Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How come SD's atheist blogger gets it (and the oldline church leaders don't?)

Apprised of a Nebraska Unitarian preacher's proclamation of atheism, Cory Heidelberger agrees but also asks,

"But church, as I understand it from my outsider's position, isn't about good conversation. You can certainly have good conversation at church, but church is about getting the Good News, and the Good News is the God News. You go to a church service to acknowledge and worship the Deity. A church can certainly host a speaker or a panel discussion on atheism or Judaism or Islam, but that's not a worship service. That's... something else."

Some will recall the widely reported retort by atheist Christopher Hitchens when confronted with the arguments of a "liberal Christian,"

"I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian."

Liberal Protestantism, despite its social justice stylings, runs on the old fumes of state religion. It believes itself capable of finding least common denominators that will let it speak as a kind of national chaplaincy. But it winds up at a distance from those it seeks to unify. Orthodox Christians aren't attracted to its claims that they are uninformed and unthinking; atheists are not turned on by its vague "spiritual" claims that evaporate in the face of intellectual inquiry.

Chris Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal frequently headlines his posts about LibProts "Laodiceans," recalling Christ's warning to the church in that city,

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."


caheidelberger said...

Having an in-house theologian helps a lot. ;-)

TLF+ said...

Not just an in house theologian (although that's the max) - at that blogger bash God even sent you an underwater theologian!

Tregonsee said...

When I said farewell to TEC, I had a long conversation with the priest. It was hard because he was someone who I like and respected for many reasons, even though he was in favor of +VGR and much that is going on. My point was that churches were about God and salvation. The social work is important, but definitely secondary. He chuckled when I said that if I just wanted friendship and the opportunity to do good works, I could certainly find places that didn't want 10% of your gross. We parted friends, and I think it was painful for both of us.

The Archer of the Forest said...

Can't say I am surprised. I went to a service one time at the Unitarian church in Omaha out of curiosity many years ago. I don't know if this minister emeritus was the preacher or now, but if it wasn't, it was certainly one of his disciples. There was a lovely slide show about some plains grasses with running pseudo-theological commentary that could only have made logical sense if you were smashed. At the coffee hour afterward, I asked the minister if the Unitarian church actually believed anything definitively. He thought for a while and finally said in all seriousness, "No, not really."

The Underground Pewster said...


That part about not knowing is a recurring theme in our adult Sunday school (at which the rector acknowledges those claims). That is one reason why I joined the choir.

Matthew said...

One of the many reasons why church attendance is dropping in the mainline churches is that they can not justify attending them. All that is left is habit and the habit is not something that passes from generation to generation.

Truth does pass from one generation to another, but the revisionists already admit that don't have it.

Alice C. Linsley said...

The Apostles were in complete agreement on this: to be saved you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world to save sinners and you must repent. This doesn't fit the framework of either Atheism or Unitarianism. Sadly, there are people in the Christian churches who have their doubts about who Jesus is.