Can an Atheist be more Christian than a Christian?

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Often you might hear it said that among the virtues of Christianity are prudence, justice, restraint, courage, faith, hope, and love. But are these virtues limited to Christians alone? I like to think my life’s experience and a lifetime of good mentors and learning from both good and bad decisions has equipped me with the first four. These are the sorts of virtues that help me rate high on performance reviews with my employer, so I must be doing something right.

But what about the last three? Faith, hope, and love.

I know ‘faith’ is a virtue that many if not most atheists quickly dismiss, but the more I ponder it, the more I find some reason to have faith. For instance, I have faith in the ability of science to provide quality explanations for the universe around me. I have faith in my team as a unit to achieve our goals at my job. And I have faith in my fellow man to ultimately come through and do what’s right.

Not all things can be explained by science. I realize this. But its the best source of knowledge we have.

Not all of my team-members perform as well as others. Individually they’ve got their quirks, but they work together well and their unique individual qualities comprise a much greater whole.

Not all of my fellow men are righteous. And I don’t mean “righteous” in the eyes of any supernatural deity, rather righteous toward humanity. But, for every knot-head I’ve ever met, I can name three wonderful people. I suspect we all can.

So it fascinates me to watch a Christian act the fool when it comes to his bigotry toward atheists. I’m reminded of some ancient parable in a fable which cautions against casting the first stone. And you might not be surprised that the stone being cast is by the otherwise very nice Christian (I’m sure) Jim West at Zwinglius Redivivus has, in the last couple of days, made some sideways remarks about atheists. He’s not worried for atheists “souls” (whatever those are) or their fates in the afterworld. Not in the least. West clearly has a hatred for atheists.

Yesterday he writes “if an atheist died in the woods, would anyone care?” It was under the tag of “humor,” but such a joke reveals more than it laughs.

Today he weighs in with a new post taking a pot-shot at atheists. He writes, “It isn’t that atheists think too little of God; the problem is, they think too highly of themselves.” That’s it. That’s the entire post. No elaboration or discussion from the blogger. He leaves that to another who follows on with several choice and smug, but derogatory, remarks about atheists. One is left to wonder what it means to “think too highly” of oneself.

Indeed, it assumes that Christians don’t think themselves special, chosen, destined, “blessed,” or otherwise set apart from “others.”

Christians like Jim West make atheists look good when their bigotry shines through so easily. Unfortunate for Christians, I suppose. Unfortunate for humanity to be sure.

Still, I have faith in him. I think West must be a good man who lets the atheism of others trouble him too much. He sure isn’t exposing many Christian virtues in his blog when it comes to his bigoted remarks about atheists.

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