Atheist Richard Dawkins Says He Identifies as a ‘Cultural Christian’: ‘I Sort of Feel at Home’

One of the world’s most prominent atheists says in a new interview that he considers himself a “cultural Christian” and believes Christianity is a “fundamentally decent religion” that is far better for society than Islam.

Evolutionary biologist and self-described atheist Richard Dawkins made the comments this week on the British LBC YouTube channel, saying he is grateful the United Kingdom is “culturally a Christian country.” Dawkins is the author of the 2006 book The God Delusion.

“I call myself a cultural Christian,” Dawkins said. “I’m not a believer, but there’s a distinction between being a believing Christian and being a cultural Christian. And so, I love hymns and Christmas carols, and I sort of feel at home in the Christian ethos, I feel that we are a Christian country, in that sense. …Statistically, the number of people who actually believe in Christianity is going down. And I am happy with that.

“But I would not be happy if, for example, we lost all our cathedrals and our beautiful parish churches. So I call myself a cultural Christian,” he said. “…Certainly, if we substituted any alternative religion, that would be truly dreadful.”

There is, he said, “an active hostility to women” in the “Holy Books of Islam.” Islam also is “hostile to gays,” he said. Dawkins said he disagrees with “fundamentalist” Christians on abortion and evolution and said he does not “believe a single word of the Christian faith.” Still, he said, he cheers for Christian missionaries when they are competing with Muslim missionaries.

“If I had to choose between Christianity and Islam, I choose Christianity every single time. I mean, it seems to me to be a fundamentally decent religion in a way that I think Islam is not. …Insofar as Christianity can be seen as a bulwark against Islam, I think it’s a very good thing. And in Africa, for example, where we have missionaries of both faiths operating, I’m on team Christian as far as that’s concerned.”

He added, “I like to live in a culturally Christian country.”

Image credit: @LBC on X

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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