I have, in the past, addressed at length the topic of Christian atheism. This is the sort of atheism that we see in western society today. It is a respectful atheism: recognizing the rights of others, caring for the oppressed and seeking to be moral – all themes of Christianity and not of a consistent atheism. A purely materialistic view of life (consistent atheism) promotes "survival of the fittest" in a fierce competition against all others to be at the top. We can be thankful that the atheism we are seeing is so inconsistent, having been bred and surviving within a greater Christian milieu.
This article is not about this inconsistent Christian atheism, but about its counterpart: atheistic Christianity. Atheistic Christianity is the sort of Christianity that is seen all too often in the church. Here are its marks…
1. Like atheists, it does not believe in a God who is control over all things. This is evident in how many (so-called) Christians worry about things both large and small. The Taliban is taking over Afghanistan and Christians are worried; a husband loses his job and worry takes over; a lump is discovered in a breast. We SAY that we believe God is in control over all things but then worry as if there is no God who is control over anything at all.
2. Like atheists, it does not believe in prayer. Granted, traditional "prayer meetings" – so ubiquitous in church life half a century ago – are not an indicator as to whether or not church folk pray. But the fact that such meetings are becoming increasingly rare, and so infrequently attended by younger adults, should be disconcerting. In the New Testament scriptures, by example and precept, we find a consistent challenge to "pray at all times." Christ's life was marked off by prayer, even entire nights being spent in prayer…earnest prayer. Like all atheists (except those in foxholes) we're not praying.
3. Like atheists, it does not believe the Bible to be true. The Bible tells us that Jesus is "THE way" (John 14:6) to God the Father. The Bible tells us that "there is salvation in no other" (Acts 4:12). The Bible tells us that it is belief in the Lord Jesus that brings salvation (Acts 16:31). Yet a recent Probe Ministries' Religious Views & Practices survey of church goers revealed that of those between the ages of 18 and 39 over 60% said that did not believe Jesus was/is the only way to heaven.
4. Like atheists, it does not believe in a future judgment or afterlife. This is evident in that (so-called) Christians, quite consistently, will pursue life style choices that belie any suggested belief that they will be judged for those choices. Christian leaders who become involved in theft, adultery, lying, and deception are "the tip of the iceberg." If there was a true belief that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:10) the lives of Christians would be marked by holiness. But like atheists, there appears to be no concern about the future.
So there you have it. And what are we?