Can Christians be "atheistic?" Yes, that seems like a contradiction in terms and, No, I have't been smoking something funny! So what am I getting at? Let me explain.
One of my all time favourite daily devotionals is "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. In today's selection he said:
The most devout among us become atheistic in this connection; we do not believe God, we enthrone common sense and tack the name of God on to it. We do lean on our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts.I really like that. I think he is right on! "Common sense" does seem to have become a god in our society. If what "common sense" dictates seems to go contrary to what God has clearly said in the Bible, "common sense" does often seem to win the day - even among Christians.
Chambers quoted Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." This is something that the atheist obviously cannot do. He cannot trust in a Lord that he does not believe in. Likewise, "common sense" also does not trust in the Lord. "Common sense," like the atheist, does lean on its own understanding.
Jesus said, "do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on..." (Matthew 6:25ff). In our society, "common sense" dictates otherwise. We are told to prepare for tomorrow, to build nest eggs for rainy days, to save for retirement. When we haven't done that, or are unable to, we do become anxious and we do tend to worry. In other words, we do tend to lean on our own understanding. And if we do tend to lean on our own understanding, then (according to Proverbs 3:5) we are also not really trusting in the Lord. Furthermore, if that is true, isn't that then also atheistic in nature?
- What do you think?
- Should a Christian rely on "common sense?"
- Can a Christian be atheistic?
- Can you share some examples of how this might be true?