The Useful Delusion of Christian Belief

by J Warner Wallace

My father taught me how to attend church as a non-believer. He did it for many years in many different contexts with both his kids and grand kids. He was willing to attend Catholic Mass as a non-believer with my mother in the early 1960’s, and he did it again with his second family at the LDS church near his home. He attended Methodist services with my grandparents and Baptist services with my sister-in-law. He also attended the church I pastor several times. He even served once with us on a service project. He sang the songs  and sat quietly during the prayers. If you didn’t know better, you would swear he was a believer. But as a happy atheist, he rejected Christianity (and Mormonism) while he simultaneously embraced these two religions. He rejected their claims related to the existence of God while embracing them as useful delusions. He liked the impact these religions had on his children, and for that he continues to be grateful.

In 2010, John Steinrucken wrote an article at The American Thinker entitled “Secularism’s Ongoing Debt to Christianity“. Many Christians have commented on this article because Steinrucken, as a committed atheist, acknowledged the debt that secularists have to the Judeo-Christian culture in America.

“Rational thought may provide better answers to many of life’s riddles than does faith alone. However, it is rational to conclude that religious faith has made possible the advancement of Western civilization. That is, the glue that has held Western civilization together over the centuries is the Judeo-Christian tradition. To the extent that the West loses its religious faith in favor of non-judgmental secularism, then to the same extent, it loses that which holds all else together.

Succinctly put: Western civilization’s survival, including the survival of open secular thought, depends on the continuance within our society of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

Steinrucken acknowledged what my father has always believed. As an atheist, my father embraces my Christian values wholeheartedly, even while he rejects the God from whom these values come. He served for nearly thirty years in the same occupation  in which I have served and now the same profession where his namesake, my son, proudly serves. All of us are cops. Yet my father still fails to see that his love of the law is ungrounded (and therefore unfounded) as an atheist. Steinrucken seems to understand the secular moral dilemma…

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The Useful Delusion of Christian Belief | Cold Case Christianity