Atheism 3.0

I was reading an article from the Religious News Service talking about a new wave of atheism that isn't completely down on religion.  Make no mistake, the so called "Atheism 3.0" still denies the existence of God, but there is some respect for the values that come from believing in God.

Bruce Sheiman is the author of “An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off With Religion than Without It.”  He says his goal as an atheist is to build a better world and not tear down those he disagrees with.  He writes:

More than any other institution, religion deserves our appreciation and respect because it has persistently encouraged people to care deeply—for the self, for neighbors, for humanity, and for the natural world—and to strive for the highest ideals humans are able to envision.

Some will call it PR spin or whatever, but I do appreciate the sentiment.  While we disagree on a major, life changing, eternal issue, there is no need to be blatantly mean to one another.  Sounds quite Christian in terms of loving your neighbor instead of instantly condemning them.

What are your thoughts?  Are we, as believers too quick to judge non-believers instead of reaching out to them?  If someone wrote an article about "Christianity 3.0," what should it look like?

Comments (18)

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If I were to write an article on Christianity 3.0 it'd be titled: "Christianity 3.0 - This time we're going to try". We've been doing all this judging, backbiting, being hypocritical because it's a lot easier than self-improvement, loving, and living a Godly life.

I think Christianity 3.0 would be the Windows 7 of Christianity 2.0's Vista. Outside of the modern uses of technology and culture, I believe Christianity 3.0 should mirror more of Christianity 1.0 (you know the software that Christ developed. A "Jesus Saves" joke should be inserted here somewhere). Maybe a better, back-to-the-basics version, while getting rid of all the "Christian" bloat that we've inserted along the way.
Could we call this a generous atheism? :) pvk
I really like that sentiment. instantly makes me more predisposed to listen to the guy that people like Dawkins, Dennet, Harris et al. I also really agree with Brett Barner's idea, really trying to be like Christ, practicing The Way, not Churchianity.
I agree with the sentiment, though I think a "back-to-the-basics" mentality is a large part of what brought us to modern fundamentalism in the US. The churches of Christ, born during the late 19th and early 20th century revivals, insist that they are the reincarnation of the first century church... and have pretty much ruled out everyone else as a result.

Not that I think it's a bad idea to strip down our faith of all the cruft; just that we need to make sure what remains is truly Christian.
We should be careful listening to these "siren's songs" that can drift us to dangerous waters with rocks we can't see. We will better off following the advise of God's Word in 2 John 1:10-11 " If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine (Christ doctrine), do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds".
Yeah, I understand what you're saying, and I can agree with that. Do I feel that Christians should go all Amish on ourselves and relive the 1st century church and stay there? No. (I happen to like electricity and I don't have the legs for a girdle/mantel) There's a lot that has changed since then. But think about when Christ came to earth. He rewrote the whole Law into five words: Love God, love your neighbor. (well, there were a few more words, but you get what I'm saying, right?) As humans, we feel the need to find and divide that line between right and wrong. (and I'm not saying that's bad) However, Christ just says "love".

To keep on going with the software theme. Windows 3.1 was awesome in it's time. Useful, innovative, and had the game mahjong. However, times have changed, and we expect a little more out of our OS, but the same basic of usefulness is still desired.

So, if I was to rewrite the software for Christianity (if Christianity was a software), I'd strive for the same basics that is desired: love, joy, peace, patience, etc. (the stuff that is truly Christian) and loose the bloat of hypocrisy, fear (the bad kind, not the fear of God), gossip, etc. (The stuff that we've added "Christian") The same basics, just rewritten to be better, more useful, and of course user-friendly.
There is no Christianity 3.0 -- Jesus was who he was, he means what he means, and we try to understand and practice what we have been told. We are always imperfect in our understanding as well as our practice. The problem with the revivals of the late 19th and early 20the centuries was the arrogant certainty that "we know exactly what Jesus meant." A little humility, recognizing that we don't, exactly, any more than the bishops of Rome do, and trying to come close to the original ecclesia is not a bad idea. There is no atheism 3.0 either. No atheist speaks for another atheist, just as no Christian speaks for another Christian. The ONLY thing all atheists have in common is denial of a creative deity. If an atheist wants to be friendly, that is a "siren song" only if they do so to win believers to abandon their faith. Otherwise, its always good to talk, and to coexist.
"Are we, as believers too quick to judge non-believers instead of reaching out to them?" Yes.

I have many people in my life who are "on a journey" as far as God and especially Christ go. Some believe a little, some don't know what they believe, and some don't believe at all. They don't sway me, because I have Christ, who is my rock. But since they have no "rock," they can and sometimes are swayed by my actions, words, and lifestyle without me beating them over the head with a Bible.

I am not sure what the author was eluding to or what ancient circumstances may have been happening for him to write to his recipient "do not receive him into your house" after stressing the point that we walk in love. Who was he writing it to? It may have been akin to me telling my teens not to hang out with the kids who drink and do drugs. I don't think Christ would have us turn someone away for not sharing our beliefs--I would think he would want us to look at it as an opportunity to minister to them. Anyway, how do you turn your relatives away on Thanksgiving? Isn't it better to look at it as a ministry opportunity? there any proven correlation between extremely high intelligence and Atheism? I find that most non-believers in God are unbelievable smart. Like rocket-scientist smart.

As far as computer programming...I have to punch the top of my monitor in the morning to make it go on. Brett Barner's comment still has my head spinning!
There is truly nothing new under the sun. The Pharisees added to the 10 Commandments ... Christians add to "love God, love others" ... You are right, Brett. The main thing must stay the main thing, and we must understand and deliver the message in a medium that relates to today's seekers. We all want the same thing--love and acceptance that is only genuinely found in Jesus--but if the message is lost in translation (i.e., the medium doesn't match the culture), it does little good.
Wow... Atheists never cease to amaze me! If half the atheists in this world were Christians there wouldn't be any non-believers.. why? Because no one does a better job of convincing themselves of anything as an atheists, just look at this excerpt. But, when you do - don't look at it as a Christian (though I can appreciate the comments about Christianity 3.0) Look at from an objective stand point. Essentially he is saying that to build a better world you should encourage whatever philosophy or religion that agrees with the end result of your own.. sounds more unitarian than atheist. And I am reminded of one of the most powerful 'athiestic' statements i've ever heard - from Penn of Penn and Teller. He said basically that, "If you believe in Heaven and Hell, how much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about how to avoid it." He was using this to describe the hypocrisy of many Christians and lack of evangilism as one of his reasons for being an atheist. This is quite applicable to what this guy is saying, vice versa. How much would you hate someone to let them continue living their life guided by something you know to be completly false - it would be like letting an 80 year old continue to believe in the tooth fairy because it makes them brush their teeth every night. Is that the better world he is looking to build? Full of self-deluded people? Perhaps he is really just trying to setup atheism as another religion? It certainly fits the category of belief in something apparently unbelievable.

One brief comment about Christianity 3.0 - should we be at odds with everyone else about faith and religion or should we love them and accept them they are at? Can't we do both? Jesus did. Yes, He loved everyone and met them exactly where they were at in their lives, but he also called them out of their lies, sins, and incorrect thinking. The new testament is full of Him being challenged and challenging others... some got it, some didn't. Our commision as Christians is to love and speak truth and most of the time in this world that means going against what someone else believes, because like it or not this is not God's world we are living in, it's Satan's and if someone doesn't disagree with us or hate us then we are not doing something right.

God bless!
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