Empowering Atheism?

Do Christians cause atheism?  I think that’s an interesting question.  Christ doesn’t cause atheism, but, many “Christians” are not like Christ.  If all Christians actually acted like Jesus taught and modeled, I don’t think anyone would want to be an atheist.  Everyone would want to be a Christian.

Take what is one of Jesus’ most familiar statements:

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NKJV)

We’ve come to call this”The Golden Rule.”  We call it that for a reason.  If everyone would act like this, most of the problems that we see and read about every day would dry up.  The root problem to most of our other problems, is that few people actually behave like this.  Imagine how embarrassed an atheist would feel if everyone he met treated him like this because they were Christians.  I don’t think it would be that long before a lot of atheists would convert.  Those who have a low view of Christianity do so, IMHO, because they so rarely see the life of Christ lived before them by someone they know.

Try this one:

Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. (Luke 12:33 NKJV)

Yeah, that’s Jesus talking, and yeah, that’s Christians not listening.  You see, if the church was really serious about helping the needy person down the road – and they did that consistently – over time – people would be knocking on our door seeking admission into the kingdom.  And, the atheists would hide their faces in shame, or, more likely, start knocking themselves.  By the way, when was the last time you heard someone preach on the above verse?  Been a while?

Here’s something else Jesus said:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. …. (Matthew 23:23 NKJV)

You don’t know any Pharisees in the church, do you?  Why do you think that particular statement of the Lord made it into the canon?  I guess because God wanted us to read it.  I guess because God thought the same attitude could characterize us.  I guess because it makes Him unhappy when it does and He wanted to give us a heads up on that.  Figuring all that out isn’t rocket science, is it?

Sometimes we major in minors, just like the Pharisees.  Whatever else is right about our Christianity, if we have slacked on treating people right, loving the unlovable, and trusting God when we can’t see the end of the road – we have messed it up.  If that is offensive, don’t get mad at me, Jesus is the One who said it.

We spend too much time trying to explain away the “shock teaching” of Jesus and precious little just accepting what He says and working on putting it into our lives.  We want our Christianity easy, even entertaining.  We have forgotten what a cross is … if we ever knew.

But, there is hope for us.  God is still patient (Hallelujah!) with his people, as He always has been.  The perfect model of Jesus remains in place.  We can study it.  We can take seriously its implementation into our personal lives … if we just will.  Prayer remains an option, if we can remember how to get down on our knees.  A life of continual repentance can actually be lived, when we decide to do it.

Christians:  we need to take a look at ourselves.  That’s what the atheists have been doing for years.  Many of them haven’t liked what they’ve seen.  What are we showing them today?


2 Responses to “Empowering Atheism?”

  1. nick gill Says:

    You make some good points, but I disagree with your thesis statement:

    If all Christians actually acted like Jesus taught and modeled, I don’t think anyone would want to be an atheist. Everyone would want to be a Christian.

    In fact, I think you refute it yourself in the sentence before, when you point to the example of Christ.

    When Jesus himself “acted like Jesus taught and modeled,” not everyone wanted to be a Christian. Why would things be different today?

  2. John Says:

    Maybe I should have said: “the number of atheists would decline.” I may change it. Let’s see if anyone else comments.

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