...if, by one's atheism, one does not take a license to deceive and be cruel. Some of my favorite folks have held atheist beliefs.
I believe the best theists and atheists both benefit society greatly.
Jesus could be considered an atheist by some
definitions. He did not create rituals but only asked they do the communion in personal remembrance of him. However, human history has
always proceeded by folks doing it their own way, and Jesus did not actually discourage what they do in churches or synagogues today...I don't know what he'd say about really big hats or mosques.
And take a look at some commentary regarding Jesus' stance on the "Law" which has
been discussed here lately (courtesy of our Creationist friends):
"Matthew 5:17-19 :
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
Clearly, Jesus worked and healed on the Sabbath
drawing critical attention of the "high" priests.
1) So apparently he did not mean
an overly strict interpretation.
2) I believe that He was speaking in a context to sooth the local authorities, both Roman
and Hebrew, so His ministry could continue.
3) I believe the exact wording of his speech is sometimes lost to time. Did he mean that everything will not be accomplished UNTIL heaven and earth disappear? Why the duplication? Why not just say, "Until heaven and earth disappear"
or "until everything is accomplished?"
There are two "until's" in that sentence. He might have meant "whichever comes first."
He also said elswhere that folks living contemporarily with Him would see it accomplished, as I remember.
4) I believe when he said, on the cross,"It is finished," that was when "everything is accomplished." Requirement to obey the "smallest letters" and "least strokes of the pen" probably disappeared at that time.
So don't dismay, Stormcloud.