Practical Atheists

John Stonestreet

John Stonestreet is a commentator for BreakPoint, a Christian worldview ministry established by Chuck Colson in 1991. Stonestreet recently wrote, “What if a time-traveler from the early church secretly followed you from Monday until Saturday evening, would they be able to tell you’re a Christian?”

That’s an interesting question, and a challenging one too! It is sad to say, but the lives of many who claim to follow Jesus are hard to distinguish from the lives of those who make no such claim. Countless people live as practical atheists. They live their lives as if they do not really believe that God exists. Oh, you will probably find them in church on Sunday morning. Everyone knows that Christians attend church. But if these church-attending “Christians” never pray, never read the Bible, never go the extra mile to help others and never witness to others about Jesus, how are they any different from an unbeliever?

Stonestreet goes on to say, “Scripture’s metaphors make no sense in a disenchanted culture. As practical atheists, we are deaf to the heavens’ loud proclamation of the glory of God. Stars and rainbows remind us more of human achievement and self-determination than they do of God’s promises. Even breathtaking events like weddings, the birth of a child or even death itself, fail to remind us of God’s eternal attributes.”

In every generation of Christianity, there has been the temptation to give in to the godless attitude of the culture. And in every generation of Christianity, there has been the need to live counter-culturally. We cannot and must not give in to the godless worldview of the times in which we live! We who claim to follow Jesus must determine that we are going to live distinctive lives. We must go against the grain of culture; we must swim against the tide. Not only does your salvation depend on it, those who are looking to you for an example are in desperate need of someone to model genuine Christianity for them. They won’t get that from a “practical atheist”!

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”—Psalm 14:1.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”—Romans 12:2.

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