Christian Nihilism

5wize

Well-known member
It is not a secret that the Christian religion is an apocalyptic religion that waits for the end times. In the Christian worldview, creation seems a meaningless waste. The world was never created for human learning and/or experience, even before the fall. God wanted none of that. There were only 2 meaningful actions ever introduced to comport oneself to, the first one having failed generated the other. Don’t eat the fruit of knowledge, and having failed that, salvation by grace.

Doesn’t matter how smart, dumb, sinful, or righteous you are. It doesn’t matter that the world is teeming with empirical activity, love and war, social thriving and demise, family, community, discovery, interest, health, depression, hope, recovery, happiness, experiences of all types and people of all beliefs, colors and thoughts. All sound and fury signifying nothing as it all boiled down to only 2 rules and no purposes offered for any of this outside of that.

How does a Christian find meaning in it?
 
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Whateverman

Well-known member
It's funny that you post this. A few days ago, I had to ask ReformedGuy if he was a Christian Nihilist - which was followed by me spending some time with Google, Wikipedia and a web browser to look up some history.

He was obviously trying to pretend not to find any meaning in this world, as if that's what all atheists believe, but he was pretty persistent about it - and in the end, he didn't say ANYTHING that was inconsistent with nihilism. A fence-sitter watching the discussion might even have mistaken ME for the Christian and him as the atheist.

Stiggy's childish prank, too.

Anyhow, I agree that Christian doctrine boils down to a nearly meaningless existence here on earth, other than slavish devotion and repentance. It's not hard to find Christians who find meaning in earthly things, but even the thoughtful ones don't seem to be able to chalk it up to anything that is supported by scripture; they find meaning here independent of what the bible says.
 

5wize

Well-known member
It's funny that you post this. A few days ago, I had to ask ReformedGuy if he was a Christian Nihilist - which was followed by me spending some time with Google, Wikipedia and a web browser to look up some history.

He was obviously trying to pretend not to find any meaning in this world, as if that's what all atheists believe, but he was pretty persistent about it - and in the end, he didn't say ANYTHING that was inconsistent with nihilism. A fence-sitter watching the discussion might even have mistaken ME for the Christian and him as the atheist.

Stiggy's childish prank, too.

Anyhow, I agree that Christian doctrine boils down to a nearly meaningless existence here on earth, other than slavish devotion and repentance. It's not hard to find Christians who find meaning in earthly things, but even the thoughtful ones don't seem to be able to chalk it up to anything that is supported by scripture; they find meaning here independent of what the bible says.
I know. They seem to derive pleasure in life the exact same way we do, but deny the reason to us because we don't claim to live on forever, and ever, and ever after death.... so they feel there is no legitimacy to our claim of meaning in this world as a result of not believing in spiritual immortality.

It's a total non-sequitur.
 

docphin5

Active member
It is not a secret that the Christian religion is an apocalyptic religion that waits for the end times. In the Christian worldview, creation seems a meaningless waste. The world was never created for human learning and/or experience, even before the fall. God wanted none of that. There were only 2 meaningful actions ever introduced to comport oneself to, the first one having failed generated the other. Don’t eat the fruit of knowledge, and having failed that, salvation by grace.
You don’t believe this anymore than I do but it will likely provoke a response, if that was your intent.

Doesn’t matter how smart, dumb, sinful, or righteous you are. It doesn’t matter that the world is teeming with empirical activity, love and war, social thriving and demise, family, community, discovery, interest, health, depression, hope, recovery, happiness, experiences of all types and people of all beliefs, colors and thoughts. All sound and fury signifying nothing as it all boiled down to only 2 rules and no purposes offered for any of this outside of that.

How does a Christian find meaning in it?
I find meaning in this life the same way you do, in my family, and my friends. I also enjoyed my professional accomplishments before retirement. I think most Christians in the world feel the same. Maybe not on this forum, because there is likely a selection bias for Christians on this forum to emphasize the differences rather than appreciate what is common between them and a-theists.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
You don’t believe this anymore than I do but it will likely provoke a response, if that was your intent.
We're not talking about whether we personally believe it; we don't subscribe to the Christian worldview, and thus we CAN'T possibly believe it.

I think that it can be argued that God's creation - from a biblical and doctrinal standpoint - had no real purpose. God created it knowing it would self-corrupt, but rather than accuse God of having created it for the purpose of causing suffering, I think it's more polite to say that it simply does nothing productive. It's not necessary for the purpose of bringing people closer to God, because He can just whisk us away to Heaven before we're born, and before this fallen creation has a chance to corrupt us. It's not necessary for bringing glory to God, because A) it's a corrupted Creation, and B) we can sing God's praises just as easily in Heaven.

I recognize that you're not a typical Christian, so when I refer to the Christian worldview, I'm not referring to yours - which obviously does incorporate elements of Christianity.
 

Authentic Nouveau

Well-known member
Everytime atheists post garbage, I go to my memory for a verse that is the opposite and look it up and paste it.

2 Peter 3:8-10

8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If you are willing to perish, you can.

Your strawmanning is ignorant according to GOD.
 

docphin5

Active member
We're not talking about whether we personally believe it; we don't subscribe to the Christian worldview, and thus we CAN'T possibly believe it.

I think that it can be argued that God's creation - from a biblical and doctrinal standpoint - had no real purpose. God created it knowing it would self-corrupt, but rather than accuse God of having created it for the purpose of causing suffering, I think it's more polite to say that it simply does nothing productive. It's not necessary for the purpose of bringing people closer to God, because He can just whisk us away to Heaven before we're born, and before this fallen creation has a chance to corrupt us. It's not necessary for bringing glory to God, because A) it's a corrupted Creation, and B) we can sing God's praises just as easily in Heaven.

I recognize that you're not a typical Christian, so when I refer to the Christian worldview, I'm not referring to yours - which obviously does incorporate elements of Christianity.
I think what I was trying to say is that most people who call themselves Christians live their lives just like you do and probably don’t give much thought to the doctrines. It is only here in these forums where contrasts are magnified between people of different faiths or even no faiths. At the end of the day we all bleed the same.
 

The Pixie

Active member
Everytime atheists post garbage, I go to my memory for a verse that is the opposite and look it up and paste it.

2 Peter 3:8-10
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If you are willing to perish, you can.

Your strawmanning is ignorant according to GOD.
Where would religion be without the promise of jam tomorrow?
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
I think what I was trying to say is that most people who call themselves Christians live their lives just like you do and probably don’t give much thought to the doctrines. It is only here in these forums where contrasts are magnified between people of different faiths or even no faiths. At the end of the day we all bleed the same.
All of that is true; all of it.

Speaking for myself, there's a massive disconnect between what many Christians say they believe and how they act. Some will preach the bible as their source for morality, but then make moral judgements based on... stuff that clearly isn't in the bible. Or they'll talk about the need to avoid sin, right before going on to lie about what some person just said. I know I'm preaching to the choir here...

That disconnect is what I think this thread is about - and I really should let @5wize do more of the talking. I can't see how God gives anything meaning, beyond rote obedience and reverence, and the reality is that Christians find meaning in much the same things as atheists do. You wouldn't know this if all you did was listen to people like Stiggywiggy and Reformedguy. They want everyone to believe they get a purpose for their lives from a sky daddy.
 

Komodo

Active member
Fred Clark (who is very definitely a Christian) says very much the same thing in his most recent "Slactivist" blog:

The transparent malarkey of Q-Anon and the thinly veiled white supremacist hate of Kraken conspiracism are, indeed, the natural flowering of the bonkers ideologies embedded in [Hal] Lindsey’s and [Mike] Warnke’s fantasies, related expressions of what [James] McGrath rightly identifies as a toxic “spiritual pride.”

I think it’s also a predictable result of the nihilism force-fed to those young white Christians back in that youth group. And let’s be clear: that is what you are teaching when you tell a teenager, in 1985, to read a book called The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon and telling them they must believe every word of it. You’re teaching them that nothing means anything, that nothing matters, that nothing is true or good or beautiful or real.

That would have been the case even if any of Lindsey’s “prophecies” had been anything close to accurate and we had been able to fully believe the things that Lindsey and our teachers believed. We were being taught, and we were learning, that our lives, the lives of others, and the universe entire had no meaning except in its annihilation. We were being taught the futility of hope for anything other than that annihilation — that we should regard “Armageddon” as good news, as the best possible news. Attachment to this reality, we were told, was pointless, and thereby we were being groomed and trained to become detached from reality.

While some of our fellow Cold War kids went Goth, scarring their arms with ballpoint tats reading “No Future,” we were being taught an even weirder, darker ideology that saw “No Future” and everything they feared — nuclear Holocaust, environmental catastrophe, a deadly epidemic unacknowledged by our churches and leaders — as cause for cheer. Train your children to think of mass-death as good and thrilling and they’ll grow up to be the kind of people who simultaneously deny and celebrate a global pandemic.

But there was a second, subtler and more pernicious way that our Hal Lindsey syllabus was teaching us that truth was illusion and nothing means anything. Because at the same time we were being taught to believe in an imminent Rapture and a final cataclysmic Armageddon within the decade, we were also being told to study hard for that final exam because if we didn’t keep our grades up senior year, we wouldn’t be able to go to a good college, and if we didn’t go to a good college, we wouldn’t be able to get a good job, and if we didn’t get a good job we’d never be able to provide for our children or ensure our financial security in retirement.

None of this talk about the future — college, careers, children, grandchildren — was presented to us as contingent. It wasn’t a matter of “But just in case the Bible prophecy scholars are wrong and the Lord tarries, then you’ll need a Plan B.” It was, instead, a constant yet constantly unacknowledged contradiction. And what that contradiction taught us was that the things we believed or claimed to believe didn’t matter — that the substance of our “beliefs” did not need to correspond to reality or to affect the reality of our lives in any meaningful way.
 

docphin5

Active member
All of that is true; all of it.

Speaking for myself, there's a massive disconnect between what many Christians say they believe and how they act. Some will preach the bible as their source for morality, but then make moral judgements based on... stuff that clearly isn't in the bible. Or they'll talk about the need to avoid sin, right before going on to lie about what some person just said. I know I'm preaching to the choir here...

That disconnect is what I think this thread is about - and I really should let @5wize do more of the talking. I can't see how God gives anything meaning, beyond rote obedience and reverence, and the reality is that Christians find meaning in much the same things as atheists do.
we all find meaning in the same things: family, friends, careers, etc. some people add religion to the mix. The one thing God adds is the occasional word of instruction, encouragement, and inspiration. I have had those experiences which changed the direction of my life at times. I cannot bottle it for evaluation and it is not often but it is an important part of my life. It is what motivated me to critically analyze what I believed and investigate the origins of my faith Because I knew there had to be an explanation for that thing that speaks to me every now and then, like a friend, sometimes at important crossroads in my life. If it wasn’t for that I probably would be an a-theist By now. It is my connection to something other than this life, this world.

You wouldn't know this if all you did was listen to people like Stiggywiggy and Reformedguy. They want everyone to believe they get a purpose for their lives from a sky daddy.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Everytime atheists post garbage, I go to my memory for a verse that is the opposite and look it up and paste it.

2 Peter 3:8-10​

8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If you are willing to perish, you can.

Your strawmanning is ignorant according to GOD.
Where would religion be without the promise of jam tomorrow?
Add on top of nihilism a splash of narcissism.
 

docphin5

Active member
Fred Clark (who is very definitely a Christian) says very much the same thing in his most recent "Slactivist" blog:
I grew up reading the Hal Lindsey "prophecys" and the rapture theories but it did not make me a nihilist and I would not characterize those messages as "toxic" or "spiritual pride". To me, it was promoting Jesus as a supernatural life jacket when the plane crashes in the ocean kind of thing: Hang on to this because you are going to need it. Yeah, it doesn't make sense now but it did not make me bad. I don't know who Fred Clark is but he definitely has a different recollection of christianity than I have. It makes me wonder all these people blogging on the internet, how many of them write crap just to provoke others, or play victim, or get attention.
 

5wize

Well-known member
All of that is true; all of it.

Speaking for myself, there's a massive disconnect between what many Christians say they believe and how they act. Some will preach the bible as their source for morality, but then make moral judgements based on... stuff that clearly isn't in the bible. Or they'll talk about the need to avoid sin, right before going on to lie about what some person just said. I know I'm preaching to the choir here...

That disconnect is what I think this thread is about - and I really should let @5wize do more of the talking. I can't see how God gives anything meaning, beyond rote obedience and reverence, and the reality is that Christians find meaning in much the same things as atheists do. You wouldn't know this if all you did was listen to people like Stiggywiggy and Reformedguy. They want everyone to believe they get a purpose for their lives from a sky daddy.
No... your fine... let it rip. All angles invited. My emphasis is slightly different in the post, more of a corollary to what you are onto. My emphasis is on the flip side of how we all obviously find meaning in our day to day to the irony expressed by fundies that atheism offers no meaning to life when a lack of meaning to life is baked into the Christian belief as a core ingredient. The blindness to their projection of their own meaningless philosophy of life onto us is beyond irony. Makes you wonder why they are anti-abortion and not standing in line for their hemlock given they have secured a cloud and a harp by grace. Cash that ticket in! Your sitting on the winning lottery ticket.
 
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5wize

Well-known member
Fred Clark (who is very definitely a Christian) says very much the same thing in his most recent "Slactivist" blog:
Interesting closing thoughts in that post concerning the dichotomy of a useless damned world, and don't forget to keep your SAT scores up! I always suspected that many Christians deep deep down didn't really believe what they were thumping on about anyway.
 

docphin5

Active member
No... your fine... let it rip. All angles invited. My emphasis is slightly different in the post, more of a corollary to what you are onto. My emphasis is on the flip side of how we all obviously find meaning in our day to day to the irony expressed by fundies that atheism offers no meaning to life when a lack of meaning to life is baked into the Christian belief as a core ingredient.
My guess is that fundies are just repeating the talking points provided from their apologetics lessons. No mature Christian lives a life, raises kids, works at a career, pays bills, goes to church...you know, basically survive, then turn around and tell a nonreligious person doing all the same things that their life has no meaning. Seriously? That is what life is about...all those things and trying to do them right, as best we can.

The blindness to their projection of their own meaningless philosophy of life onto us is beyond irony. Makes you wonder why they are anti-abortion and not standing in line for their hemlock given they have secured a cloud and a harp by grace. Cash that ticket in! Your sitting on the winning lottery ticket out of this mess.
 

docphin5

Active member
Interesting closing thoughts in that post concerning the dichotomy of a useless damned world, and don't forget to keep your SAT scores up! I always suspected that many Christians deep deep down didn't really believe what they were thumping on about anyway.
If I may ask a personal question, why are you so anti-religious? I can understand someone critically questioning doctrines and beliefs but you seem to hold something personal against religion. Did you have a bad experience with religion? a religious person? Just curious. It may be none of my business. Most of my experiences with religious people/organizations have been positive.
 
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5wize

Well-known member
My guess is that fundies are just repeating the talking points provided from their apologetics lessons. No mature Christian lives a life, raises kids, works at a career, pays bills, goes to church...you know, basically survive, then turn around and tell a nonreligious person doing all the same things that their life has no meaning. Seriously? That is what life is about...all those things and trying to do them right, as best we can.
I know. It seems that for many of them that their proselytizing is beyond even their own sense of reason and wanders into the realm of just some mental submission chess game they have to win to see how many orcs like them they can create.
 

docphin5

Active member
I know. It seems that for many of them that their proselytizing is beyond even their own sense of reason and wanders into the realm of just some mental submission chess game they have to win to see how many orcs like them they can create.
I am guilty of it myself. I used to witness to my friends as a teenager and I did missionary work in my early 20's. Part of it was due to the church promoting evangelism and part of it was due to a movie I saw about starving African kids in Mozambique. I just wanted to help them anyway I could. Ended up in an NGO Christian organization transporting food into Mozambique, and building a school. We held church services in tobacco barns. My intentions were good even if my theology, in hindsight, was not perfect.
 

5wize

Well-known member
If I may ask a personal question, why are you so anti-religious? I can understand someone critically questioning doctrines and beliefs but you seem to hold something personal against religion. Did you have a bad experience with religion? a religious person? Just curious. It may be none of my business.
No, that's fine. Fair question. I was one of those kids that read the stories and thought, without coaching, that they were just awful. But the constant directed harping and peer pressure and authority pressure was deafening and suppressive. And then within my extended family there was Hinduism, spiritualism, Atherian Society, Self Realization Fellowship, New Age Spiritualism, Ramtha, Channeling... blah, blah, blah.....

I could see, at a very early age that just about every one of these adults were either "crazy aunt" deluded or playing an angle. But at least they were being creative. When you got to the orthodox religion that surrounded me (private religious school for me until guess what!?? yeah, I got kicked out), you even become stripped of that heretical creativity.

What a ride they all tried to take me on. Then I started listening to the horsemen and Sean Carroll and many others. That led me to the classics, Hume, Locke, etc.... I listened to the horsemen next to debates with Sye Ten Bruggencatte, Darth Dawkins, William Lane Craig and Lennox. What an absolute intellectual difference.

Then it came down to the fact that in a predominantly Christian culture the horror of conscious eternal damnation and torture is massaged into the societal fabric as a given and I had to go through it all again as the cloaked ghosts of these superstitious ancient worshipers echoed in the ears of my own kids.
 
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