Functional Atheism

functional atheistFunctional atheism is a term that is being used in theological circles that refers to the practice of those who profess to believe in Christ, but behave as if he does not exist.

One problem with this practice, of course, is that it does not acknowledge the very real impact that Christ has on our everyday lives.

The other problem is that it perpetuates the falsehood that we are in control of our lives and we can do what we want apart from Christ and our beliefs.

I am reminded of the verse,

Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. —Psalm 115:1

It is not up to us to win our salvation or have everything worked out in our lives. It is solely up to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died and was raised that we might have the life that we now live.

This concept also makes me think of this verse:

You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that. —James 4:14-15

We are not in control of our lives, ultimately, and that is, in fact, a good thing. God in Christ has our lives in his hands and he is guiding us and leading us to follow and yield to his good and gracious will for us.

We may not know what the next day holds, but we do know that we are in good hands, the nail-scarred hands of Christ, who overcame death and the grave for us that we might overcome them as well.

Our actions, thus, should reflect that connection we have with Christ. We should not function like God has no part in our lives, but we should function in the reality that everything we are is shaped by our relationship with him.

Our connection to Christ should always motivate the words that we say and the actions that we take. Everyone that sees us or listens to us should know clearly that we belong to and follow Christ in the forgiveness we share, the activities we engage in, the advice that we give, the bonds that we forge with others. Anything that would go against the will of God should not be on our calendars or be crossing our lips.

Our belief in Christ is something that should not be compartmentalized, but should be integrated into every fabric of our being,

Take a look at your life today and think of ways to grow more and more into a functional Christian.


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