Why I Do Not Believe

The general Protestantism of the culture (whether you’re atheist or whatever, you’re still essentially Protestant if you drink deep of it) is perhaps nowhere more visible than in its marketing:

  • At Valspar, we believe there is power in color.
  • I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities… (the President)
  • I believe we’re all equal…

Belief, statements of belief, belief systems are the culture’s primary communicative stock and trade. Protestantism focuses on belief because it denies the sacramental character of reality. For the Protestant, the inner man is what is most authentic, and an ultimate personalism (each person is the priest of their own atittudes) supertends the identity. You are, in effect, what you believe, and what you believe (even if you just borrowed it from a movie or someone else’s speech or common parlance) not only defines you, it is inherently made personal by being made the center of identity, since the Protestant, necessarily, conflates person with nature in a “personal nature”.

I mention this because the cultural Protestant (whether religious or not) is simply unaware that many of us do not in fact operate in this way. For those of us who are not