Living as a Practical Atheist

I have a friend who is an atheist. We grew up together. He is a great guy. Solid. Responsible. Straightforward. Honest. I respect him. I trust him. We get along great. Even after my conversion from an agnostic to Christianity, we remained friends while most of those I knew from my old life scurried into obscurity from my life.

Athiest LogoOver the years we have had many conversations about the merits of each of our faiths – his being that there is no God and that we are just the result of random selection through a long evolutionary process, and mine being that there is a God who created everything, that He loves us, and He has a plan for our lives.

It’s been an evolutionary process for my friend in his thinking to even begin to believe that there may be something like that of intelligent design when it comes to the ‘evolution’ of the universe. And, it has been an even longer evolutionary process in his thinking to be willing to concede that my life changed so dramatically upon my conversion and that it would be hard to fake something so conversely different from my old lifestyle as he has watched for some thirty years now. In one of our recent conversations, as I often do, I invited him to attend a church service with me. He lives in another city, so for me to offer such a thing, he knew that I would be driving a few hours or more in order for this to happen. Here is what he said in response to my invitation. It went something like this.

“David, I appreciate your friendship and admire your zeal for what you believe. I really believe that you believe what you are talking about. And, from what I have seen of your life, with few exceptions over the years, you have lived what you have been preaching to me for years. But, I need to tell you that from what I have seen of the vast majority of people who say they are Christians, their lives do not demonstrate anything that reflects what they say they believe and follow. As you say, you have experienced a ‘supernatural change in your life,’ I don’t see any evidence of any supernatural change or a miracle working god or a god that supernaturally changes people in such a way that they don’t do the very same things that the world is doing. From the looks of what I have seen, there is no evidence of the god you say you serve in the lives of people who tell me they are Christian.”

bill-johnson-bethel“Many Christians practice practical atheism; they believe in the existence of God, but they turn to the ways of man to solve their problems.” – Bill Johnson

Pastor Bill Johnson said, “Many Christians practice practical atheism; they believe in the existence of God, but they turn to the ways of man to solve their problems.” He is exactly right too. It’s all around us in our daily decisions. We relegate to man what God desired for us to look to Him and Trust Him for – whether it is healing, finances, our emotional struggles, broken relationships, or our children.

And equally, it’s not that we – the church at large – just turn to man for solving our problems, but we live (whether publicly or in our private lives) as natural/un-regenerated man. It is so in many instances the same in the eyes of the world by our day to day lifestyle and decisions, where we socialize, who we socialize with, and what we do that by every outward appearance looks like we are just another human being living in the world with nothing that outwardly differentiates our lives from that of a lost man.

hypocricy-meterWe lie, gossip, back bite, meddle in other people’s lives, pass judgment on those we either don’t understand or don’t agree with. We go to bars, drink in public, cuss, run towards sin at times, live in unrepentant sin, lack compassion towards those in need, and act unethically in our business dealings. Indeed, the Church at large lives as if there were no God – as practical atheists. There is nothing different between how we act and how the world acts, at least to an onlooking world who is looking for the hope of something better than what the world offers.

As practical atheists, we justify our ungodliness with mindsets like “we’re only human,” “well, no one is perfect,” “everyone else is doing it,” or “I don’t make a habit of it,” and thus, we allow sin to eat away at our spiritual hearts until our conscience is seared and we have no more within us in the world’s eyes than a lost man, ergo we have become the apostate church.

My GOD, please forgive me for being no different in action and deed than the average atheist, and free me from my complacency to let my life shine with the love and power of the Risen Savior.

How One Young Man Defended His Religious Faith

 

ixoye-atheist-fishColleges are overrun with Atheist professors. It’s nothing new though. It is the result of an ongoing initiative that started over 60 years ago by a small group of very powerful and financially influential men to rid God from the American landscape. The result has been devastating on the myriads of immature, ungrounded, baby Christians, Jews, and Muslims who show up at college and are ultimately exposed to the faith-rattling influence of atheistic professors.

The importance of being able to defend what you believe, whether you are an Atheist, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, or Muslim is part of the evidence of how anchored you are in your religious or philosophical beliefs. Just because your parents had a certain belief or you were raised in a country where the belief system or religion was mandated by tyrannical leaders, does not mean that you are what you say you are.

Ultimately, what you truly believe will be seen in the form of the evidence in how you act, how you live, and how you speak. Your religious convictions are also shown in how well you can defend your position/faith in God in the face of opposition, criticism, and debate. Speaking as a Christian, sadly, there are very few professing Christians in college or out of college that know how to effectively defend what they believe, and how to successfully show the merits and Truth of God’s existence, His plan, and His love. If you are one of these people, maybe this story will encourage you to dig deeper into what you believe and emerge stronger and more resilient in the face of opposition and attack on what you believe.

Professor-oldMy son Nathaniel shared this story with me, and it begs to be shared beyond our conversation. There was one atheist professor of philosophy who was speaking to his class on the problem that science has with the concept of there being a God – a Creator. He asked one of his new Christian students to stand and this is the story that has been shared for many years now that gives us an example of how to effectively defend the foundational Truth of God’s existence.

Professor: You are a Christian, aren’t you, son?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you Believe in GOD?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

Professor: Is GOD Good?

Student: Sure.

Professor: Is God all-powerful?

Student: Yes.

Professor: My Brother died of Cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn’t. How is this

God you say that you believe in a good God then?

The student was silent.

Professor: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, Young Fella. Is GOD Good?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Is Satan good?

Student: No.

Professor: Where does Satan come from?

Student: From God.

Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student: Yes.

Professor: So who created evil?

The student did not answer.

Professor: Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the World, don’t they?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who Created them?

The student did not answer.

Professor: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son . . . Have you ever seen God?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever Heard your GOD?

Student: No , sir..

Professor: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, Smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?

Student:No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student: Yes.

Professor: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Sir, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student: No, sir. There isn’t.

The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events.

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no Heat, but we can’t go any further after that.

There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, but rather just the absence of it.

What about darkness, professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?
AE-schoolboy

Student: Respectfully, you’re wrong again sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness does not exist. If it does, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

Professor: Yes, so what is the point you are making young man ?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure.

Sir, science can’t even explain a Thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Please tell me, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an ongoing endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist, but a preacher?

Then the student addressed the class.

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?
The class broke into laughter.

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

The Room was Silent. The professor stared at the student, his face unfathomably perplexed.

Professor: I guess you’ll have to have faith that my lectures are accurate and true.

Student: That is it sir. Exactly! The link between man & God is faith. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

The conversation ended. The students name? Albert Einstein.

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Understanding Atheism and the Reasoning of an Atheist

Understanding Atheism and the reasoning of an atheist can be maddening at times.  An atheist’s position is most often rooted deeply in a belief system that is unable to think that they should have to surrender to the will of someone else, mainly some ‘spiritual being’, i.e.  God.  Let’s face it.  At face value, Christianity is a way of life that rips the head off of pride and self-sufficiency, and says, “Die, so that Christ can live in you.” OUCH!  Talk about a wake up call for even some professing Christians.  No wonder some people find it an easier path to just say there is no god and that we came from primeval ooze billions of years ago.

We all know someone that says they are an atheist.  I have several long time friends who profess atheism as their belief system.  I even have a sister that is Buddhist that is an atheist – at least to the best of her understanding of what that means to her as a Buddhist.  Honestly, she (and those atheist friends that I talk with on ‘spiritual matters’ get confused and angry whenever we discuss the merits of our belief systems – in the case of my sister, mine being Judeo-Christian and hers being Buddhism.

Truth be told, every belief system has some sort of measure of faith that is required in order to believe in it.  Oftentimes, it is the only guiding force behind one’s belief.  In some minds, it does not matter what the truth is on the subject.  They just have the faith to believe what they believe and nothing more can be said about it to them.  If you are a Christian, and want to see progress made in sharing your faith with Atheists, my advice is to GET OUT OF THE WAY, and let G-d do it.

Remember that our warfare is not natural, but supernatural when it comes to soul winning.  Paul reminds us that “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).  The battle against UNbelief in God is NOT won through argument or debate. It is won through love, compassion, AND the use of the Living Word of G-d.

When confronted with the antagonism of an Atheist, remember that while they have faith in their belief system, that it is rooted in a faith for what they have heard about Atheism.  Holy Scripture tell us that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).  The faith that Scripture speaks of is faith in God and in the need of a Savior.  If you want to be productive for the sake of the Kingdom, do not argue the merits of your faith with someone, but rather share the Word – as much of it as they can hear.  The Word is powerful.

In Hebrews 4:12 it says that the “word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” WOW!  That is powerful! Just think about it.  IF you are willing to share the Living Word of G-d with someone – let’s say an Atheist for example – it will go out of your mouth, into their ears and like a roman battle sword, go deeply into them.  Let’s face it.  It’s hard to battle the Living Word once it gets in you, even if you are a Christ follower! It will clean you up and set you straight! How much more will it have an affect on someone that does not have it in them.

All arguments aside about how to share your faith with an Atheist (or a non-believer in general), Jesus said that, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,” (John 6:44).  This means that our job is simply to get the Word out there and in them, and then Holy Spirit will draw them.