Journalist Julie Burchill: For the love of Christ

Today, atheism is big business with the success of books like The God Delusion. If you want to get ahead, be a heretic! Something, however, has been lost. Say the word “atheist” 100 years ago and it conjured up a vision of sexy, freewheeling rebels celebrating life, love and creativity in their rejection of a higher power. Say it now and a vision of fun-hating killjoys, desperately scared that somewhere a Christian is having a good time by singing lustily in church on a Sunday morning, comes to mind. And, sadly, the alleged “humanist morality” never happened – to this day, 80% of all unpaid and unself-interested voluntary and charity work is faith-driven.

From For the love of Christ.

Thanks to Quixote for pointing me toward this article. I wasn’t familiar with Ms. Burchill before today, but I’ve looked back on a couple of earlier articles. She certainly has an interesting persepctive on things, and a way with words. She also seems to understand that being a Christian means something beyond finding personal peace (which, coincidentally, appears the direct opposite of what my oldest son heard in the church he attended this morning), as she states in her opening paragraph:

First of all, let me tell you what this isn’t. It’s not some “I-was-lost-and-now-I’m-found” sob story. These days, many people reach out to faith “to find peace”. I had too much peace in my life already. In faith, I was looking to be troubled – on behalf of other people. Every film and pop starlet, trawling after a reason to exist, says, “I’m not religious – but I am spiritual”. I don’t have a spiritual bone in my body; but what I am, is religious. I believe, literally, in the God of the Old Testament, whom I understand as the Lord of the Jews and the Protestants. I’m a Christian Zionist, as well as a Christian feminist and a Christian socialist. But over the past two decades, almost without me knowing it, the Christian part has become the most important.

I haven’t yet figured out what her “Christian Zionist” thing is, and how that fits with her Christian socialism. But, she has a perspective on things that is not what we usually hear, and I appreciate that.

4 thoughts on “Journalist Julie Burchill: For the love of Christ”

  1. I wonder if this is why we are considered “killjoys.” From Daylight Atheist; http://www.daylightatheism.org/2008/08/imaginary-virtues.html

    “Again in modern times, we see parallels in the imaginary virtue of “defending traditional marriage”. Organized religious groups have worked their hardest to write anti-gay bigotry into law, to shut gays and lesbians out from receiving the many benefits afforded to heterosexual couples. Just like the organized religious groups a generation earlier, who tried their best to enact similar measures against interracial couples, the anti-gay crusaders have convinced themselves that doing this is a virtuous act that furthers God’s will.”

    See, we are trying to prevent people from having the fun of religiously motivated bigotry enforced by the secular powers. And some people just don’t like us for it.

  2. “Say it now and a vision of fun-hating killjoys, desperately scared that somewhere a Christian is having a good time by singing lustily in church on a Sunday morning, comes to mind.”

    People stereotype each other way too much, and it’s one of the main things that my mother taught me should not be done. I don’t see anything wrong with pointing out when I have been insulted, nor do I deny when I have been insulting.

    The statement “if you want to get ahead, be a heretic” is also rather ironic. There were four big best-selling books written by celebrated atheists over the last two years.

    Contrast that with the tripe written by, say, Rick Warren Joel Osteen, Beverly LaHaye, etc. They have a huge built in audience and they churn out book after book of self-help recycled bromides.

    Another great way to get rich is to create a mega-church and tell people they must tithe, then buy books, attend seminars, etc etc in order to prosper through God’s blessings. Now, I know you find them as disgusting as I do, but my point is that atheism is not the path to riches for anyone except the few.

    And we are still freewheeling and sexy. Perhaps it is just that now we are struggling to return to s secular society and government that makes people think that we are killjoys.

    The 80% of charity figure that she uses may or may not be true, but it is irrelevant considering that there are far fewer of us than members of churches. Ten % I think is the approximation. We don’t do our charity through atheist organizations as much as church-goers do through their churches. I don’t self-identify as an atheist when i do a large part of my community volunteering but she implies that we just aren’t community-minded and takes some smug self-satisfaction out of that.

    We don’t have a problem with people singing lustily in church, either. We enjoy lust.

    And my nerves are raw considering the blindness of the leaders of the Democratic Party to the concerns of secularists (only a small percentage of secularists are atheists, you know.)

  3. I’m curious… what do you find insulting? Also, explain your comment about stereotypes? I’ve really not paid that much attention to atheists to be aware of any stereotypes.

    And, from one idealogue to another, life is a whole lot easier if you simply ignore things like stereotyping. Being offended takes way too much energy. (and believe me, Christians are stereotyped worse than anyone…)

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