More Lucidity @ Atheocracy

Friends,

If you get the chance today or tomorrow, should the Lord tarry, please pay a visit to Jeff at atheocracy. I confess that sometimes Jeff misses the mark, but I think in this instance his blog post is on the mark: Atheists Should Really Put Together Gift Baskets. This post contains some of Jeff’s most lucid thoughts yet on the benefits of atheism and on the point of Christianity. I wish I could post the entire post here, but I’ll settle for a couple tantalizing morsels–but please read the entire post so that I’m not accused of taking him out of context. It will be worth your 5 minutes or so.

First, concerning what the benefits of atheism are, Jeff writes:

Nothing.

I can’t imagine a better way to express it, but Jeff is a little more complete than that:

Beyond that, you get nothing for becoming an Atheist. You don’t get comfort from believing your loved ones go to “a better place” when they die. You don’t get to believe there is someone in control of events on Earth, even in the worst of times. And you don’t get to thank God for your athletic achievements in order to make yourself appear humble, even while referring to yourself in the third-person.

But that is not all Jeff wrote that struck me as dead-on. In fact, I actually appreciated his thoughts concerning why Christians believe or why they should believe or what motivates them to believe in the first place even more:

The Tongan, of course, misses what should be the point of Christianity and faith. It’s the faith itself, and the love of God, etc., etc., not the benefits therein. That’s putting the proverbial cart before the even more proverbial horse. The faith comes first and independently. Christianity is not a health club. Choosing it because you like the benefits better than another faith (or lack thereof) cheapens both your own faith and the religion as a whole. (emphasis mine.)

Here I think Jeff nails it and is, in fact, far more insightful than many preachers who mock the pulpit each week. Fact is, Christianity is not a health club. The Church is about Jesus Christ–a not too subtle fact that health and wealth, therapeutic feel-goodism, and psychological well-beingism preaching misses. The claim by many American ‘preachers’ that God wants us to be wealthy or ‘have our best life’ (I was at the ‘Christian’ bookstore last night and I couldn’t believe how many books are on the shelf that were written by Joel O) or be fulfilled by finding our ‘purpose’ really is a mockery and a slap in the face to those Christians in the world who are being mercilessly persecuted because of their faith. I wonder if those who really suffer for their faith would dispute the Hinn’s, Osteens, and Warren’s of American Christianity?

Jeff is right on the mark on this one. I’m sad that some of those who replied to his post have disagreed with his assessment. Being a Christian in America is not the same as being a Christian in, say, Iraq or Egypt. I sometimes think that too many American preachers do, in fact, ‘cheapen’ the Christian faith because they have made Jesus Christ and the Cross a mere marketing tool or a business venture, and the Bible a mere manual for self-help (see my review of Dallas Willard’s book The Great Omission.) Christian faith is not merely about heaven, being better, being safe, or anything of that sort. I think those are things that go along with it; benefits, Jeff calls them. They are not the reason why we believe.

The reason we believe is the cross. I will be happy to continue preaching the Gospel of the Cross and pointing out the utter ignorance and stupidity of any other Gospel. I’m also thankful that even Jeff, my atheist friend, is preaching that same thing. Good job, Jeff.

jerry

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  1. jwhaws

    Jerry-

    Much thanks for the ping. We certainly don’t always agree, but I think one can reasonably say that my thoughts on religion are not hampered by adherence to any particular school of thought. I simply try to be honest, according to my knowledge and experiences. If that means criticizing Christianity one minute and defending it the next, I’m duplicitous like that. 🙂

    Thanks again, Jerry. I always enjoy reading your thoughts.

    Jeff




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