Christianity Doesn't Exist

Column by Rev. Brandan Robertson on 30 May 2024 0 Comments

Christianity doesn’t exist. Christianity has never existed. These might seem like radical statements, but they are objectively true. For the past 2,000 years, there has never been a singular, united, global religion called “Christianity,” but rather millions of variations of a spirituality rooted in the person of Jesus that most scholars now refer to as “Christianities.”

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Is not Atheism just the rejection of Supernatural Theism or belief in a God in the Sky? Are there not alternatives such as Pantheism or Panentheism, which more closely reflect people’s personal experience of the Sacred and within which the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth provide guidance?


Dear Richard,

That is a truly interesting question. In my experience most of the atheists I've met or engaged with on social media do in fact reject God as understood as the god of supernatural theism. They reject the notion there is a God that is transcendent from the earth, that dwells in the sky, that is anthropomorphized - typically as a muscular man on a cloud; and that can intervene in worldly affairs in ways that defy the laws of physics. In other words, they reject a sky daddy who makes miracles happen according to capricious divine fiat. They reject an omnipotent god who allows horrible things to take place on earth. As a progressive Christian, I am an atheist to that god as well. It's untenable and non-sensible.

I know of one fellow progressive Christian who identifies as being an atheist - and yet when pressed, that person seems to actually embrace panentheism  - understanding God as fully immanent within all Creation as well as fully transcendent from Creation, and who is not all powerful, and the power that God does have is persuasive, not coercive. Such a view squares well with the concept of God described by the apostle Paul as "the One in Whom we live and move and have our being." This view of God is far more compelling to many progressive Christians. Like you, I would say that both pantheism and panentheism are forms of theism. In the same way that we likely reject the assertion that atonement is synonymous with the penal/substitutionary theory of the atonement; we reject the notion that theism is synonymous with supernatural theism. There is much diverse variety within those concepts.

That said, I have met a few atheists who also reject even panentheism so there are atheists who reject all forms of theism. I will say that one such person has been perhaps softening things. He's an airline pilot who has shared with me about certain seemingly mystical experiences he's had when flying a plane. "God" works in mysterious ways. ; )

~ Rev. Roger Wolsey




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