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Practical atheism is an acting as if but lacking substance. External forms of religion are maintained but self is the focus, not God. Ethics may be preached and often even attempted, but separate from the nature and essence of God. It becomes living as if they was no God.
Another term that was coined is “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” or a moralistic approach to life with good being defined by the popular culture rather than by what God says. God exists in this approach but again living is as if He didn’t. Life is about us and the eternal belief is that “good” people go to heaven.
The devil, the enemy of our souls, he is a practical atheist. He knows there is a God, but operates as if there were no God. The enemy believes in God, but he does not love God. The enemy knows he will give account to God, but he persists in his rebellion. The enemy acknowledges God, but does not glorify God.
The practical atheism of those who say they are religious, or Christian, or followers of Jesus but live as if God does not exist is a greater threat than actual atheism.
Actual atheists may think deeply and ponder the typical life questions and existence questions we all have at some point, and then they reject belief of God for a myriad of reasons. And actual atheists are often quite passionate about their rejection of God. They are often just as passionate as, and sometimes even more so than, true believers in God.
Practical atheism however leads to indifference towards faith and God.
Revelation 3:15-17 “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Psalm 14:1 “The fool said in his heart, “There is no God.” In his heart. So technically one can give lip service to saying, yes there is a God. However, what is in the heart? What will reflect my heart’s condition is my behavior. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and when it is sick, who will recognize it?”
So, a person may not even recognize their own atheism.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it displeases you to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell, but as for me and my household, we shall serve the Lord.”
If we are honest, there are times when, yes, even as a follower of Jesus, if we are not careful, we live like fools even when we say that God is there. We live as fools, practical atheists when we live for ourselves putting our self gratification above God, when we devour and worship the gifts God has given us in family, friends, home, belongings, rather than worshiping the giver, God, when we act as if we were self sufficient, don’t pray, don’t read the bible so don’t have God’s truths sinking into us each day, look to the once a week worship service to fill us or nourish us, we whine, complain, blame. Sure, we acknowledge Jesus with our lips but our behaviors say otherwise.
Today, I pray for us who are followers of Jesus that we each repent of living as a practical atheist. Whether it is all the time or occasionally, I pray we each turn away from the temptation to make this life all about us. I pray we each live like one who truly believes and knows, that God is real, He is with us. I pray for each one of us to be genuine in our faith.
For those who are not yet believers, I pray that you find yourself moved towards God, repenting which means exactly that, turned from your ways and turned to God. If you have any questions about what this means or how to do it, please feel free to contact me. It would be a privilege to discuss this with you.
How many times have you heard it said “he doesn’t really have a choice, does he?” or “I don’t have a choice, I have to do this.” or “You have no choice, go do…”
The reality is, you always have a choice in what you think, say, and do. Yes, always. Our choices are influenced by what we perceive to be the consequences of our decision. Yes, perceive because our reasoning is often faulty. Sometimes, you may not recognize that you have a choice because the circumstances are huge, overwhelming and overpowering. And yet, the reality is, you absolutely do.
Something is always influencing you leading you to make a choice. The choices you make will show the foundation you are standing on and your value system. Yes, it is a healthful choice, a biblical choice, to submit to our authority, for instance our boss on the job. God is the one who raises up our bosses, or those in authority. “And He changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and sets up kings; He grants wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who know understanding.” Daniel 2:21 “My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not mingle with dualists (another word is rebellious) Proverbs 24:21
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1
However what if this authority is doing things that are illegal, or immoral and there is the expectation that you are to remain silent or show your support in some way? Some examples might be cutting corners that could result in a dangerous situation, fabricating stories, manufacturing evidence, cooking the books. Do you cozy up to your boss and look the other way because you value your perceived job security or image more than you do honesty? Another way to look at it is, and this is harsh way to word it but an honest one. Do you have a backbone when it comes to standing up for what is right? Or are you a wimp, bending with every shifting wind regardless of what the wind is carrying, clinging on to your job, perceived job security and concerned what the consequences of upsetting the status quo might be?
“If you have become lax, on a day of trouble your strength will be weak indeed.” (Another translation reads “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.“) Proverbs 24:10
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Hebrews 12:1-3
It can feel extremely uncomfortable, painful, scary if you feel that your job may be at risk if you don’t go along with the status quo, regardless of whether or not it is honorable. You may very well be taking a risk with your job. Or you may not. However if you are, does that mean that you should look the other way when something is way off base in what your boss is doing and expecting you to follow along with? For many, there is the belief that it is you alone out there in this world. For those who have received salvation, hopefully you know there is someone higher and outside of ourselves. Of course we may suffer the natural consequences for our actions, but behaving out of fear is forgetting that it is God who gave us the talents that enabled us to do this job, God who provided this job, God who is allowing the situation we are enduring, and God who will make the way, one way or another. God will provide for you what you need.
“Who prepares for the raven his prey, when his young cry out to God, they wander for lack of food?” Job 38:41
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the fied, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34
So, it is a choice, in all things in life, to serve God, with all the rewards and yes, at times hardships that it brings, or to serve oneself in an attempt to make our life easier, or “save ourselves.”
“And if it displeases you to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell, but as for me and my household, we shall serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
Praying that you will be strengthened this day!