Our world today has an influx of people who do not want regulations, control, policies or directives and even religion. One lady hinted that she did not grow in an environment where rules are observed and punishment is imposed upon violation of rules. Meaning, it seems that rules have never been presented since childhood and the strong opposition for punishment has been so clear. Now, what kind of society are we having with this kind of attitude of the mind? It seems to me that there is an absence of ACCOUNTABILITY. Since there are no restrictions, there are no rights and wrongs – definitely there is no STANDARD to be followed. That makes one to think that he is free to do anything – harmful or not as there are no rules to signify the acts as good or bad. The concept of Atheism can easily come in as they do not want to be subjected and accountable to the rules of God.
Atheists do not believe in the existence of God. They strongly state by definition that there is no God. Though their voice is strong, their reason to be an atheist is so weak to prove that God does not exist.
Ron Rhodes in his argument against atheism says:
“The burden lies on you to prove that evil actually exists in the world. So let me ask you: by what criteria do you judge some things to be evil and other things not to be evil? By what process do you distinguish evil from good?” The atheist may hedge and say: “I just know that some things are evil. It’s obvious.” Don’t accept such an evasive answer. Insist that he tell you how he knows that some things are evil. He must be forced to face the illogical foundation of his belief system.” (Strategies for Dialoguing with Atheists).
From a rabid Atheist to a more moderate called “Practical Atheist or Christian Atheist” both sounded the same but a little difference can be clearly seen in them.
George Smith says: A “Practical atheist, or Christian atheist, is defined as someone who believes in God but lives as if He doesn’t exist.”
Another definition says; “Christian atheism, also called non-realistic Christianity, is a bizarre form of quasi-spiritual philosophy that keeps the forms and practices of Christianity while denying God’s existence. Christian atheists attempt to “de-mythologize” Christianity, doing away with all belief in the supernatural yet maintaining liturgies and corporate worship experiences as meeting humanity’s need for socialization and the communication of lofty ideas.” (Gotquestion.org)
To sum it up, a Practical Atheist believes in God but does not do God’s will. He may believe in God’s existence but does not give importance to God’s commandments. He claims that he belongs to a religious group and goes to the church occasionally but his heart and mind is so far away from God’s teaching. He may profess his religion and yet does not have any Biblical verses to support his claim. They are likened unto a car without a gas. What is the use of a car to travel and transport people when it cannot start and run because it has no gas? What is the use of a light bulb when there is no electricity? Same in religion, what use is your faith when you do not do God’s will?
Our Lord Jesus says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)
James also said the same thing; 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b]works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (James 2:14-19 NKJV).
It is my aim to state that a mere belief or faith is not enough to please God. Non- acceptance of God’s existence and non-obedience of God’s commands do not make any difference. What this author is trying to say is that – Many in religious groups today tried to justify that “all is alright with God” even to the point of someone who do not know God or who deliberately ignore God – CAN STILL BE SAVED. Can you imagine that? He is saying that a car can still be a car and run even without gas or a lightbulb can still give light even without electricity! Listen to the interesting statement of a Pope.
Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ has good news for atheists according to Catholic online. He said “Atheists can do good and go to heaven too. Jesus died and was raised for them (atheist) as well. His redemptive embrace was for all, not just a chosen few…… The Church wants all men and women to be saved. (Catholic Online) What the “Catholic Online’s” article is stressing that one who considers God foreign or not at all existing, can be saved by God. What a dream! It says, regardless of your religion – may it be christian, pagan, muslim, hindu, Buddhist, or whatever – can all be saved! There is no more church in the Bible – and Christ dying for His church is unnecessary, no more Right and Wrong. No more Word to follow. Wow! This is the same or worst than the Devil’s teaching taught long time ago in the garden of Eden! THIS IS A CLEAR LIE and OPPOSITE TEACHING FROM GOD. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS! This is not TRUE at all. It is interesting that the devil believes in God and yet the Pope claims that one who does not believe in God will be saved by God. Harold Vaughan says; “The Devil is a practical atheist. He knows there is a God, but operates as if there were no God. He believes in God, but he does not love God. The Devil knows he will give account to God, yet he persists in his rebellion. He acknowledges God, but does not glorify God.” Stephen Charnock said, “The devil knows there is a God, but acts like an atheist; and so do his children.”
What did the truth say? There is no other salvation in any other name except in Christ Jesus –Acts 4:12. Hebrews 5:9 says; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Additional verses goes back to Jesus as man’s only source of Salvation. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” ( John 11:25-26) “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.” ( John 14:6-7) “And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” ( Matthew 19:29) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” ( John 5:24) There can be no other source of TRUE guidelines for man to follow except the WORD of God for him to be saved. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
David Cariaga is the pulpit minister of Convoy Avenue Church of Christ, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.