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Are You a Functional Atheist?

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Are you a functional Atheist? Do you say you are a Christian; do you go to church and claim the faith and yet do not know God personally? Many Christians do.

So, in what ways and in what areas of our lives are we functional Atheists, are we ungodly?

Living a Gospel Centered life is to be focused on the life-changing good news of God in Christ. The Christian way of life is personal, God is personal through Christ. We can speak to him in prayer and we can see him through the Holy Scriptures and all of creation around us.

Our culture encourages us to default to our own strength and resources. Yet the reality is we are weak and inadequate. Time and age will ultimately teach us that fact. Yet if we are prideful and deny God, we live a self-deluded life.

Are we living as functional Atheists and do not even realize it?

The fact is only God can know us and search us to the depths of our heart. Even if we live a long and fruitful life, we never really get a grasp of who we are. The fallen, futile nature of the world and our sin nature obscure our judgement about ourselves, we then view the world through a glass darkly.

Self-help and psychoanalysis do not address the sin that lies at the center of our dysfunctional thinking and actions. Our wills are broken.

We can use our gifts of intelligence and work hard but ultimately when our body fails and when our minds falter, we will be unable to measure ourselves anymore. Our pride is laid bare.

When we give in to the ways of the world around us for praise or gain, we worship at the altar of functional Atheism. It might be for a job promotion or to be socially acceptable or for many other reasons.

What rhythms in life are you living that could be changed to live a Gospel Centered life?

Sadly, we imitate the Apostles when we our anxiety and distress in life prevent us from understanding the Christ oversees the sea and the waves.

Our lives are a mist and are brief, but God is intimately involved in every aspect. Your lack of faith and attempts at doing it yourself do not change those hard facts.

In his book Respectable Sins author Jerry bridges says, “Ungodliness is not the existence of overtly wicked lifestyle choices. Instead, he defines ungodliness as “living one’s everyday life with little or no thought of God, or of God’s will, or of God’s glory or of one’s dependence on God.”

Jesus said in John 5:15 that apart from him we can do nothing. Yet most of us live apart from Christ in that we rarely think of him or acknowledge him in life.

Church attendance is not enough, we all must recognize our idols and put God and Christ at the forefront of all of life, by prayer, contemplation, and reverence.


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