Atheists for Jesus

Richard Dawkins, a world renowned atheist and the author of a book entitled, “The God Delusion” was recently photographed sporting the t-shirt in the picture to the left.  The message on the t-shirt is, “Atheists for Jesus”.

Now, why would an atheist wear a t-shirt saying, “Atheists for Jesus?”  The answer to that question is that Dawkins unashamedly calls himself a “Cultural Christian.”  In other words, Dawkins rejects any and all claims regarding Jesus’ deity, but he accepts his code of ethics and likes his moral values, and wishes more people lived according to them.

You see, Dawkins likes the character traits exhibited in Jesus.  He likes his stand on human rights and human worth.  He likes his patience, kindness, compassion, and love.  But what Dawkins fails to realize is that all these characteristics are rooted in the nature of God.  The reason Jesus exhibited these character traits is because they are consistent with character and law of God.

Whether Dawkins realizes it or not, the message on his t-shirt exposes a fundamental flaw of atheism.  Atheism provides no values, no code of ethics, no standard by which to measure any human conduct.  If there is no God; if one is nothing more than a biological accident; if one is accountable to no one; if one is here today and gone tomorrow; then why shouldn’t he live as he chooses?  What possible reason would one have to deny himself gratification in order to demonstrate love, patience, and compassion for others?

While Richard Dawkins may have worn this t-shirt in order to be “clever” and “witty,” the truth of the matter is that Atheists do indeed need Jesus and ought to be thankful that the influence of Jesus has spread as widely as it has, for I don’t think Dawkins and his fellow atheists would like living in a world without Jesus.

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Comments 15

  • I am glad that you are blogging and I will be looking forward to reading your posts.

    http://www.matthewsblog.waynesborochurchofchrist.org

  • Great post. It reminds me of the Atheist who took God’s name in vain. Why did he use God’s name at all if it is nothing?

  • Atheists are downright strange.

  • You people just really don’t get it do you? Are you reall nice, and kind, and good to other people because someone tells you you have to? Would you all turn into savage barbarians the moment this god of which you speak lets go of the reins? Come on, the goodness and kindness comes from yourselves, not from this god of which you speak. Don’t be so hard on yourselves, you can do it!

  • Hello Friend, I’m not convinced that “we” aren’t the ones who “don’t get it.” In spite of your protest, the atheist is still left with a fundamental problem. It cannot give a reason why one should do “good” rather than “evil,” and furthermore what is the measure of what is “good” or “evil.”

  • As an atheist I do not have a fundamental problem at all with doing good rahter than bad, or with defining what’s good or what’s bad. Its really quite simple: the reason for people to do good, rather than bad is because doing good is more beneficial in the long run than doing bad, both for yourself and for the people around you. The standard for what is good or bad is universal: don’t do anything to anyone that you don’t wish to be done to you. I could have framed it more biblically, but that would only have complicated matters.
    I do sincerely hope you’re not implying that not believing in this god you speak of automatically turns a person in an amoral, criminal thug.

  • May I point out that your standard you offered for determining “good” and “evil” is insufficient. The standard you offered was “long term benefits.”

    So allow me to ask a few questions?
    1. What about short term benefits? Why must I do what brings benefits in the long run? Why not do what brings benefits in the short term? Who decides which is better, and upon what basis?
    2. Benefits for whom? Myself or others? Is the pursuit of personal benefits better than group benefits? Or is it the other way around? And again, who decides which is better, and upon what basis?

    The question of ethics is not as simplistic as you painted it. If there is no God and no absolute moral code given by him, then ethics and morality are subjective and individual, which results in chaos. Thus the point of the article itself, “Athiests for Jesus.” Even the athiest doesn’t like where his philosphy logically takes him.

    And no, I do not think, nor did I imply that every athiest is a criminal thug.

  • What are you afraid of?

  • I have no idea who psychodigger is, but you need to answer higginbotham’s questions instead of saying, “what are you afraid of?” If good/bad is a subjective, then that means I can choose to do what i desire. And what most people desire is to do evil…but something in ourself, (moral law) wants us to do good. So why are we always compelled to do good, and not bad. Why do we strive to be clean (morally)?

  • SKB – unfortunately you exposed the fallacy in this article and the very idea of “Christian Morality”, which really is not morality at all but simply fear. You (claim to) uphold a system of principles and values based on your desire to go to heaven, and not because you feel it is the right thing to do. An atheists morals are arguably more valuable because they are self-chosen and not forced upon by a maniacal ‘God’. I do not believe that our world would be worse without religion, I believe it would be a far more tolerable and respectful place to live in.

    This article has absolutely no idea of the context in which Dawkins wore the shirt. It was created based on a quote he made contrasting the god of the old testament with Jesus. The god of the old testament was a horrible, disgusting and vile creation, whereas Dawkins supports the values Jesus preached…Hence, the shirt – “Athiests for Jesus”. Unfortunately you really have no solid foundation to stand on, either you completely support the God of the old testament and believe that everything done was good and right (rape, murder, infanticide, genocide, theft, etc) – or, you provide fuel for Dawkins argument. Either way, it only solidifies our cause.

  • Hello George,
    Thanks for taking the time to comment, but I must respectfully disagree with you. You stated that Christian values are derived from one’s desire to go to Heaven, and not because one feels it’s the right thing to do. Friend, that’s simply a false affirmation (which btw, I never stated in my brief article). You have created a false dichotomy. It doesn’t have to be either or. It’s a both and situation. Yes, I want to go to heaven, but I also do what I do because I believe it is right.

    You also argued that an atheist’s morals are arguably more valuable because they are self chosen. My response to that is which “atheist’s morals” are you talking about? They’re independent and autonomous. Are you speaking for the morals of any particular atheist? Or are you arguing that the morals of any atheist are better? If the former, whose morals are you talking about so that we can examine your claim? If the later, then you have condoned the morals of the most immoral atheist alive. Everyone doing what is right in their own eyes results in unconscionable acts! Are you saying that morals of the atheist who embraces pedophilia are “arguably more valuable” because they are self chosen? You see, that brings us back to the point of my article and the problem with atheism. There is no moral standard apart from the individual. Thus one has no justifiable or sustainable objection to the vilest person.

    The fact is, as I stated in my article, Atheism provides no values, no code of ethics, no standard by which to measure any human conduct. If there is no God; if one is nothing more than a biological accident; if one is accountable to no one; if one is here today and gone tomorrow; then why shouldn’t he live as he chooses? What possible reason would one have to deny himself gratification in order to demonstrate love, patience, and compassion for others?

  • Steve, What you have wrote is very true and I agree with you in your opinion. I am not speaking this as a fellow christian (though I am), but as someone who is motivated by this article.

    I do think that Atheism provides values, but the wrong kind. Values can be defined as “A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.” Most atheist I have met in this short life of mine show “bad” values because of there response to hearing about christianity. They have constantly tried to uproot me, talk down to me, and tell me that my faith in God is false. Accordingly, I have ignored them completely and shown them nothing but love because “That is what I KNOW is right.” That last peice was for George who believes that Christians only do what is right out of fear of God, But I didn’t even know God truely when I was put down by Atheist. (and btw george… Solidifies your cause? Since when do Atheist have a cause? I thought they just didn’t believe in God, not try and convert Christians into non-believers too)

    I also have a question (after someone awnsers Georges question) If all of the things in the new testimate show what is right, and just, and fair, then why not follow Gods ways unless you choose to do wrong?

  • Please remember to leave all these posts. The supporters of atheism really did a great job of pointing out there own lack of logic. At the end of the day, the want all the benefits of God without having to deal with the reality of accountability. Of course, they ran off the minute they realized that their prejudices are inaccurate and that Christians really are quite logical. (Usually.. every group has its bad apples)

  • It is true that Atheism of itself provides no values, no code of ethics, no standard by which to measure any human conduct etc.. This is not because atheists have bad or no values, but because the term atheism only applies to what you are not (a theist), and not to what you are (a peace-loving humanist (most of them) or money-grubbing scumbag (luckily a minority)).

    Then where do we get our morals from? Interestingly the answer is pretty much the same as where believers get their morals from (via culture and rational discussion). Religious people often claim they get their values from the Bible. In truth people read the Bible in such a way that it conforms to what they/their culture already have come to assess as moral, not the other way around (leave out the bits about slavery, witchcraft, emphasize the bits about compassion or homosexuality). The believes held by a 1st century Christian are not the same as a 21st century one. In fact believes held by contemporary Christians differ significantly as well. One will be convinced that homosexuality is a sin, another one will be convinced that it is a natural phenomenon that causes no harm to others and thus cannot be qualified as sinful and will interpret the famous St Paul quote as if it applies to homosexual prostitution or even that it is sinful for gays to have a go at straight sex. Adding other religions with people who hold equally strong opinions about the divinity of their texts confuses matters even more. There is no such thing as a crystal clear top down imposed morality. The ways in which one can interpret these holy texts is near infinite and the texts themselves hold no clue as to how to interpret them (hence the wide differentiation of and in religions).

    Most people figure out that a well lived meaningful life, cannot be achieved by acting in a way that only supports personal gain regardless of the consequences to others. Most will even figure out that truly helping others (no talking about a mere deposit to charity) grants immediate personal satisfaction (if you haven’t yet, try it, the reward is instantaneous). There is nothing supernatural about it but a mere consequence of us being social animals. People who do not come to realize this (the sociopaths and there ilk), will behave the way the way they do regardless of their beliefs.

  • Hello Bart,
    Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. I agree with you that though atheism provides no values, it doesn’t mean that atheists have no values at all. The problem with admitting that there is no absolute standard of morality is that you now make everything subjective. If there are no moral absolutes, if are the result of purposeless, blind chance, being accountable to no one, then who has the right to stand in judgment of another person’s behavior, no matter what it is.

    You argue that we get our values from culture. Then would you have a problem with the culture of Nazi Germany? How can you stand in judgment of their actions, if they were acting in harmony with their culture? Or what about the human sacrifices that took place in the culture of the Aztecs? Would such actions be acceptable? The standard of morality that you are advancing is determined by “popularity” and can change tomorrow.

    You affirmed that the beliefs of 1st Century Christians are not the beliefs held by 21st Century Christians. That’s quite an affirmation. Could you provide us with an example of this rather than just an affirmation that has no substance?

    Again, the problem with Atheism is that it has no morals. What morals it may adopt are borrowed from other sources, not all of which, are worthwhile.

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