Donald Trump’s Atheism May Have Contributed to His Campaign’s Implosion

I think it is pretty clear that as of now, Donald Trump’s campaign is imploding and he is on a pathway to a crushing defeat.  I also think that his atheism could very well have contributed to his implosion. How could that be?

Trump, as an atheist, is simply someone who does not have any belief in God.  As he has said, even when it comes to issues of morality, and deciding what is right and wrong,, “I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

What you have with Trump is someone who is deeply and thoroughly secular. He is a modern, secular man.  As such, he does not live his life around transcendent principles rooted in a reality larger than himself or even humanity.  He lives entirely in the self-focused atheisitic “here and now.”  And what that means is that his values are not guided by deeply held moral principles but instead revolve around unconstrained hunger – the hunger for power and money, along with the hunger for sex.

As an atheist, Trump views the world as his playground, looking for as much pleasure and happiness as possible.  After all, this is the only life he has.  Power and money bring him more pleasure and one of his main pleasures is obviously sex.  And Trump has a Richard Carrier-like obsession with sex.  A lifetime of such carnal obsessions left Trump unprepared for his first Presidential debate, which began his slide in the polls.  He’s long lived where non-Trump realities were simply not that important.

Then came the tape.

Trump’s minimally constrained obsession with sex, enabled and nurtured by his atheistic view of reality, has led to his campaign’s collapse, in the form of his now infamous recording.

Trump simply comes across as a man who makes very little effort to control his urges, his emotions, his hungers.  He derives his meaning in life from having power, having sex, and being noticed and acknowledged by the masses.  Like Dawkins, he wants to be loved by large crowds.  In other words, he is a post-Christian, modern, secular man without a larger Reality to constrain those urges.

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52 Responses to Donald Trump’s Atheism May Have Contributed to His Campaign’s Implosion

  1. Neil Rickert says:

    Trump’s moral character has contributed to the implosion.

    I’ll disagree that it’s his atheism. There are atheists of high moral character and there are Christians of low moral character. I suggest avoiding the assumption that atheism implies low moral character.

  2. byblacksheep says:

    “Trump, as an atheist, is simply someone who doesn’t have a belief in God” you should have stopped there. A lack of a belief in God is literally the only thing you can attribute to someone’s worldview because they are an atheist. hedonism and atheism are neither mutually exclusive or inclusive. Do I need to trot out the long list of christian pastors and government officials who have cheated on their wives, or solicited men for sex or sexually assaulted and raped minors? Do we need to talk about how Abraham’s first born wasn’t with his wife, but his wife’s slave? How the 12 tribes of Israel were mothered by 2 women who were married off in a business arrangement and their two slaves, and that Jacob didn’t realize he was sleeping with the wrong sister until the next morning? How king David had six wives and still raped Bathsheba? Remind me again how many wives and concubines king Solomon had? How many times did God condone foeced marriages and rape of virgin prisoners of war?

    But yeah, tell me again about Trump’s atheistic world view. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black

  3. Crude says:

    There are atheists of high moral character and there are Christians of low moral character.

    There are also long-time smokers who are in pretty good health, and long-time smokers who are in bad health.

    But I think we can make a shrewd guess about the impact smoking has on one’s health, given the evidence.

  4. Michael says:

    Trump’s moral character has contributed to the implosion.

    I’ll disagree that it’s his atheism. There are atheists of high moral character and there are Christians of low moral character. I suggest avoiding the assumption that atheism implies low moral character.

    It would be nice if you made an attempt to deal with the points I raised.

  5. Michael says:

    “Trump, as an atheist, is simply someone who doesn’t have a belief in God” you should have stopped there. A lack of a belief in God is literally the only thing you can attribute to someone’s worldview because they are an atheist. hedonism and atheism are neither mutually exclusive or inclusive. Do I need to trot out the long list of christian pastors and government officials who have cheated on their wives, or solicited men for sex or sexually assaulted and raped minors?

    Quite familiar with the talking points already.

    It would be nice if you made an attempt to deal with the points I raised.

  6. byblacksheep says:

    I would if you had raised any. First of all Trump claims he is a Christian, so who exactly are you to say otherwise? From then on all you continue to do is speculate about how atheism affects his views on sex and his treatment of women. All of it completely unsubstantiated because again all you can say about an atheistic world view is that atheists lack a belief in God. There is no handbook beyond that.

    Are you comfortable if I speculated on how The Christian world view contributes to Christian pastors and politicians mistreatment of women? Because I have the biblical evidence for that, you all do have a handbook.

    If you would like to specify what points you were trying to make without using speculation I would be happy to address them.

  7. byblacksheep says:

    How many catholic priests molested children? What kind of shrewd guesses do you think we can make about that?

  8. How many catholic priests molested children? What kind of shrewd guesses do you think we can make about that?

    Well it was less than the number of school teachers.

  9. Michael says:

    I would if you had raised any. First of all Trump claims he is a Christian, so who exactly are you to say otherwise?

    Someone who values evidence and critical thinking. I no more think Trump is a Christian because he claimed to be one than I think Hillary Clinton is a champion of the middle class because she claims to be one. In the case of Trump, he says he has never asked God for forgiveness and that God doesn’t figure into his moral decisions. That alone disqualifies him from being a Christian. We could add his inability to state of his favorite Bible verse, only to finally come up with “an eye for an eye” and “Two” Corinthians.

    Your average Gnu could do a better job imitating a Christian than Donald Trump.

    I can understand your attempt to distance Trump from atheism, but even Sam Harris and David Silverman (president of American Atheists) acknowledge he is an atheist doing a bad job of pandering by trying to sound like he is religious.

    As Sam Harris said about Trump: “He might be our first atheist president.”

    Do you have evidence that Trump is a Christian? Or do you just believe everything he says?

    As for the points you have ignored, let’s get to them.

    I wrote:

    What you have with Trump is someone who is deeply and thoroughly secular. He is a modern, secular man. As such, he does not live his life around transcendent principles rooted in a reality larger than himself or even humanity. He lives entirely in the self-focused atheisitic “here and now.” And what that means is that his values are not guided by deeply held moral principles but instead revolve around unconstrained hunger – the hunger for power and money, along with the hunger for sex.

    Where am I wrong? Point to the sentence that is wrong and explain why it is wrong.

    I wrote:

    As an atheist, Trump views the world as his playground, looking for as much pleasure and happiness as possible. After all, this is the only life he has. Power and money bring him more pleasure and one of his main pleasures is obviously sex. And Trump has a Richard Carrier-like obsession with sex.

    Where am I wrong? Point to the sentence that is wrong and explain why it is wrong.

    I wrote:

    Trump simply comes across as a man who makes very little effort to control his urges, his emotions, his hungers. He derives his meaning in life from having power, having sex, and being noticed and acknowledged by the masses. Like Dawkins, he wants to be loved by large crowds. In other words, he is a post-Christian, modern, secular man without a larger Reality to constrain those urges.

    Where am I wrong? Point to the sentence that is wrong and explain why it is wrong.

  10. Michael says:

    How many catholic priests molested children? What kind of shrewd guesses do you think we can make about that?

    I understand your desperate desire to change the topic, but natewinchester just pwned ya.

    And I would add that according to The Clergy Project, there are many closet atheists among the clergy. What makes you think those catholic priests are not among them?

  11. In other words, he is a post-Christian, modern, secular man without a larger Reality to constrain those urges.

    Fair description of Hilary there too. The choices this year are not good at all.

  12. Michael says:

    Fair description of Hilary there too. The choices this year are not good at all.

    Agreed. I would bet Hillary is an atheist also. She is Claire Underwood, after all.😉
    Welcome to post-Christain America.

  13. Michael says:

    I don’t know if I will have time to comment tomorrow, so let me see if I can make this simple.

    All human beings are sinners. We all have sinful urges, hungers, and desires. But the Christian world view brings a principled constraint to those urges, hungers, and desires. We are taught to resist those urges, to resist the state of becoming a slave to our sins. Christians often fail because of our sinful nature. But our failures are not used as excuses to throw out the need for principles or constraints. A good Christian repents in dust and ashes, gets up, learns from the failure, and starts over. Those who don’t end up either leaving the faith (to become raving Gnus?) or living a secret double-life.

    Now, pray tell, what principled constraint does the atheistic world view bring? And does that constraint, whatever it is, apply in the purely private reality? Why resist the urges that give your life meaning? Is it merely coincidence that links Carrier’s atheism and lifestyle?

    Trump certainly comes across as someone who has no such principles or constraints. He is a slave to his sins and does not lift a tiny finger to resist such slavery. He revels in it. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

    And that approach to life has caught up with him, causing him to ultimately betray all those who supported him and placed their hope in him.

  14. Crude says:

    Michael,

    Cards face-up – I really like Trump. I acknowledge his serious flaws. I also regard him as being one of the best candidates we’ve had in ages. So maybe I can disagree with you here, reasonably.

    Your best evidence is that Trump is full of shit when he claims to be a Christian. I’m willing to grant that for the sake of argument, and I’ll even say I personally doubt he’s some kind of convinced born-again Christian in any heavily invested way.

    But I also don’t think he fits the profile of the typical atheist. Certainly not a New Atheist, and not even the cultural atheist profile we’re used to. He lacks – and I mean historically lacks – the science fetishism, the ‘secular humanism’ fetishism, the intellectual/academia fetishism. He doesn’t even correspond to the stereotypical right-wing atheist a la Objectivists or Ayn Rand. When it comes to religious belief, he defies easy characterization.

    I’m not even sure it’s right to say that he doesn’t keep his hungers in check. Sexually? Somewhat, though a man who’s given to his passions so readily doesn’t seem like the sort who would keep getting married and having children and raising them, much less raising them well. He’s pretty famous for not smoking, not drinking. Apparently clear of drugs.

    I think he fits the profile of another American standard – the feelgood quasi-deist/theist who probably assumes God or something God-ish exists and maybe loves us or something, but beyond that has no real input into our life short of the vaguest and most basic ‘do what you think is best’ crap. That actually fits with your criticisms fine in a sense; it would leave his morals irreligious and unmoored save for the most basic nagging of conscience.

    Even addressing your particular points…

    Dawkins doesn’t want to be adored by large crowds. He wants to be adored for his intellect specifically. Trump doesn’t particularly care about that – and I mean that is very, very obvious.

    Yes, Trump loves sex. But Carrier is a pathetic dweeb who reeks of desperation. Remember: he’s talked openly about how he’s pretty much scumming for women who have had as many sex partners as possible. Trump out and out prides himself on going after the most gorgeous women, win or lose.

    I think you have him correctly pegged as an altogether secular man. But I think you’ve got the wrong category of secular.

  15. Michael says:

    Crude,

    When I refer to Trump as an atheist, I am merely using the definition that atheists have been peddling – someone who lacks belief in God. That Trump is so thoroughly secular in all his ways, to the point where basic Christian beliefs are completely foreign to him, is sufficient, in my mind, to tag him as an atheist. I’d be willing to bet that God belief did not figure into a single life decision he has ever made. God doesn’t even play a role in any of his moral decisions.

    Trump is the pefect incarnation of The Secular Man. A man driven by his urges – to seek power, money, fame, and sex. That is all he needs out of life. That is what gives his life meaning. For that’s all there is. There is simply no room for any reality larger than his needs and urges.

    As for some specific points:

    I’m not even sure it’s right to say that he doesn’t keep his hungers in check. Sexually? Somewhat, though a man who’s given to his passions so readily doesn’t seem like the sort who would keep getting married and having children and raising them, much less raising them well.

    Billionaires have no problem with both. Wives of billionaires have a good reason to put up with their husband’s “locker room” antics – $$$ and the lifestyle accustomed to $$$. Even Dawkins wife put up with his activity until just recently.

    He’s pretty famous for not smoking, not drinking. Apparently clear of drugs.

    Drugs and booze are for the atheists who can’t satisfy those more base urges. If you can’t be famous and have lots of money (and all that that brings) and you can’t have sex with hundreds of women, then the atheist, knowing this life is all they have and they’ll die without ever satisfying those hungers and fantasies, turns to the state of altered consciousness to numb them. Trump has no need for such things. Sex, fame, money and, most of all, power, are better drugs.

    As for Dawkins, it would have been more accurate for me to say that he needs the love of adoring fans. And the larger the fan-base, the better. I’m sure Dawkins’ is envious of the size of Trump’s rallies.

    Finally, as for being one of the best candidates we’ve had in ages, I respectfully disagree. Hillary has to be one of the worst, weakest candidates the Democrats have put up since Dukakis. And, as of now, it looks like she is going to pound him into the ground. If the election had been about Hillary, she would have lost big. But Trump made it all about him.

  16. Crude says:

    Michael,

    I’ll skip the political talk – I was merely offering up my sympathies as a gesture of honesty as I took this up. You’re in a top tier of respect for me, I prefer to focus on our agreements. You’re not someone I scrap with lightly.

    That said, insofar as you think Trump’s behavior is thoroughly secular – sure, I can grant that. With the caveat that his form of ‘secular’ is rather unique in many ways. I think you could draw some Venn Diagrams showing typically atheist traits and how they overlap and manifest. Trump would be outside of most. That doesn’t mean he’s no atheist, and all evidence points to him being very secular. But if he is one, he’s relatively unique in the hallmarks.

    Drugs and booze are for the atheists who can’t satisfy those more base urges. If you can’t be famous and have lots of money (and all that that brings) and you can’t have sex with hundreds of women, then the atheist, knowing this life is all they have and they’ll die without ever satisfying those hungers and fantasies, turns to the state of altered consciousness to numb them.

    I don’t know. ‘Celebrities who have tons of women, fame, and money’ aren’t exactly known as the teetotaller set. Same for businessmen.

    Wives of billionaires have a good reason to put up with their husband’s “locker room” antics – $$$ and the lifestyle accustomed to $$$.

    The problem is, if $$$ is the driving force, those antics guarantee you it. Look at Tiger Woods, look at Johnny Carson’s ex, look at every billionaire ex wife in the world (including Trump’s!) Whatever word you can use to describe them, ‘poor’ is not it.

    Perhaps you could make the case that their wives are very secular too. That’s a line of thought which could draw some blood, but I also question pursuing it. Educational, but it may seem petty.

  17. Pam says:

    I’m an atheist and I have no trouble behaving decently. My morals don’t come from imaginary friends in the sky. I know right from wrong. I despisecTrump but this article reads like hate speech. It’s every bit as sick as the offensive crap grabby Donald has come up with.

  18. Vy says:

    Your (and that of the butthurt blacksheep) definition of Atheism is inaccurate.

    From Oxford Dictionary:

    Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

  19. Vy says:

    First of all Trump claims he is a Christian, so who exactly are you to say otherwise?

    There’s this thing called the Bible. You might have heard of it.

    From then on all you continue to do is speculate about how atheism affects his views on sex and his treatment of women. All of it completely unsubstantiated because again all you can say about an atheistic world view is that atheists lack a belief in God.

    Blatantly false. Ignorance on what Atheism means is not an excuse.

    There is no handbook beyond that.

    False. There are several handbooks on how Atheists should live their religious life. They even have their commandments perpetuated by their religious leaders especially the Four Horsemen.

    Are you comfortable if I speculated on how The Christian world view contributes to Christian pastors and politicians mistreatment of women?

    You’re free to speculate after all your posts show your speculations are rife with inaccuracies.

    Because I have the biblical evidence for that, you all do have a handbook.

    Biblical evidence that people were raped, servants, killed, murdered, farmers, hunters, polygamous, etc.? So what? Do you have a problem with newspapers recording the rape of x in country y on day z by person m/people abc? When was the last time you complained about royal homes having servants?

  20. Allallt says:

    How do we know Trump is an atheist?

    The quote you gave, in full, is “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture” and was a response to the question of whether he would ask God for forgiveness.

    He says he’s religious. Churches accept that he is religious. What evidence do you have that he is not religious?

  21. FZM says:

    The quote you gave, in full, is “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture” and was a response to the question of whether he would ask God for forgiveness.

    This doesn’t sound all that Christian, at least. On the other hand, he may well believe in a God of some sort, as described by Crude here:

    I think he fits the profile of another American standard – the feelgood quasi-deist/theist who probably assumes God or something God-ish exists and maybe loves us or something, but beyond that has no real input into our life short of the vaguest and most basic ‘do what you think is best’ crap.

    …which seems compatible with what Michael wrote in the O/P here:

    What you have with Trump is someone who is deeply and thoroughly secular.

  22. Kevin says:

    Pam,

    “I know right from wrong.”

    Are you saying that morality is objective? If not, your statement makes no sense.

  23. Allallt says:

    FZM
    But it’s not compatible with “Trump, as an atheist, is simply someone who does not have any belief in God”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care much about Trump and his religion and I don’t have to. If he’s elected, the drop in the value of the dollar will make the US a nice little vacation for me — I’ve always wanted to see Yellowstone National Park.

    It’ll be an interesting conversation in 20 years — as Trump is added to the discussion that includes Hitler and Mao :p

    But right now, I’m not convinced Trump is an atheist. All I’m convinced of is that Michael doesn’t agree with Trump’s interpretation of what he does know about his religion.

  24. Vy says:

    He says he’s religious. Churches accept that he is religious. What evidence do you have that he is not religious?

    Atheists are religious, Islamists are religious, Christians are religious. “Religious” and Christian are not synonyms.

  25. Vy says:

    My morals don’t come from imaginary friends in the sky. I know right from wrong.

    So you don’t believe the probablymaybecouldness god i.e. chance + the allegedly spontaneously generated laws of nature + stuff happens + pixie dust, is responsible for the universe and life?

    I despisecTrump but this article reads like hate speech.

    Sorry snowflake.

  26. John says:

    As for Trump not drinking and smoking, this shows basically that Trump is a person who does not like high-risk settings.

    The primary reason Trump never drinks is because his own brother became an alchoholic and that addiction took away his own brother’s life.

    This is the main reason Trump doesn’t drink, because he saw what happened to one of his family members and the emotions that followed from the loss forever made him reject alchohol.

    As for Trump being an atheist, not sure.

    He isn’t a full Christian, that’s for sure.But he also isn’t a full atheist that does not believe in the existence of any higher power whatsoever.

    What your quotes mostly show is that Trump likely interpreted the ”Faith without works is dead” line from James in a horribly wrong way and now believes and lives a distorted disfigured version of Christianity.

    I would say that Trump mostly doesn’t really have a good grasp of the Christian God or misunderstands Christian teaching or for some reason doesn’t want to fully accept it, rather than to say he is someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of any higher power.

    As for the Bible quote talk about Trump, I remember him saying in an interview he doesn’t want to talk about Bible quotes because the subject matter is deeply personal for him.

    This would indicate at most Trump may believe in God but has some honest personal emotional quabbles with a few Christian beliefs or just has personal problems he wants to keep to himself, so yeah.

  27. John says:

    By the way, I notice there are both Trump haters, Trump supporters and neutrals in this and other comment section.

    Looks like your mild political commentary that restrains itself to the religious beliefs of the candidates brought out the political bloggers out of the woods here.

    I’m personally a Trump supporter, so I’ll have to respectfully disagree with some of your opinions on Trump.

    But other than that, I agree with you on most issues.

  28. Vy says:

    I notice there are both Trump haters, Trump supporters and neutrals in this and other comment section.

    An openly vulgar and somewhat horrible man v. a pretentious Obama puppet/puppeteer who has the potential to make the insane laws enacted/endorsed by Obama look meager? Yeah, definitely pro-Trump.

  29. TFBW says:

    @Allallt: your argument is weak. Let me explain why. You’re assuming that Trump is “religious” on the grounds that, “He says he’s religious. Churches accept that he is religious.” On the basis of that, you assume it follows that he has some sort of belief in God. Perhaps, as an atheist, you assume that anyone who is not anti-religious believes in God. It’s not that black and white. Trump is clearly not anti-religious: he identifies with and participates in church culture. It doesn’t follow that he believes any of it, up to and including the very existence of God. If there’s a cultural expectation that good people go to church, and he wants to project an image of being a good person, he will go to church. From what he’s actually said, however, there’s positive evidence that he doesn’t “bring God into the picture” of his decision-making. As such, he’s functionally atheist (i.e. secular): even if there happens to be some sort of vague belief in the existence of a supreme being in there somewhere, it is disconnected from his day-to-day activity.

  30. Michael says:

    How do we know Trump is an atheist?

    I never claimed to know Trump is an atheist. I think he is an atheist if we define an atheist as someone who simply lacks belief in God. As the American Atheists claim, “Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.”

    The quote you gave, in full, is “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture” and was a response to the question of whether he would ask God for forgiveness.

    What this tells us is that he is not a Christian. No Christian would say they have never asked God forgiveness (the first step in becoming a Christian) and no Christian would say that he doesn’t bring God into the picture when it comes to making decisions about what is right and wrong. Trump does such a bad job of pretending to be a Christian, in order pander for the Christian vote, that is becomes painfully obvious he is not a Christian.

    What’s more, take his approach to life – “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.” Isn’t that that is the very attitude of an atheist? As an atheist, don’t you find yourself in perfect agreement with Trump’s view?

    As others have noted, it is certainly possible Trump has some superficial belief that some God-like essence exists. But that would be a distinction without a difference. It’s clear from his views that even if he believed in some god-like being on some superficial level, he finds God to be irrelevant to his life. He lives as an atheist. And the whole point of my blog entry was to highlight how Trump seriously damaged his own campaign because he has spent his life living as an atheist.

    He says he’s religious. Churches accept that he is religious.

    Oh, please. Trump said it, so it must be true? Some churches buy it, so it must be true? You seriously want to defend such a weak position?

    What evidence do you have that he is not religious?

    I don’t see any evidence that he is religious. I see a man who doesn’t have to foggiest notion of what it is to be a Christian and a man whose life has been defined by his hunger for money, power, and sex. I see a man who is thoroughly secular and who attempt to act like a Christian is so bad that even someone like Sam Harris can’t deny Trump’s atheism.

  31. Allallt says:

    @TFBW

    I have no idea how we can both agree that we don’t know whether Trump is religious, and yet you’re happy to make a positive claim of that. Not knowing that he is religious doesn’t make him an atheist. And not knowing that he is an atheist doesn’t make him religious. This is one of the easiest intellectual points to follow.
    (Part of the problem I have is this: I’m holding virtuously to the value of democracy, and attempting to ‘out’ Trump as an atheist would hurt his polling with irrelevant accusations. I’m not hugely invested in who wins, but I’d prefer it wasn’t Trump.)
    Trump didn’t say he doesn’t involve God in his decision making (he might not, but that’s not what he said), he said he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness — instead he makes efforts to make things right.
    Now, he’s evidently lying there. He doesn’t attempt to make things right: he attempts to cover it up and when it is brought out in the open he denies and shifts blame. But I’m quite used to not being able to trust his words…
    (As a side note, people don’t ask God for guidance in their decision making. Research suggests people’s short term decision making is reactionary, medium term responses are justifying and only long term reactions are genuine reflection — full reference at the bottom. I can send you the PDF, if you can’t access it. So, it’s a moot point.)
    Now, not being able to trust his words leaves us with only analysing his actions. I’m not sure womanising or a sexually predatory nature is evidence that he is not religious. Michael has already admitted to being aware of the talking points to the contrary view.

    It still seems to me that both you and Michael could easily be confusing ‘not religious’ with ‘doesn’t agree with Trump’s interpretation of what he does know about his religion’.

    Kuipers, B. (2016) Human-like morality and ethics for robots [online]. AAAI-16 Workshop on AI, Ethics and Society.

  32. Michael says:

    I have no idea how we can both agree that we don’t know whether Trump is religious, and yet you’re happy to make a positive claim of that. Not knowing that he is religious doesn’t make him an atheist. And not knowing that he is an atheist doesn’t make him religious. This is one of the easiest intellectual points to follow.

    It depends on how you define atheism. Remember, American Atheists claim, “Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.” By this definition, atheism = secularism. Atheism, like secularism, does not entail a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods. It simply means a lack of belief in gods. Someone who is not religious is someone who lives a secular, thus atheistic, lifestyle. And its quite fair to say that someone who leads a secular/atheisitc lifestyle is an atheist.

    Not knowing whether Trump is religious comes from the fact that he approaches all of life from a thoroughly secular perspective. It’s the purely secular life approach that makes him, by definition, an atheist. A man who goes about his life a theos.

    Trump didn’t say he doesn’t involve God in his decision making (he might not, but that’s not what he said), he said he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness — instead he makes efforts to make things right.

    For the Christian, this is not an either/or situation. It’s a both/and situation. Trump was asked, “Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?” He can’t think of a single instance, even though asking forgiveness is the start of any Christian’s journey. Trump is telling us he does not view himself as a sinner and feels no guilt before God for his wrong-doings. He is taking a purely secular approach that is probably very much the same as yours. After all, wouldn’t you say Trump has described your approach?

    Now, he’s evidently lying there. He doesn’t attempt to make things right: he attempts to cover it up and when it is brought out in the open he denies and shifts blame. But I’m quite used to not being able to trust his words…

    Huh? Just yesterday, you wanted me to trust his words: ” He says he’s religious…….What evidence do you have that he is not religious?”

    Let me see. You don’t trust his words, but I’m supposed to trust his words so you can win your point, right?

    Look, that we can’t trust his words means we can’t trust any of those words that are supposed to make him sound religious in order to win religious votes. This is one of the easiest intellectual points to follow.

    Now, not being able to trust his words leaves us with only analysing his actions.

    Not quite. His words do tell us that he is immensely unfamiliar with core Christian beliefs.

    I’m not sure womanising or a sexually predatory nature is evidence that he is not religious. Michael has already admitted to being aware of the talking points to the contrary view.

    Yes, it still remains as evidence. But it’s simply one facet of his actions. As I explain, his entire life has been one of a Secular Man living entirely in his hedonistic “here and now.” His second favorite book is his own – The Art of a Deal. He makes it clear he is a hustler. Does he ever mention Christ in his signature book about his own life and approach to life? According to the Washington Post, he did mention Christ.

    Once.

    Trump invoked Christ just once in perhaps his most famous book, relating an anecdote about his father, who criticized his mother for watching Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

    “’For Christ’s sake, Mary,’ he’d say,” Trump wrote. “’Enough is enough, turn it off. They’re all a bunch of con artists.’”

    It still seems to me that both you and Michael could easily be confusing ‘not religious’ with ‘doesn’t agree with Trump’s interpretation of what he does know about his religion’.

    No, you are the one confusing a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods with a lack of belief in gods. Trump’s words and actions over his entire life have been thoroughly secular – a theos. God belief has been entirely lacking. Instead, he places his Self on the throne and is entirely focused on serving his Self through the lifelong carnal pursuit of deals, money, power, fame, and sex. He lives as a man without God, a man who views God as irrelevant. He lives a theos, as an atheist. Because he is one.

  33. Doug says:

    Curious how Allallt (and his crew) are keen to press the difference between “a lack of belief in God” and “a belief that there is no god” when it suits them, and then seem utterly incapable of grasping the distinction …when it suits them.

  34. Michael says:

    Curious how Allallt (and his crew) are keen to press the difference between “a lack of belief in God” and “a belief that there is no god” when it suits them, and then seem utterly incapable of grasping the distinction …when it suits them.

    Yep. Like defining science to mean “physics, chemsitry, biology” when you want to brag about the track record of science, but then defining it as “reason + evidence (something plumbers do)” when trying to deceive people into thinking science shows there is no God.

    Or like holding up Trump’s words as evidence of his religiosity yesterday, while telling us today you don’t trust Trump’s words.

    That secular, atheistic approach to life is not guided by principle. That is, unless you count “ends justify the means” as a principle.

  35. Michael says:

    Pam: I’m an atheist and I have no trouble behaving decently.

    That’s what they all say.

    My morals don’t come from imaginary friends in the sky.

    And you adhere to them….when you feel like it, right?

    I know right from wrong.

    Useful only for judging others, right?

    I despisecTrump but this article reads like hate speech.

    Then you are hyper-sensitive. Not surprised, as most atheists I run across think that any criticism is hate speech if it comes from, how did Dawkins put it?, oh yeah …..a “faith-head.”

    It’s every bit as sick as the offensive crap grabby Donald has come up with.

    Let me guess. I should have put a trigger warning on this posting, right?

  36. Dhay says:

    Michael > His words do tell us that he is immensely unfamiliar with core Christian beliefs.

    He’s also unfamiliar with the words of the Lord’s Prayer, or has failed to register their meaning.

  37. TFBW says:

    @Allallt:

    I have no idea how we can both agree that we don’t know whether Trump is religious, and yet you’re happy to make a positive claim of that. Not knowing that he is religious doesn’t make him an atheist. And not knowing that he is an atheist doesn’t make him religious. This is one of the easiest intellectual points to follow.

    Actually, that comes across as garbled. I’m really not sure what point you are trying to make, or how these words support it.

    Rather than draw out the confusion unnecessarily, however, let’s cut to the chase. Do you disagree with me when I say that Trump is functionally atheist? After all, he tries to be good without God, and that’s an atheist position if ever there was one, right?

  38. FZM says:

    Allallt,

    But it’s not compatible with “Trump, as an atheist, is simply someone who does not have any belief in God”.

    That’s true. Crude’s description of a certain kind of American theism got me wondering about those people who believe in God, but believe little or nothing about God. Trump may be someone like this. A similar thing could be to affirm belief in a very minimal form of religion.

    It’ll be an interesting conversation in 20 years — as Trump is added to the discussion that includes Hitler and Mao :p

    Is Chairman Mao now supposed to be classed as a religious theist?

    But right now, I’m not convinced Trump is an atheist. All I’m convinced of is that Michael doesn’t agree with Trump’s interpretation of what he does know about his religion.

    I seem to remember looking at your blog a while ago and reading a post where you explained that you were unconvinced that Pol Pot was an atheist. I think this is because you argued that he may have remained a Theravada Buddhist (as far as I remember the non-theistic leaning branch of Buddhism) of some kind because to your knowledge. Then I was wondering, didn’t his regime take violent measures to completely destroy Buddhist religious life and activity in Cambodia anyway…?

    Maybe this example suggests you demand a very high standard of evidence to prove that some unpopular or divisive figure might be an atheist.

  39. Dhay says:

    Allallt > (As a side note, people don’t ask God for guidance in their decision making. Research suggests people’s short term decision making is reactionary, medium term responses are justifying and only long term reactions are genuine reflection — full reference at the bottom.)

    I observe that quite a few people pray for guidance; so I find your claim, that science says they don’t, to be rather an odd one to make.

    You quote part of the Abstract of a paper which contains “decision” but not “God”, “pray” or “guidance”; so how do you reach your conclusion?

  40. FZM says:

    I omitted some text in the above:

    I think this is because you argued that he may have remained a Theravada Buddhist (as far as I remember the non-theistic leaning branch of Buddhism) of some kind because to your knowledge.

    Should read:

    I think this is because you argued that he may have remained a Theravada Buddhist (as far as I remember the non-theistic leaning branch of Buddhism) of some kind because to the best of your knowledge he hadn’t explicitly denied Theravada Buddhism.

  41. Allallt says:

    @Michael
    You quote the American Atheists in defining atheism as “Atheism is… a lack of belief in gods”, a definition you lead to me to believe you are happy to use for the sake of this argument.
    And yet, you try to make that definition identical to “Someone who is not religious is someone who lives a secular, thus atheistic, lifestyle. And its quite fair to say that someone who leads a secular/atheisitc lifestyle is an atheist.”

    The contortions needed there ooze out the screen.

    You accuse him of hedonism, but he’s tee-total.

    You seem to claim referencing Jesus is a book about business is evidence of being a Christian.

    All you’ve got is that he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness, a step you describe as “the start of any Christian’s journey”.

    And that takes me back to the idea of you “confusing ‘not religious’ with ‘doesn’t agree with Trump’s interpretation of what he does know about his religion’.”

    RE: The trustworthiness of Trump’s word. You misquoted him and have since drawn far too broad a conclusion from that quote. He doesn’t ask for forgiveness. That has nothing to do with whether he believes. Or whether he asks God for advice ahead of time. I don’t know whether he does.
    But you’re the one who used the quote, accepting Trump’s words as evidence.
    But you’re wrong about what the quote says and what you can infer from it.
    By comparison, using the evidential level you established, you has directly said he was a Christian.
    So, it’s not my inconsistency at all.

    @Doug
    I’m having precisely no trouble distinguishing between lacking a belief and believing the falsehood of a claim.

    @TFBW
    What does ‘functionally atheist’ mean? I only see him in highly contrived public appearances. Although, the quote as offered does seem to suggest he think he tries to be good without God. (His responses to accusations beg to differ.) But I can’t pretend to know a thing about his life outside of the public persona. Even his ‘hot mic’ recorded describing sexual assault was at a TV interview.
    Don’t get me wrong, I find it unlikely that he is suddenly a lovely person behind closed doors. And he is a person that has once claimed to be a democrat… so his current public person may well be an act (because he may not actually have republican political ideals).

  42. TFBW says:

    What does ‘functionally atheist’ mean?

    Behaving in a manner compatible with atheism, particularly in cases where one might expect a difference to manifest. So, for example, you might expect a Christian to unhesitatingly answer “yes” if asked whether they had sought God’s forgiveness, given how central the concepts of repentance and forgiveness are to Christianity.

  43. Allallt says:

    @TFBW
    I don’t see how that isn’t you imposing your interpretation of Christianity.

    So far as I can see, if he believes in God,* he is either a good Christian or a bad Christian. Now, I’m willing to concede immediately that if he believes in a God, he is a bad Christian by many measures: among the American Christian society, he is a bad person by secular standards; according to the Bible, he falls well short of the basic expectations.

    But, and I’ve tried to make this argument on this blog before, we don’t know the content of his mind.** So we simply don’t have the information to call him an atheist. And “functional atheist” is asking me to impose two things: my interpretation of Christianity and the assumption that one will be a ‘good Christian’ according to my interpretation. Now, I take the Book literally, so you don’t want to know about my interpretation of the Bible… but I digress.

    * I have no compelling reasons either way: disbelief, unbelief or belief.
    ** Although it’s weird to think of him not just spouting whatever is in his head.

  44. Doug says:

    @AllAllt,
    Your perspective is slightly idiosyncratic. Do you really imagine that belief in God is sufficient to make someone a Christian (and the only remaining distinction is if one is “good” or “bad”)? I suppose that would make the demons “bad Christians”…(James 2:19)

  45. TFBW says:

    Allallt said:

    I don’t see how that isn’t you imposing your interpretation of Christianity.

    Then “Christianity” must be a fairly meaningless term to you. If you’re not willing to accept my report as to what counts as a central tenet of Christianity, then is there some other source I can cite that you will accept, or do you simply reciprocate by imposing your own interpretation of Christianity? If the latter, then we aren’t even using similar terms when we use the same word, and communication on the subject is going to be hard.

  46. Allallt says:

    @TFBW
    I think it’s not controversial to say that the criteria for being a Christian relates to what one believes. And probably relates to the central tenet: whether Jesus died and was resurrection for humanity.

    I don’t see how the assertion that asking God for forgiveness as the first step on a journey to Christianity supersedes that. Therefore, we are talking about what Trump believes about salvation.

    Would you agree that belief in the redemptive power of Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to be called a Christian?

  47. Allallt says:

    @TFBW
    And even if you can demonstrate that Trump isn’t a Christian, that doesn’t default him to atheism, either.

  48. TFBW says:

    @Allallt:

    Would you agree that belief in the redemptive power of Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to be called a Christian?

    Absolutely not. It’s necessary, but nowhere near sufficient. It seems to be a popular misconception among those who identify as atheist that some kind of key beliefs lie at the core of each religion. Numerous beliefs are necessary, sure, but no amount of belief is sufficient in and of itself. You can believe that the enemy forces are overwhelming and that you have no hope of victory, but that doesn’t count as surrender in and of itself. It doesn’t even make surrender the only alternative.

    And even if you can demonstrate that Trump isn’t a Christian, that doesn’t default him to atheism, either.

    Which is why I was arguing that he is a functional atheist rather than a functional non-Christian. The arguments against him being a Christian are simply there to counter folks like you who want to classify him as Christian rather than atheist.

    Honestly, I’m not the least bit invested in Trump. I have difficulty rising above utter cynicism for politics in my own country at the moment, let alone the USA. I just think that Mike has a solid point about him acting in a manner more compatible with modern “good without God” atheism than the kind of Christianity which admits to the guilt of sin and sincerely confesses Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Cultural Christian, functional atheist. It’s pretty common, sad to say.

  49. Allallt says:

    So, you’re saying that if I believe in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, I am not necessarily a Christian?
    Your battalion analogy doesn’t make this any less opaque.

    “folks like you who want to classify him as Christian”? I don’t think you’re paying any attention. I’ve already said “we don’t know whether Trump is religious”. But I don’t believe morally dodgy behaviour excludes him. And Michael can’t make up his mind as to whether we should trust his words or not. (When he says he doesn’t ask for God’s forgiveness, is he pandering? Or lying because he thinks that makes him look weak? Or is it true?) But rapey priests are still religious. So behaviour is not sufficient.

    I’ve found no use of the term “functional atheist” that agrees with the definition used here. So far as I can tell, the definition used here is invented so that one can claim to know something one does: by inventing ones own narrow definition of theism* that is inclusive of one’s actions (not just their beliefs, one can include and exclude people from the group as they please.

    Now, if you want to start a Christian Church that defines itself by deed and belief, be my guest and I’ll join you in agreeing Trump is not a TFBW Christian. But I still don’t see how you can make behaviour an essential part of the definition of Christianity.

    *As being outside the little group as defined here makes one some variety of “atheist”, then the definition offered clearly refers to theism as a whole, even if attempts are made in this thread to make is synonymous with Christianity.

  50. FZM says:

    Allallt,

    Now, if you want to start a Christian Church that defines itself by deed and belief, be my guest and I’ll join you in agreeing Trump is not a TFBW Christian. But I still don’t see how you can make behaviour an essential part of the definition of Christianity.

    I think several of the major Christian churches (the Orthodox and Catholic ones, for example) have always defined themselves as churches of deed and belief. It’s far from being a TFBW innovation. In the past it doesn’t seem to just have been a question of being ‘functionally atheist’ either; you could be accused of being outwardly religious and functionally an agent of Satan.

  51. TFBW says:

    So, you’re saying that if I believe in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, I am not necessarily a Christian?

    Yes, I said that. Most people who believe this are Christians, but belief in Christ’s redemptive power doesn’t mean Christianity unless you follow it up with repentance and seeking forgiveness. It’s one thing to believe that salvation is possible; another thing to seek it. That’s why I put so much stock in Trump’s attitude towards seeking forgiveness — or rather, his lack of interest in it.

    If any Christians present want to take exception to my characterisation of Christianity, please speak up. I don’t think I’m being particularly controversial, and I’d like to hear about it if I’m mistaken about that.

    Beyond that, I have no further interest in arguing the minutiae of your definitional preferences versus mine, Allallt.

  52. Paul Aremenat says:

    From Shadow To Light,
    You wrote:
    ‘I think it is pretty clear that as of now, Donald Trump’s campaign is imploding and he is on a pathway to a crushing defeat.”
    Needless to say, you were wrong about this matter.
    Given that Trump was running against “Crooked Hillary”, I think you underestimated Trump’s chance of winning.
    Next, Trump is not an atheist. He is a Presbyterian. Can nominally religious people or religious people act very immorally? There were members of the Church of Corinth that certainly acted very immorally.
    Lastly, president-elect Trump is picking better prospective cabinet members than Hillary would have put in place. And Mike Pence was a decent choice as VP.

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