October 05, 2015

Being a Protestant atheist

Martin Luther, theologian (1483–1546)

I'm a Protestant atheist, a cultural Calvinist. The Reformation brought to the world the Protestant faith and the Protestant culture of individual autonomy, enterprise, trade and self-direction. Being a Protestant and an atheist is not an oxymoron. 

Christopher Hitchens said, "I'm a Protestant atheist." Gore Vidal said:
"I am an atheist but I am powerfully influenced by the protestantism with which I was brought up. We must bear witness to what we do and to what the nation does."

Roy Foster said:
"Irish Protestantism, even in its non-Ulster, non-demonic mode, is as much a social and cultural identity as a religious one."
George Bernard Shaw, the socialist, internationalist and atheist said:
"I am also proud of being a Protestant, though Protestantism is to me a great historic movement of Reformation, Aspiration, and Self-Assertion against spiritual tyrannies rather than that organisation of false gentility which so often takes its name in vain in Ireland."
He also said:
"Ulster children still repeat the derisive doggerel, "Sleether slaughter, holy wather”; and the adults are determined as ever that ‘the Protestant boys shall carry the drum’. As a Protestant myself (and a little to spare), I am highly susceptible to the spirit these war cries express."
And said:
"Am I not a protestant to the very narrow of my bones? ... My own family and antecedents are ultra-Protestant; and I am a bit to the left of Protestantism myself."
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