The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn’t Exist
By Craig Groeschel
Craig Groeschel is one of my favorite pastors in the world. Reading It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It was paradigm shifting for me. I don’t know if it’s his athletic background or his tough-guy persona, but I can identify and relate to his tenacity and passion (I’m not a tough guy, but I do characterize myself as someone who is passionate and tenacious, and definitely want to see Christ’s Bride, His church, develop similar characteristics!).
Anyways, when I saw a copy of Christian Atheist, I was a little hesitant to purchase and read. Why? It looked a little too marketable, a little too sleek, and one of those big-in-font and small-in-content type of books.
In other words, it appeared to be a little too surface level.
However, because of a deal at Central Christian’s 242 café, I picked it up on sale.
Although I haven’t finished it, I decided three things.
1. It is definitely a worthwhile read.
2. I would blog and reflect on each chapter.
3. I am going to develop a curriculum for the Emerging Generations department here at CLC for the summer.
Why? Because one, Groeschel’s message, although tough, is generally simple, relatable, and necessary. Two, because he is usually spot on about what people need to hear (and not necessarily what they want to hear). Finally, because I think most of Christianity’s problem in America lay in this very problem – the people who call themselves Christian aren’t living it out like Jesus calls us to or putting their actions where their words are generally at.
Lots of Christians either live ignorantly as Christian Atheists or knowingly as Christian Atheists and therefore, are brutally misrepresenting the name of Jesus Christ.
(A side note, and probably the last time I’m going to say it in regards to this book – This is NOT about pointing fingers! In fact, the finger is pointed directly back at me in LOTS OF WAYS! However, we also must be aware that Jesus often had the harshest words to those who claimed to know God, but didn’t really KNOW God. Thus, Christian Atheists).
Introduction and A Note to Readers
“They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work” — Titus 1:16.
Titus 1:16 appears to be Groeschel’s theme verse for Christian Atheist.
What is a Christian Atheist? Well, it’s in the subtitle, but also here: “Where people believe in God but live as if he doesn’t exist” (14).
Words don’t equal action. Life doesn’t reflect the many years you’ve claimed to know Christ. Change never occurs. Your life looks no different than that of your non-Christian neighbor. You talk to God only at church, and usually, reluctantly so. You don’t long for God and rarely – if ever – believe He’s actually listening.
I’ve had my moments and period of life living as a Christian Atheist. Have you? Where are you at right now? Do you claim to know a little about God, but not really KNOW him the way you would a best friend, a Father, or a spouse? How much do you long to be with Him? Does your life reflect Jesus ever?
As Groeschel says, “Instead of a fully devoted follower of Christ, you’ve unintentionally become a full-time mom or full-time student or full-time bank clerk – and a part-time follower of Christ” (26).
Self-reflection time: Where are you at? What does your life say? Can you tell someone to look at the trail of crumbs in your life and say, there is Jesus?