Is Atheism of equal value to Christianity?Does Atheism carry as much spiritual, philosophical and ethical weight as Christianity? Or is it worth less?

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mrtoad eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is important to note that atheism and Christianity are, as we know, two belief systems that are mutually exclusive because one denies the existence of God and the other professes the existence of God.

It is also true that one of these belief systems must be in error as to its profession concerning the existence of God.

If God does not exist, there is no reason for Christians to believe what the Bible reveals to them about God anymore, because the central purpose of the Bible is to show that man's relationship with God will ultimately result in either a real corporeal (as opposed to philosophical or mythological) punishment in hell, or a real, corporeal, eternal life of bliss in heaven.  If God does not exist, then I, as a Christian might as well throw my Bible in the nearest recycling bin, for it is, indeed true that many have led a full and useful life in this world according to many different belief systems including atheism.

The Apostle Paul goes even further, however  He exclaims in 1 Corinthians 15:19, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." If the hist ory of Christ in the New Testament did not happen as recorded by the Apostles and Evangelists. If Christ were not who he claimed to be, the almighty God (John 1:1-3), who secured the forgiveness of sins for all mankind by his holy, innocent suffering and death, and by his resurrection from the dead, then all Christian preaching is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).

In Christian theology, if there is no God, then there is no sin. If there is no sin, there is no punishment in hell (and the ills of this life are also not a result of man's rebellion against God). If there is no punishment in hell by an an angry God because of the transgression of his law, there is no need for a Savior. Without a Savior there is no forgiveness of sins; no peace with God. Without peace with God, there is no moral reason for Christians to do good works to benefit mankind; works which flow from spirits, who, through faith in Jesus, the eternal Son of God, have been renewed in the image of him who created them.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the previous post raises some excellent points.  It is beyond difficult to pose the idea of which value system is superior.  Perhaps, if one offers criteria, then one can determine that in certain cases, one value system meets such standards, and then in another case, another value system meets.  This does not posit a form of relativism, as much as suggesting that different tools are needed for different jobs, and how we value importance becomes as critical as the notion of which value system receives greater primacy.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that by definition atheism carries less weight because it implies the absence of spirituality. How can one be spiritual without believing in some sort of divinity? On the issue of philosophy, I don't think it is possible to consider one belief system as being stronger philosophically than another. With regard to ethics, any belief system can be ethically strong regardless of what religious belief (or lack thereof) is at the center of the system. Ethics has to do with how one treats one's fellow man.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One's religious beliefs must be decided by oneself.   Those decisions imply an assignation of value.  Those who choose to be Christians value Christianity; those who choose to be Atheists value Atheism.  To state that they may be of equal value is a bit like comparing apples and oranges; in this case, an individual is either Christian, or Atheist, but never both simultaneously; one may value one, then the other, and abide by either set of teachings, but these appear to be mutually exclusive.

alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That has to do with one's perspective.  I am sure if your an Athiest, you see it as something that is just as important as those who do believe in a religion. It is the belief of not needing faith in a higher being in order to have acceptance of oneself and the world around you.

frizzyperm | Student

"Is Atheism of equal value to Christianity?"

Not really. 

Christianity is a belief system, it advocates the Christian God. It is one of thousands of belief systems.

Everyone is an atheist about the viking god Thor. Everyone is an atheist about the roman god Zeus. Everyone is an atheist about the ancient persian god Mazda. Etc. Etc. In fact everyone holds atheistic opinions about 99.99% of the world's religions.

So all Religious people insist that 99.99% of the world's religions are false but their personal religious choice is God's living truth. Which doesn't really make sense.

Atheists simply go one god futher than religious believers and say that 100% of the world's religions are false.

xxlinkinparkxx1990 | Student

i think all beliefs are it someone eles place to say wich is more important christanity or atheism? no,it is not,i personally am a wiccan and as such i believe in the earth and my spirtuality is very high,but iam not going to say my system is more important than someone eles you hold your own religeion where u wish it to be,it's like opinions evryone has one.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Neither atheism - that is, belief that is belief that god does not exist, nor theism - that is, belief that god exists, have no special claim to being spiritual, philosophical and ethical. People who burnt Saint Joan at the stakes, and the people associated with Spanish Inquisition, were most probably theist, bust most certainly they don't appear to very much ethical.

Similarly if philosophy can be considerd as attempt to seek real truth, then people who refuse to look beyond the truth and knowledge as defined by just a few books written some hundreds or even thousands of years back do not appear to be seeking truth.

It is worthwhile to remember that great religious souls such as Christ and Buddha themselves rejected many of the established religious beliefs of their time. They all emphasized the importance of being a good person rather than just following rituals of religion.

epollock | Student

Anyone's belief system carries just as much weight as anyone else's. It is impossible to know during the course of one's life, "Who was right?" A person's belief system can guide them through all sorts of low points and high points regardless of what they believe in.

Whether one believes in evolution or intelligent design, people an have very successful, fruitful, and productive lives.  I have friends who believe in almost all of the world's religions and we gotten along just great over the years.