Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Practical Atheism

Today I read an excellent article in World Magazine about our tenuous times and the fall of Christianity as reported widely in the media. Tony Woodlief makes excellent points about what our real problems are as a culture and as the Church. He sums up his case this way:

What we are in danger of—in our country, in our churches, in ourselves—is practical atheism. This is not a considered embrace of godlessness. It is instead the slow slide into lives where God is irrelevant. The people who walk away from churches likely haven't pondered Christian theology and rejected it; they simply haven't been exposed to theology in the first place. Absent knowledge of—and communion with—the living God, why would anyone in his right mind keep coming back?

Practical atheism isn't limited to people who abandon church; it extends to all we who drift from Christ, even as we dutifully attend Sunday services. It's in the brief morning prayer that eventually becomes no prayer at all. It's in the way we emulate men rather than the God-man. It's in the way we brood, as if the things that vex us don't pass through the hands of a loving God. I don't know if practical atheism afflicts you, but I slip into it every day. Surveys tell us more people are forgoing the Christian label. What ought to concern us is how many—perhaps most of all ourselves—are willing to keep the label without fully living the life it requires.

Excellent reminders. Read the whole thing here.

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