"Cultural Christian"?
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08-11-2013, 10:49 PM (This post was last modified: 08-11-2013 10:57 PM by PoolBoyG.)
"Cultural Christian"?
Can someone explain this concept to me? Dawkins called himself one, but I didn't get any solid definition.

So what does that label mean? And does it apply to you? I think there might be an issue with how people define "culture" and "christianity".
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08-11-2013, 10:58 PM
RE: "Cultural Christian"?
Quote:A cultural Christian is a secular or nonreligious individual who still significantly identifies with Christian culture due to family background, personal experiences, or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up.
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Christian

I still don't understand why the hell a person would call themselves this.

Reading through the wikipedia article, it seems to be using it differently than Dawkins must've meant it. It seems to be talking about people who aren't really into religion, but maybe they go along with it for social reasons. Maybe by going to church or something. I can't see how Dawkins fits that definition. I mean, what parts of "christian culture" are people like Dawkins identifying with?

This confuses me a lot.
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08-11-2013, 11:00 PM
RE: "Cultural Christian"?
Also see "American" or "Republican". A lot of people don't thing for themselves. They let themselves be informed by their surrounding "culture" and just accept that it's the correct way to think, behave, be.

It's not that they truly believe anything, it's just what people do. Herd mentality.




But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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08-11-2013, 11:01 PM (This post was last modified: 08-11-2013 11:06 PM by sporehux.)
RE: "Cultural Christian"?
Simply means the norm for the group of people / comunity you were raised with.
Im a cultural christian the same way im a cultural english language speaker, or a cultural pants wearer instead of a Kilt.

I think it really means To not have any choice about it, at least not until you get older an w5ser.

Cultural christian can be both past and present tense. at least in my definition of it.
So most western Atheists ,like >90% are still Cultural Christians,

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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08-11-2013, 11:30 PM
RE: "Cultural Christian"?
(08-11-2013 10:49 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  Can someone explain this concept to me? Dawkins called himself one, but I didn't get any solid definition.

So what does that label mean? And does it apply to you? I think there might be an issue with how people define "culture" and "christianity".

A "cultural Christian" would have a traditional church wedding and have their children baptised even though they don't believe in the religious significance of these rituals. Roman Catholicism--for example--is so closely associated with Italian ethnic identity that even if you believe it is all bunkum, if you are Italian, you will often perform the rituals (weddings, baptisms, funerals) anyway.

Why? To maintain cultural integration and identity, to not upset relatives, for social reasons.
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09-11-2013, 02:09 AM
RE: "Cultural Christian"?
I think in the instance of an Englishman, as I am, I can see where Dawkins is coming from. Whilst we have representation of most Christian denominations in the UK our architecture, political and social history, traditions and day to day culture has been intertwined with the Anglican C of E stemming back hundreds of years. There are customs and institutions attached to the C of E which are cemented in to our lives. Even a lot of atheists like myself will go through the motions so to speak, not for religious reasons but more from a sense of tradition. It's my experience that in England, atheism is on the whole so accepted by the Anglicans that they're just happy with us respecting the churches deeply intwined role with our history and everyone just gets on with it. Think about it like the stereotype of the quintessential English village fĂȘte wherr old ladies sell tea and scones, the blokes show prize winning vegetables and some annoying bastard tries to get everyone to play cricket! In the background there's usually some vicar floating about like part of the scenery asking everyone how they are. It's just part of our middle class I suppose Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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09-11-2013, 03:16 AM
RE: "Cultural Christian"?
It means practicing the traditions associated with Christianity i.e. Christmas, Easter, etc. As the posts above say, various forms of Christianity are closely related with nationality, and by extension, race/heritage.

Dawkins is saying he is an Anglican Englishman, with whatever baggage comes with that.
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09-11-2013, 10:28 AM
RE: "Cultural Christian"?
Arg. There's a story that I'm half-remembering about a sectarian conflict, and I can't remember where it was from. I THINK it was Ireland, and I'm sure I'm about to butcher it.

Somewhere where the battle-lines were drawn along a religious divide. A non-believer was asked whether she was Catholic or Protestant. The non-believer answered that she did not believe in God at all, because of a basic underlying absence of belief, lack of evidence, and absurdity of the religious claims. She went on for a bit explaining it.

The inquirer nodded, and then asked what that had to do with anything and repeated the question: Was she Catholic or Protestant? In that environment, the identification had become less about belief and more about social and political affiliation. You were Protestant if your family was Protestant. If you were Catholic, you were on the Catholic side of the conflict and your politics were Catholic. Affiliation (which is what the inquirer really wanted to know) defined her place in society, and that mattered more than what she actually believed.
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