Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Portrait of a serious atheist

By Peter Sellick - posted Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The time is past for the Church to wield morality as its own justification. My serious atheist will keep his or her own counsel and live a moral life. If he is in moral danger it is often that he takes it too seriously because he is too responsible.

The Church, in its arrogance, thinks that it has something that everyone needs. But when we look at popular Christian piety or even the piety of the clergy, we often find a shallow thing. I came across this remarkable sentence in Miskotte that describes what needs to be given up by Christian believers:

That God does not have a Being which is analogous to our being, that the Word is not a mystical experience, that faith is not an experience and not even something that man is capable of, that God cannot be thought of as substance, that Gods' work cannot be conceived as causality, that holy history cannot be thought of as a process - all these gravely passionate negations are simply inherent in the fundamental structure of the bible.


He goes on to say that anyone who cannot grasp and own this sentence cannot have any relationship with the given and that their "objective intellect is bottomlessly subjective." Here we find where my serious atheist come from, he lives in reaction to a faith that is incapable of grasping the real, a faith that is self-delusion, a faith whose end must be nihilism. He sees that stoicism is better and I am inclined to agree. Thus, a conversation between the serious atheist and church people who are insulated against the harsh realities of life cannot occur. This is where the evangelism of the Church grinds to a halt.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. Page 2
  4. All

I owe inspiration for this essay to Kornelis Miskotte's book "When the Gods are Silent" (1967).

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

32 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Peter Sellick an Anglican deacon working in Perth with a background in the biological sciences. He has a website called Coondle Art Presentations.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Peter Sellick

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Peter Sellick
Article Tools
Comment 32 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy