The Christian Atheist

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 1, 2016 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

What is a “Christian Atheist”? It sounds like an oxymoron. And if you think that, you would be right. But there are many Christian atheists out there. Let us break up these two terms so we know explicitly what we are talking about. To be a Christian means to be a “little Christ,” to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Many people claim Christianity as their religion, but are they followers of Christ? Have they been born again? Have they turned from their sins? Are they in process of dying to self and being conformed into the image of Christ? Last week, I asked an important question: Why do we call ourselves Christians? Are we really Christians?

To be an atheist means to believe affirmatively that “there is no God”. The “a-“ means “not, or anti-“ and “theist” means “believer of God.” By definition, an atheist believes affirmatively that there is no God. Many atheists today would be screaming with arms in the air to shout me down right now saying, “NO! Atheists ‘lack belief’ in God.” Sorry, but if you lack belief in God, you aren’t an atheist, you are an agnostic. However, I can tell very quickly that these people who “lack belief” do not lack belief. They believe very affirmatively by their actions and by their words that there is no God. If they truly did not know, they would not be so bold to say what they say.

One does not have to be able to account for why they believe what they believe to believe it. There is a phrase for that: “blind faith.” It is still faith. It is still believing in something strongly enough that you act as though it is true. The atheist does have something that many who call themselves Christians do not: enough confidence in what they claim to believe to act on it. They truly do believe there is no God. They cannot account for why there is no God, but they truly believe that. Evangelists like Ray Comfort suggest that everyone knows that God exists because God has instilled knowledge of himself in the hearts of all men. And he is right in that regard. Did I just contradict myself? Allow me to explain.

You can have knowledge of something and still believe against it. Romans 1 describes how people have innate knowledge of God but they refuse to acknowledge him as God and they suppress the truth. The Bible gives an accounting for why atheists may have knowledge of God but still believe with full confidence that he does not exist. But this post is not about atheists. It is about Christians who claim to follow Jesus Christ, who are supposed to know that Jesus is the Son of God, seated at the right hand of the Father, but live their lives as though there is no God.

Please do not hear what I am not saying. I am not talking about Christians needing to be perfect. Christians still sin and will continue to sin until the day they die. But if we are going to be Christians, we need to not think about sin, plan it, carry it out, and then try to justify it. I am not talking about those who have deeply rooted struggles against something in sin. EVERYONE has struggled with some area of sin in some way, shape, or form. For some it is sexually based (all forms). Others struggle with hate, with anger, with lying, with pride, with gossip, with greed, and the list goes on. I am not talking about those who have struggled with this for many, many years but they do not love it and they would love to be free of it. Who am I talking about then?

I am talking about those who claim the name of Jesus, claim their right to go to heaven, but they completely chose to live their lives as though God has no say in the matter. God disciplines those who are his children. He seeks to correct us when we go wrong and he knows exactly how to do that. As children, if we have a good, loving father, he would discipline us as we grew up. And many of us, particularly those older than 30, understood the fear of a father. We feared the switch or the belt or the spoon that would be applied to our rear ends. But how often would we do what we did, as though our father was not there… as though the law he brought did not apply to us? It is the same mentality, only worse.

The Christian atheist wants the benefits God can offer but refuses to take responsibility for their actions. They refuse to change their lives from which Christ died on the cross to cover. If we claim to be bought by the blood of Christ, but we continue to sin, willfully and unrepentantly when caught, we make a mockery of that which we claim to believe and we show ourselves to be a hypocrite and a liar. The reason David could be called a man after God’s own heart despite numerous problems with sin was because he had a heart of repentance. He knew his sin was directly against God. He tried to cover it a few times, but when it was exposed, he repented and took the consequences, refusing to offer anything to God that cost him nothing.

Are we Christian atheists? Do we claim to be a follower of Jesus, but live our lives as though God does not exist and does not care about what we do? One thing I have learned: you cannot get into heaven believing whatever you want. Your actions and your lifestyle will reveal what you truly believe. If you go to church on Sundays, love and worship God during the service, but your Sunday afternoon through Saturday looks like the world, I would question your claim to be a follower of Christ. If you, however, slip up and sin, and when God brings it to your attention, and you repent and beg God for mercy and strive to not do that again, then you may be a Christian. Such actions reveal the fruit becoming of a Christian, not one we should expect from an atheist. When I see supposed Christians joining sides with militant atheists against those who stand upon Biblical authority, I wonder how much they really do follow Christ. They claim to believe God, but they use the way and thinking of those who refuse to consider God in the equation.

We all live like Christian atheists in some areas. How do I know? Because we all sin, in rebellion against God, and declare with our lifestyle in some area that he does not exist. Let us break free from that. We cannot do it in our own strength. We need to surrender to Christ because in ourselves, there is nothing good and no means of getting free. We all need a Savior. Let us believe him, follow him, and live our lives as though we actually do believe him.

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Bob Sorensen said...

This is very true. Many professing Christians are acting like atheists and saying in their hearts, "There is no God", thinking they can get away with sins that they cherish.