Christian Atheists

pray-graceChristian Atheists. Sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it?

Maybe not.

I’ve debated whether to talk about this, given the complex, varied and sometimes volatile view of Christianity in the blogosphere. And while there is an official definition of Christian Atheism, I’m going to be playing a bit fast and loose with my interpretation.

My definition of a Christian Atheist can be found in every church and in every denomination. The type of Christian Atheism I’m talking about can affect every single Christian at some point in their lives. And we’re all susceptible to its theology, and might not even realize it.

Simply put, it’s professing to being a Christian, but living like God doesn’t have any real bearing on our lives, or has any impact in how we make decisions. It’s when we insist we believe in a God of the Universe; a God that hears our prayers; a God that’s in control of events…..yet we put strict parameters on where, when and how He’s involved in our lives. It’s the resistance to having a personal relationship; always keeping Him at arm’s length so not to get too carried away with “that sort of thing” so we don’t have to give up too much of our precious time. Or, be too accountable for our actions.

Sometimes we want God’s guidance, but are quick to try and take back control when life gets scary and bumpy…thinking we can take care of it much better all by ourselves. Or, we live like He’s not part of our lives until life gets scary and bumpy…then we’re all about making spiritual back-room deals.

If we’re Christians, and honest ones at that, we’ll admit this happens to us…a lot. After all, we already know we’re fallen creatures, unable to live up to those pesky commandments that mark a perfect life. That’s just a fact, Jack. We’re all works in progress.

I’m sure none of us consider ourselves to be Christian Atheists, but we all have the potential to fall into that mindset. We may call ourselves Christians, yet there’s a definite disconnect when it comes to how we conduct our lives.

And aren’t we masters of the excuse?!

I believe God’s providence, but am still worried about……
I believe happiness lies with God, but to be truly happy, I need……..
I believe in God’s comfort, grace and forgiveness, but can’t move past……
I believe God hears prayers, but not sure it makes any difference because…….
I want a deeper relationship with God, but can’t find/don’t want to make time to………

See what I mean? We have a gazillion excuses on how NOT walk the walk even though we try and talk the talk.

We may pray…occasionally…but deep down, we don’t believe it really makes any difference. Sometimes there’s a grand canyon chasm between our actions at the Saturday night partay! and Sunday morning worship…if we even make it there. And for that matter, sometimes there’s a deeper chasm between how we act in Sunday morning worship and Monday morning at the office.

And, while we’re being honest, don’t we all have a little difficulty getting our arms around some of the things God does and doesn’t do? After all, why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? Why can’t God just make everyone’s life a bed or roses and leave it at that? Why are there struggles, hardships, broken relationships, death? If He was truly powerful and in control, He’d………

See what I mean? The second we begin second-guessing the Creator of the Universe, we have the potential to become Christian Atheists.

How do we get our beliefs and actions to align?
How do we develop a faith that is genuine and authentic?
How do we put our happiness into the hands of something we can’t see, hear or touch?
How can we not latch on to the latest culture-craze mindset and focus on developing a solid foundation for our lives?

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:22-23

Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God idea, not God Himself.
~Miguel de Unamuno, Spanish author and philosopher

Just a bit of randomness today. Hope you all are having a great week.

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3 thoughts on “Christian Atheists

  1. Beautifully expressed and written post, Lisa!

    And this not only pertains to Christians and any other organized faith or religion, but also to those of us (like myself) who has my own individual relationship with God – within myself.

    “It’s when we insist we believe in a God of the Universe; a God that hears our prayers; a God that’s in con­trol of events.….yet we put strict para­me­ters on where, when and how He’s involved in our lives.”

    Exactly. And I often hear people blaming God for everything that happens which is bad, but taking full responsibility for everything in their life which is good.

    “How do we put our hap­pi­ness into the hands of some­thing we can’t see, hear or touch?”

    As I shared, I do not follow any particular religion or faith, but I do have tremendous FAITH. So that’s how “I” do it.

    And we can’t know faith until we get to a humbling point in our lives where all we can do is TRUST.

    I may not always know why something happens in my life, but I do know that God will provide whatever is needed to get through it.

    And he has. Always.

    Have a great evening, my friend…x

    Like

  2. Oh Lisa, this is good, very good. While I wholeheartedly agree with your observations, I think there’s a less black and white interpretation of the apparent hypocritical behavior of people who profess to believe in God. I think that any discussion about God has got to include the fact that humans have free will.

    AA, the first and still most blunt of the 12-step programs, tackles this issue head on. They place tremendous emphasis on surrendering one’s will to a higher power and teach the importance of recognizing when ‘free will runs riot.’ Surrendering one’s will to a higher power, often called God, is a daily practice as well as a daily struggle. While 12-step programs claim to be spiritual rather than religious, the majority of American members I’ve met pray to a god that bears a strong resemblance to the God of Christianity. This is just as difficult for me to embrace as the hypocrisy of the practices of organized religions, i.e., the talk vs. the walk.

    Because of my difficult Catholic upbringing, I pay close attention to the behaviors of people who profess a religious or spiritual path (one not to be confused with the other). I’m no longer looking for the ways peoples’ practices are flawed, rather for their expressions of true faith or true goodness. These actions give me great hope for peace in a world that’s in chaos.

    I think you’d enjoy “The Spirituality of Imperfection” by Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham. There’s a little booklet published by Abbey Press called “Acceptance” that’s well worth having on hand.

    I just want to add one final idea. You mention the dilemma so many face: why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. If we can stop taking the victim position, i.e., ‘bad things happen to me,’ and simply recognize that bad things happen, we can change our thinking and our perspective.

    Like

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