As an atheist I am a huge believer in Christianity.
The scenes we have recently witnessed on the streets of our major cities has proved to me that there has been a breakdown in the moral fabric of our society and I think It would not be a huge leap draw a direct correlation between outrages of this kind and the decline in church congregations.
Allow me to justify my seemingly non-sensical first statement then. Rewind one hundred years or so and you would find in most communities, the majority attending a church of some sort or other. In these services they would be taught a code of moral ethics expounding laudable principles such as do unto others as thou should do to yourself and though shalt not steal. Sound principles in any society and based in many ways on the logic of group dynamics dictating working together gains you more.
However, where I deviate from my Christian friends is that whilst this sound group moral philosophy makes sense for a harmonious society there is the introduction of the god myth. I understand the need for the god myth, put crudely, we all need an incentive to do and be good and if some devine power has deemed it necessary we behave in a certain manner, then one hundred years ago that would have been enough to convince that we ought to, particularly if the majority were of that opinion, however ludicrous it seems today. I understand that for many the chaos and randomness of our life’s need to be put into some sort of higher context.
Christianity needs to be reinvented in a modern world.
Let’s for the sake of this argument say that Jesus was not the son of god, that he did not perform miracles and was not resurrected from the dead. Let’s strip all that away. Let’s also say that he was not born from a virgin and he did not turn water into wine and feed the five thousand.
Let’s say he was just a regular guy, from a regular family, 2000 years ago.
Isn’t that interesting? Here I am, an atheist, talking about some bloke, 2000 years ago. What a man, that we are talking about him two thousand years later. But just a man I would say, an amazing man and an inspiration to billions but just that. Would he not have wanted that legacy, rather than to be deified in churches.
Martin Luther king famously said: “you should judge a man not by the colour of his skin, rather the content of his character”.
Rather than the colour of the wine I doubt very much he produced we should look at the content of Jesus’ teaching and what he was saying. Turn the other cheek, be accepting of others not like you, be kind and Turn the other cheek, be accepting of others not like you, be kind and generous, forgive others.
I wonder how much was lost in translation over the past millennia. When he talked about God, was not good interchangeable? A common good, an abstract concept that good in it’s purest form becomes almost an collective entity in it’s own right.
So that is why I can be an atheist and believe in Christianity at the same time. Jesus was an inspiration, who through his teaching showed us how we could live our lives. A regular guy, but a regular guy we are discussing two thousand years after his death. Not many people you could say that about, isn’t that enough?