour Stanton Block

A “Rational Christian” Who Preferred Atheism Over the Fear That One Might Be Asking Questions That Were Too Bold

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, dated August 10, 1787 (Jefferson favored something he called “rational Christianity,” a deistic view of Christianity)

He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Aids to Reflection, “Moral and Religious Aphorisms,” aph. 25 (1825)
Whenever philosophy has taken into its plan religion, it has ended in skepticism; and whenever religion excludes philosophy, or the spirit of free inquiry, it leads to willful blindness and superstition.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, cited in Allsopʼs Letters, Conversations with Recollections of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1836

A Believer in God Asks, “What Difference Does it Make?”

I believe in God, although I live very happily with atheists… It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God…
One day a man was asked if there were any true atheists. Do you think, he replied, that there are any true Christians?
Denis Diderot (1713-1784), cited in Against the Faith by Jim Herrick

Is It Ever Proper to Act As If God Did Not Exist?

There is a wonderful Hasidic story about a rabbi who was asked whether it is ever proper to act as if God did not exist. He responded, “Yes, when you are asked to give to charity, you should give as if there were no God to help the object of the charity.”
Alan Dershowitz, Letters to a Young Lawyer

Should We Use the Concept of God To Make a Better World?

I am not of the opinion that we should make use of the concept of God in striving for a better world. This, it seems to me, is incompatible with the integrity of a modern cultured person.
Albert Einstein

What Have Atheists (And Others Who Are Not “Orthodox Evangelical Christians”) Done For Mankind?

If it were not for a host of scientists who happened to be either lapsed churchgoers, unorthodox Christians, heretics, apostates, infidels, freethinkers, agnostics, or atheists, and their successes in the fields of agricultural and medical science, hundreds of millions would have starved to death or suffered innumerable diseases this past century. Those agricultural and medical scientists “multiplied more loaves of bread” and “prevented/healed more diseases” in the past hundred years than Christianity has in the past two thousand.
Also, it has not always been the most orthodox of Christians who have changed the face of charity worldwide for the better. Florence Nightingale (the lady who helped make nursing a legitimate profession, and taught that no one should be refused admittance to a hospital based on their religious affiliation, and no patient should be proselytized in a hospital, but instead they should be allowed to see whichever clergyperson they preferred) was not an orthodox Christian, but instead a freethinking universalist Christian. (Ms. Nightingale also wrote a few steamy letters that suggest she may have been bi-sexual or a lesbian.) The founder of the International Red Cross (now called the International Red Cross and Red Crescent), Andre Dunant, was gay. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was another freethinking universalist Christian. Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who spend years in Africa as a doctor and helped to publicize the plight of suffering Africans, was a liberal Christian and author of The Search of the Historical Jesus in which he concluded that Jesus was a man who preached that the world was going to end soon. And, Helen Keller (the woman who lost her sight and hearing to a bout with Scarlet Fever when she was very young, but who learned how to communicate via touch, and who proved an inspiration to several generations of folks suffering from severe disabilities) was both a Swedenborgian, and a member of the American Humanist Society.

Atheists on Atheism

A person holding or doing something they love is not meaningless in the absence of any gods; on the contrary, the absence of any gods requires that we find meaning in precisely what we can hold and do. My views donʼt leave me with nothing - instead, they leave me with quite a lot which I can hold and do.
Austin Cline, Mailbag: Meaning of Life Sunday September 30, 2007
Let a woman (or a man) be on the Earth, and let them be surrounded by family, friends, and opportunities for growth and understanding. Let them live a human life with access to a range of human goods. How can a theist argue that such a life is meaningless? Even given the atheistʼs belief in lifeʼs finitude, such a life would still contain many important goods capable of carving a niche for meaningfulness in the face of suffering that that woman (or man) may endure along the way. Relationships, understanding and love are the ultimate sources of meaning for a human life. By themselves they give our lives their significance and value, so much so that even theists craft their idea of eternal beatitude from the idea of a life where the supply of these goods never ends.
-Di Muzio, Gianluca. “Theism and the Meaning of Life,” Ars Disputandi 6:1 (2006), pp. 138-139 [edited by EB]

An Atheist Who Prefers the Term “Earthling”

I give blood. I volunteer my organs. I donate to charities. I return my shopping cart. I never needed religion to puppeteer me through life and tell me how to feel about gays, abortion, and capital punishment or how to raise my kid. When people ask me what I am, I say Earthling.
William P.OʼNeil, “Playing the God Card,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 10, 2000

An Atheist Who Argues That Donating Blood Makes Greater Practical & Moral Sense Than the Idea of “Blood Atonement”

I just returned from the Blood Connection in my home town where I spent an hour giving red blood cells and having the plasma pumped back into my arm. I was told that my blood might help save someoneʼs life. And, if it was someone injured by doing something stupid (such as driving while intoxicated and getting in an accident), I have (in effect) given my blood so they might have life, which is what Christians proclaim Jesus did. He shed his blood for our “sins” in which we “damaged our souls” irrevocably by breaking Godʼs law. The theological term here is “vicarious atonement” where one sheds oneʼs blood for the “sins” of others so that they may “live” and not “die eternally.” (I used the plural word, “others,” because I was told that products produced from my blood or plasma might be used to save the lives of more than one individual). And I have mentioned the parallels between my real-life blood donation and blood-letting metaphors in the Bible because I used to be a Baptist preacher, and spent six years in colleges and seminaries. In 1997 I was elected “Man of the Year” were I worked, however the supervisor told his secretary that he would not hand over the “Man of theYear” award to a “damned atheist.” So he gave the award to a Christian on the staff (so much for the separation of Church and State). Now nearly a decade later things are looking up for Harry the “damned atheist.” The Christian whom my supervisor gave the “Man of the Year” award, was fired; the supervisor died; yet here I am still alive and giving blood to save the lives of others.
Harry McCall, contributor to Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists [In all modesty, Harry, above, who is a friend of mine, neglected to add that he also gave one of his kidneys to save the life of one of his daughters.—E.T.B.]

Doubt may have “some divinity” about it.
Atheism may be comparatively popular with God himself.
Let God alone if need be. Methinks, if I loved him more, I should keep him-I should keep myself, rather-at a more respectful distance. It is not when I am going to meet him, but when I am just turning away and leaving him alone, that I discover that God is. I say, God. I am not sure that is the name. You will know whom I mean.
When a pious visitor inquired sweetly, “Henry, have you made your peace with God?” he replied, “We have never quarreled.”
Henry David Thoreau as quoted in Henry David Thoreau: What Manner of Man? By Edward Wagenknecht

Believing hath a core of unbelieving.
Robert Williams Buchanan: Songs of Seeking

I donʼt believe anything, but I have many suspicions.
I suspect that this world shows signs of an… intelligence [that] acts via feedback from all parts to all parts and without centralized sovereignity, like Internet; and that it does not function hierarchically, in the style of an Oriental despotism, an American corporation or Christian theology.
I somewhat suspect that Theism and Atheism both fail to account for such decentralized intelligence, rich in circular-causal feedback.
I more-than-half suspect that all “good” writing, or all prose and poetry that one wants to read more than once, proceeds from a kind of “alteration in consciousness,” i.e. a kind of controlled schizophrenia. (Donʼt become alarmed — I think good acting comes from the same place.)
I sometimes suspect that what Blake called Poetic Imagination expresses this exact thought in the language of his age, and that visits by"angels" and "gods" states it an even more archaic argot.
These suspicions have grown over 72 years, but as a rather slow and stupid fellow I do not have the chutzpah to proclaim any of them as certitudes. Give me another 72 years and maybe Iʼll arrive at firmer conclusions.
An evangelical Christian once told me, “Only Jesus Christ can save man and restore him to his lost state of peace with God, himself and others.” Yeah, sure, and only new Pepsi can make you feel really happy, and only our brand is better than the competition, and only our country is the best country. It is truly amazing to me that people can utter such arrogant nonsense with no humor, no sense of how offensive they are to others, no doubt or trepidation, and no suspicion that they sound exactly like advertisers, con-men and other swindlers. It is really hard to understand such child-like prattling. If I were especially conceited about something (a state I try to avoid, but if I fell into it.), if for instance I decided I had the best garden or the handsomest face in Ireland, I would still retain enough common sense to suspect that I would sound like a conceited fool if I went around telling everybody those opinions. I would have enough tact left, I hope, to satisfy my conceit by dreaming that other people would notice on their own that my garden and/or my face were especially lovely. People who go around innocently and blithely announcing that they belong to the Master Race or the Best Country Club or have the One True Religion seem to have never gotten beyond the kindergarten level of ego-display. Do they have no modesty, no tact, no shame, no adult common sense at all? Do they have any suspicion how silly their conceit sounds to the majority of the nonwhite non-Christian men and women of the world? To me, they seem like little children wearing daddyʼs clothes and going around shouting, “Look how grown-up I am! Look at me, me, me!”
There are more amusing things than ego-games, conceit and one-upmanship… I suspect that people stay on that childish level because they have never discovered how interesting and exciting the adult world is.
If one must play ego-games, I still think it would be more polite, and more adult, to play them in the privacy of oneʼs head. In fact, despite my efforts to be a kind of Buddhist, I do relapse into such ego-games on occasion; but I have enough respect for human intelligence to keep such thoughts to myself. I donʼt go around announcing that I have painted the greatest painting of our time; I hope that people will notice that by themselves. Why do the people whose ego-games consist of day-dreaming about being part of the Master Race or the One True Religion not keep that precious secret to themselves, also, and wait for the rest of the human race to notice their blinding superiority?
The experts on Heaven disagree about which conglomeration of religious believers will qualify, but they always seem to think that they personally belong to that elite group. An eternity with people that conceited seems intolerable to me.
An idea, which has terrified millions, claims that some of us will go to a place called Hell, where we will suffer eternal torture. This does not scare me because, when I try to imagine a Mind behind this universe, I cannot conceive that Mind, usually called “God,” as totally mad. I mean, guys, compare that “God” with the worst monsters you can think of-Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin, that sort of guy. None of them ever inflicted more than finite pain on their victims. Even de Sade, in his sado-masochistic fantasy novels, never devised an unlimited torture. The idea that the Mind of Creation (if such exists) wants to torture some of its critters for endless infinities of infinities seems too absurd to take seriously. Such a deranged Mind could not create a mud hut, much less the exquisitely mathematical universe around us.
If such a monster-God did exist, the sane attitude would consist of practicing the Buddhist virtue of compassion. Donʼt give way to hatred: try to understand and forgive him. Maybe He will recover his wits some day.
Thoughts of Robert Anton Wilson

We are children of this planet… we have come forth from it. We are its eyes and mind, its seeing and its thinking. And the earth, together with its sun… came forth from a nebula; and that nebula, in turn, from space. No wonder then, if its laws and ours are the same.
Joseph Campbell

You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself… We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe…
Itʼs like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, itʼs dense, isnʼt it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that… as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. But billions of years ago, you were a big bang, and now youʼre a complicated human being. We donʼt feel that weʼre still the big bang. But you are… Youʼre not just something thatʼs a result of the big bang. Youʼre not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are also still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as—Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so—I see every one as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know Iʼm that, too. But weʼve learned to define ourselves as separate from it.
Alan Watts

The Oddness of Existence

The extreme oddness of Existence is what reconciles me to it.
I got up with Stoic fortitude of mind in the cold this morning; but afterwards, in my hot bath, I joined the school of Epicurus. I was a Materialist at breakfast; after that an Idealist; and as I smoked my first cigarette I transcendentally turned the world to vapour. But when I began to read The Times I had no doubt of an externally existing world.
So all the morning and all the afternoon opinions kept flowing into and out of my mind; till by the time the enormous day was over, it had been filled by most of the widely-known Theories of Existence, and emptied of them.
When, now and then, on a calm night I look up at the Stars, I reflect on the wonders of Creation, the unimportance of this Planet, and the possible existence of other worlds like ours. Sometimes the self-poised and passionless shining of those serene orbs is what I think of; sometimes Kantʼs phrase comes into my mind about the majesty of the Starry Heavens and the Moral Law; or I remember Xenophanes gazing up at the broad firmament, and crying, ‘The All is One!’ and thus, in that sublime assertion, enunciating for the first time the great doctrine of the Unity of Being.
But these Thoughts are not my thoughts; they eddy through my mind like scraps of old paper, or withered leaves in the wind. What I really feel is the survival of a much more primitive mood-a view of the world which dates indeed from before the invention of language. It has never been put into literature; no poet has sung of it, no historian of human thought has so much as alluded to it; astronomers in their glazed observatories, with their eyes glued to the ends of telescopes, seem to have had no notion of it.
But sometimes, far off at night, I have heard a dog howling at the Moon.
Thoughts of Logan Pearsall Smith, All Trivia

Peopleʼs Beliefs Are Multi-Faceted

There appear to be multiple sides or facets to all of our beliefs and how we feel about things. Thatʼs because our minds are constantly in motion, weighing, assessing, hypothesizing, re-weighing, re-assessing, re-hypothesizing, over and over again.
As Neil Gaiman puts it…
I can believe things that are true and things that arenʼt true and I can believe things where nobody knows if theyʼre true or not.
I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesnʼt even know that Iʼm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.
I believe that anyone who claims to know whatʼs going on will lie about the little things too.
I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies.
I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when youʼre alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Which of These Four Gods Do You Believe In?

Using conclusions drawn from the Baylor Religion Survey first published in 2006, two Baylor University professors theorize that Americansʼ view of God can be characterized as one of four basic types:
  • Authoritative (different from Authoritarian?)
    28% of Americans believe in an authoritative god that is very judgmental and engaged in the world. These types of believers tend to be evangelical and male.
  • Benevolent
    22% of Americans believe in a benevolent god that is very involved in the world, but is loving and not stern. These tend to be evangelical women.
  • Critical
    21% of Americans believe in a critical god who is removed from daily events but will render judgment in the afterlife. There is a tendency for African Americans and people who have lower levels of income and education to believe in the critical god.
  • Distant
    24% of Americans believe in a distant god who set the universe in motion but then disengaged. People who say that they are spiritual but not religious tend to believe in the distant god.
By knowing which of the four types of God an American believes in, these scholars can predict that personʼs views on many of the pressing issues facing the country.
As an antidote to the prevailing but simplistic dichotomy between religious and nonreligious Americans, this thesis is more nuanced. But it, too, has its limitations. Itʼs not clear that people stick to one view their whole lives, and it doesnʼt fully account for the views of those who occupy middle ground, somewhere between a judgmental and forgiving God. Still, the fourfold God typology is a step toward better understanding how Americans regard morality, how they understand the presence of evil, and what narrative they tell about their lives. See also the review here.
Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated in response to such research that God encompasses all of the four types. Though I hope Mohler also admits that human beings do not appear to encompass all four types of God equally in their minds. Perhaps Mohler himself does not. I wonder what his results would be if he took the online test to determine which type of God he envisioned?

“The most zealous defenders of the inspiration of the Bible admit that there are parts of it of less importance than others. This is a great admission, because another is involved in it, namely that we ourselves must be judges of the comparative importance of these different parts.”
Thomas Erskine, Scottish Christian

What Could Be More Divisive Than The Gap Between Theists & Atheists? How About the Gap Between Exclusivists & Inclusivists? Between Damnationists & Universalists?

Some believe that people get sorted into one of two radically different places after they die, with no hope of repentance, learning their lessons, or resumption of harmonious relations throughout eternity.
Others believe or at least hope that the vast majority, if not everyone, will eventually arrive at the same destination after they die.
  • Type a) includes conservative religious believers or spin offs from conservative religious belief.
  • Type b) includes very moderate to liberal, or highly inclusivist to hopeful universalist religious believers.
  • Type a) often have trouble understanding, empathizing or getting along with people in “rival” religions and “cults,” or even with those in their own Christian denomination or church whose “rival” biblical interpretations or views of ecclesiastical authority can often escalate into fears that “others” (including close family or friends) might be on a slippery slope into “hell” for disagreeing with them on this or that matter of faith or practice.
For instance, Christians have remained throughout history the foremost debunkers of each otherʼs biblical interpretations, ecclesiastical rites, and social agendas. See, “Are You a True Christian?
  • Meanwhile, Type b)ʼs tend to get along well with people in other religions as well as with atheists. Those who are highly inclusivist, or universalists (including those who hope that the vast majority, if not all, will eventually wind up in heaven) even seem to get along well with agnostics and atheists.

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