Q: What do you mean by a “practical atheist”?
Suggested Daily Reading: Matthew 7:15-29
A: Are you an atheist? “No”, you answer. “I believe in God.” But what is a practical atheist? A practical atheist is one who believes in God, but lives his or her life as if God does not exist.
Bob attends a public high school. The group of guys that he wants to hang around with do not believe in God. Bob does believe in God, but he does not say anything or act in any way that his friends would know this. He believes in God inside, in his heart. But he lives on the outside as if there is not a God. Nothing shows in his words or actions that he is a believer. He is living as if God is not real.
Shirley is facing some important decisions. She needs to decide which courses to take for next school year. She is struggling whether to go to university or to become a secretary after she finishes high school. She needs to know in order to choose the right courses. A guy who is quite nice has asked her to go with him to his sister’s wedding and reception in two weeks. The concern is that he is not a Christian. Shirley is struggling with what to do. Last night she even had trouble sleeping. But Shirley is not bringing her concerns to God in personal prayer. She is living as if God is not real.
These are examples of practical atheism. Everything we say or do either reflects practical Christianity or practical atheism. For example, if we laugh with the crowd when a person makes fun of someone else, or if we say something thoughtful and kind instead. Or if we join in with others to mock a certain teacher, or we say something respectful. Also when we wear something immodest because everyone does, or if we dress attractively but modestly. Every decision we make and every action we take demonstrates either practical Christianity or atheism.
Are you living a life that is more Christian or atheistic in practice?
Are you growing in living with more Christianity and less practical atheism in your motives, thoughts, words and actions? What areas in your life do you especially need to pray for and work on?