All year round, you can find people that don’t live their lives based on God. These people get dinner with their kids, make sweaters, go snowboarding, drink coffee, have sex, bomb other countries, and they do all of this without calling out to God. They might not even pray daily or at all (or maybe only when they get cancer), and they don’t consult the Bible for pretty much anything. But they have one crucial difference between themselves and the rest of the world.
They call themselves Christian.
And that’s…well, the only difference between them and the rest of the world. As far as I can tell, their lives function a lot like mine does, except that they profess to believe in a God, or believe in his son Jesus Christ.
I call these people “functional atheists.”, because they function like me, although they call themselves Christians.
I don’t know what other kind of world they think I live in because I’m an atheist, but I can assure them that my day doesn’t consist of the baby-eating bloodbath that they’re probably thinking of when they hear the word. In all fairness, it just means someone who doesn’t believe in God. That’s it. There’s literally nothing else.
So what surprises me about these functional atheists, who, as you’ll recall, are people who live their lives without even being vaguely informed by their “faith”, who don’t go to church, don’t pray, don’t have a prayer group, don’t study the Bible, and might only find themselves in church on Easter and Christmas or when relatives are over, is that they do choose to stand up at random times.
Do you just believe that someone is better if they believe in God rather than not?
After a shooting, they’ll send thoughts and prayers, or they will be outraged if an atheist group is also allowed to distribute literature on a school’s campus, or they will be horrified at the thought of removing the Ten Commandments from a courthouse. Research shows that many of them would be put off by the idea of an atheist president, and this affects their vote. Or when terror strikes, we all unify in solidarity as “one nation under God.”
But why? If that thing (God) doesn’t affect your life in any real or measurable way any of the rest of the time, why would you let it decide who you should and shouldn’t vote for? Do you just believe that someone is better if they believe in God rather than not?
And if it’s just not important to you, as your actions would suggest, why don’t you just drop it the whole way?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on “functional atheists”, and about the role that God apparently plays in the lives of these Christians where he doesn’t seem to play a role at all.
Feel free to comment, like, share, and follow below! And it’s the first post of the new year. 🙂 It feels good to be back.
Photographer: Keoni Cabral