April 24, 2008

Progressive Christians: Allies in Opposing Christian Extremism

They may spend more time bemoaning the "evils" of secularism when someone gives them a microphone, but Christian extremists also view progressive Christians as their enemies. Many go so far as to call them "fake Christians" even though it is usually their politics on which the disagreement centers. We atheists must be careful about not lumping all Christians together. In a fairly religious country such as the United States, we can find important allies against Christian extremism among many in the so-called Christian left.

I am no longer surprised to discover that I have more in common with some progressive Christians than I do with some atheists, including certain atheist bloggers who will remain nameless. Yes, there are some truly good people out there who contribute to the progressive Christian blogosphere and who would make fine allies in many of the struggles in which atheists are engaged. For some noteworthy examples, check out A Religious Liberal Blog and CrossLeft.

Many progressive Christians believe in maintaining separation of church and state, and they generally have as little respect for Christian extremism as we do. Sure, it would be nice if they would speak out more against it, but some are. Besides, I value their contributions in other areas, such as social justice and the environment.

I know that some atheists, including me at times, have trouble with people who believe absurdities. This can be an obstacle to be sure, and there are others. However, I think there are many ways we can work with progressive Christians to accomplish shared goals without getting bogged down in trying to convert one another. Making the world a better place is a worthwhile enough goal that we should be able to get beyond one's motives for wanting to do so.

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