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Religion
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Title: Practical Atheists Living as if God is Irrelevant
Source: Colson Breakpoint
URL Source: http://www.breakpoint.org/2019/09/b ... 1H79aK94a5n2tddD_aWWAKePIAhyD1
Published: Sep 25, 2019
Author: John Stonestreet
Post Date: 2019-09-25 17:30:29 by redleghunter
Ping List: *Bible Study Ping*     Subscribe to *Bible Study Ping*
Keywords: None
Views: 165
Comments: 6

If a time-traveler from the Early Church secretly followed you from Monday till Saturday evening, would they be able to tell you’re a Christian?

The answer for many of us just isn’t very clear… and that’s no accident. Many Christians live lives indistinguishable from secularists. The reason? Well, quite simply, secularism is the default state of our culture. It’s the water we swim in—the air we all breathe.

Or, as author Craig Gay put it in his book, “The Way of the Modern World,” the problem isn’t atheism. In fact, a red-blooded atheist is hard to find. The problem, he said, is “practical atheism.” It’s not that people do not believe in God, it’s that they live as if God is largely irrelevant. That’s what secularism does to us. It doesn’t disprove our faith, it dismisses it. It makes faith an issue of personal, private belief, disconnected from the outside world.

Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor has written the monumental work on the subject called “A Secular Age.” The marginalization of religious belief in our world, Taylor argues, has led to “disenchantment.” While God’s revelation in creation was obvious to prior generations, we completely miss the sacred things revealed in the way the world is made and ordered.

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 other words, we live in a world where the assumptions that govern how we think and what we do are almost always secular ones. Whatever people may say on surveys about their religious beliefs, the fact is that modern, Western life is overwhelmingly lived without even considering God.

Living as a six-day secularist, shaped by secular assumptions and rituals, has very serious and practical consequences. Good things result from our hard work and planning, we think, not from the gracious hands of our loving Father.

Also, because God is not easily replaced as an organizing principle for life itself, many of us today find ourselves living lives of fragmentation—our thoughts, emotions, and desires constantly pulling us in opposite directions; the changing values all around us giving us worldview-whiplash.

Still, worst of all, practical atheists are always subject to idolatry. As John Calvin said, humans are incurably religious creatures, and our secular age offers all kinds of God-replacements: sex, self, stuff, state, science. Ironically, a secular age is still filled with faith—just in all the wrong gods. These gods mark us in their images in profoundly dehumanizing ways.

The only way to be distinctly Christian in today’s culture is to consciously and intentionally swim against the secular currents. First, we need to recognize them, as well as how they sweep us away.

Thank God this is not only possible; it’s been done before. Christians throughout history have had to swim against cultural currents opposed to their beliefs. Many not only succeeded in keeping their faith but in transforming the surrounding culture.

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#1. To: redleghunter (#0)

As practical atheists, we...

Is the writer saying that we Christians have become like the culture around us in that we are, in a sense, "atheists"? I think that is what he is saying. We Christians are just waking up to the idea that our culture is no longer Christian by majority. It is shocking and scary, since we no longer have that comfort in knowing that we and our children can live unmolested. The tide has turned. We are once again aliens and pilgrims in a world that is not our home.

The only way to be distinctly Christian in today’s culture is to consciously and intentionally swim against the secular currents.

Yes. And now brother John Stonestreet, you left out the most important part. What exactly must we do?

watchman  posted on  2019-09-26   7:17:06 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: redleghunter (#0)

Scripture’s metaphors make no sense in a disenchanted culture.

Many Christians live lives indistinguishable from secularists. The reason? Well, quite simply, secularism is the default state of our culture. It’s the water we swim in—the air we all breathe.

NOR Scripture's common sense advice, nor its truth or facts, nor its sensible answer to life's many questions.

Yup. (File under, "DECEPTION.")

"Disenchanted Culture" -- THAT sez it all.

Secular Humanists' "culture" in indeed the "default-culture", isn't it?

Christians have been swept up just like non-Christians, conditioned and convinced to embrace its symbolism and supposed ethereal magical quality of an eventual universal "justice" and personal "godhood."

They now give as much if not far more weight to Secular Humanist high-priests and priestesses, who have managed to advance their own "religious" expectation of a "deserved" magical mortal and powerful post-mortal life portrayed in schools, in their books, on Tee-Bee and super-hero Movies. It's insidious.

Christians throughout history have had to swim against cultural currents opposed to their beliefs. Many not only succeeded in keeping their faith but in transforming the surrounding culture.

We must indeed "SWIM AGAINST THE [SECULAR CULT] CURRENT."

To convince others to do the same, they need motivation. Love. True enlightenment. And true satisfaction.

As John Calvin said, humans are incurably religious creatures, and our secular age offers all kinds of God-replacements: sex, self, stuff, state, science....

Ironically, a secular age is still filled with faith—just in all the wrong gods. These gods mark us in their images in profoundly dehumanizing ways.

BINGO.

Great post, bro.

Liberator  posted on  2019-09-26   16:19:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: watchman (#1)

Yes. And now brother John Stonestreet, you left out the most important part. What exactly must we do?

Lead a Gospel centered life. Be bold in the Great Commission.

redleghunter  posted on  2019-09-30   1:03:48 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Liberator (#2)

This piece by Stonestreet was spot on.

Discussed it with a brother at work. He said his church was focused on too much appeasement. He showed up at my church today.

redleghunter  posted on  2019-09-30   1:07:13 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: redleghunter, Deckard, A K A Stone, Justified, TooConservative (#4)

Yeah, Stonestreet hammered home the truth as to what's going on on a few different levels.

Like here:

"It’s not that people do not believe in God, it’s that they live as if God is largely irrelevant. That’s what secularism does to us."

And then:

"It doesn’t disprove our faith, it dismisses it. It makes faith an issue of personal, private belief, disconnected from the outside world.

Absolutely the case. "They" want us all to, "Check in your Christian faith at the door." WHY?

The simple reason: The secular world is actively trying to "Hide God" (among other truths); It does this by bullying, censoring, even legislating -- ostensibly programming, Believers into regarding themselves as persona non grata for merely any discussion of God or the Bible.

I watched this video just yesterday:

Discussed it with a brother at work. He said his church was focused on too much appeasement. He showed up at my church today.

His wasn't much of a church if appeasement of The World at the expense of The Word is its priority.

Glad you set him on the right course. Nice.

Liberator  posted on  2019-09-30   15:45:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: Liberator (#5)

His wasn't much of a church if appeasement of The World at the expense of The Word is its priority.

That rot has been growing for decades. The crooked televangelists, the decline of formal theology and doctrine as meaningful, the elevation of bland mindless religious music to replace traditional hymns that for all their dated musicality actually affirmed Bible teachings, the promotion of easy-believerism that accompanied the rise of the megachurches, the false ideas about church growth strategies (especially Rick Warren and his Brokeback church franchise, his lucrative Purpose Driven crapola, his meddling in the 2008 election by handing Obama an easy win over McStain, too bad that Warren and his wife weren't Purpose Driven Parents or they might have had time to keep their own son from killing himself in 2013).

Tooconservative  posted on  2019-09-30   17:44:11 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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