Famous atheist embraces ‘cultural Christian’ identity

cultural Christian

Renowned British atheist Richard Dawkins, widely known for his book “The God Delusion,” revealed in a recent interview his self-identification as a “cultural Christian”.

Dawkins said he had a preference for Christianity over Islam, although he clarified that he does not believe “a word” of the Christian faith.

In conversation with Rachel Johnson on LBC, Dawkins emphasised his appreciation for Christian traditions and the cultural ethos they embody.

“I’m not a believer, but there is a distinction between being a believing Christian and a cultural Christian” Dawkins noted, adding “I love hymns and Christmas carols and I sort of feel at home in the Christian ethos, and I feel that we are a Christian country in that sense”.

Christianity every time

Asked whether he sees the decline in church attendance as a problem (along with the construction of some 6,000 mosques, with many more planned), Dawkins responded: “Yes I do, really. I have to choose my words carefully: If I had to choose between Christianity and Islam, I’d choose Christianity every single time”.

“It seems to me to be a fundamentally decent religion, in a way that I think Islam is not” he commented.

“I do think we are culturally a Christian country” Dawkins stated. “So, I call myself a cultural Christian, and I think it would be truly dreadful if we substituted any alternative religion.”

In 2018, Dawkins notably said that we should not celebrate that Europe is less Christian, as we should hold onto it “for fear of finding something worse”.

Treatment of women

Dawkins addressed criticisms of Christianity’s treatment of women, noting its historical challenges with female leadership. However, he asserted that Islam’s treatment of women, as dictated by its holy texts, was more troubling to him.

“The way women are treated in Christianity is not great about that, it has had its problems with female vicars and female bishops, but there is an active hostility to women which is promoted I think by the holy books of Islam.”

Clarifying that his criticisms were directed at religious doctrine rather than individual believers, Dawkins reiterated his appreciation for living in a culturally Christian society while he maintains his atheistic worldview.


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