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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › New book that says that myths are useful to atheists!

New book that says that myths are useful to atheists!

Anyse J.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 105
Here I go again! This article from Religion hits a point that I have been bringing up time and time again. In this interview with Adam Kotsko, a "Christian atheist" as he calls himself. he answers questions about his new book "Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation."

You can read the entire interview here:


There is one thing that I would like to point out that he states about Christianity and the biblical literature and philosophy. He cites the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pointing out that the mythology of Christianity can be used without the need for God at all. Here is the end of this interview in which he deals with this issue:

Another of the interesting moves you make is you effectively leave the anthropomorphic God “in place,” which is a definite contrast to the attempts to deconstruct the God of metaphysics in the work of philosophers like Jean-Luc Marion and Richard Kearney. What was the rationale for leaving God in place?

I took my cue from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who has argued that we have to accept the metaphysical parts of Christianity. This is against the work of Bultmann who in his reading attempts to rehabilitate Christianity by cutting out the bits that seem credible to contemporary people.

Bonhoeffer says basically to leave the myth in place, but what we need to do is remove the religious framework through which we interpret it. So we’re not necessarily talking about God, we’re talking about human beings. My reading is relevant to our concerns in our world, and not primarily about salvation or the Church. I object to the de-mythologizing approach in that it’s fundamentally arbitrarily and that it always has Christianity and theology in retreat. It’s trying to be acceptable to a liberal audience, and it’s doomed to be unpersuasive. You’re basically admitting what you’re saying is irrelevant. So I think preserving the text as is but with a different framework is a better approach.

So is it possible to have atonement if we deconstruct the idea of God?

I think it’s possible to have redemption, and have change and transformation in the way we relate to the world and each other. I don’t think that requires God.

I persoanlly know that mythology, symbolism and metaphors in the literary work of any mythology is informative for each of us. We can learn from all mythology. However, we have to update the myths in our own minds to match up with our current society, technology and development. All stories are instructive. We should not dismiss all myths and stories out of hand; however, we have to be ready to accept them as they are and then to take them and bend them to our own needs and understanding of the world around us.
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