Day 3 in the Life of a Christian Atheist
So far, atheism FAIL for me. Seriously. The em-phah-sis has decidedly been put on the Christian aspect so far. (Also, I have no issues splitting infinitives in case you didn’t know.)
The ironic thing about trying to live as if God doesn’t exist is that my mind has decidedly shifted to constantly thinking about God. For example, I catch myself doing “Christian” things when I don’t want to:
- Reading my daily devotional and trying to decode some secret message from it (it’s just text, really)
- Saying “praise the Lord” during a particular upbeat moment of the day (what atheist praises God?!)
- Purchasing the following (Christian) books for my birthday gifts:
- When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
- Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson
These certainly are not the actions of someone who wants to be an atheist or even thinks atheistically.
One could argue that I’m just following habits and that habits, including Christian ones, are hard to break. But why am I developing Christian habits once I’ve decided to try and abandon my faith for a week?
Or perhaps, a likelier scenario: these habits have been here all along and I’ve been so consumed with perfectionism in the Christian life (trying to “do” things on my own) that I’ve never noticed them.
One of my struggles as a Christian has always not been doing enough for God. I’m always frustrated by how I’m not doing the MAJOR things in life, ie, converting masses of degenerates to the praise and glory of God!!! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the fundy Baptist term “degenerates.”)
On a more realistic, practical level, I am frustrated that I haven’t accomplished the following:
- Organizing seminars and workshops through my church that ministers to the practical needs of women in the community, ie, shortcuts and tips to navigating a computer; 30-minute meals (or 15 for when the kids are screaming); audiobooks & e-readers: why use them and how?
- Setting up a breakfast/soup table on a Saturday in a poorer area to minister to the people of that community
- Spearheading events for women who need monthly fellowship to relax, unwind, or discuss issues that are weighing on their hearts (à la “Mental Health Anonymous”)
Those are a few practical ideas I have in mind (inspired by library events) that I think could be a good part of church outreach. Perhaps they’re middle-class-ish, but I don’t think too many women would be put off by prayer at the beginning and end of a seminar if they can walk away with some useful and valuable tips that make their lives easier or more enjoyable.
These are things I haven’t done and want to do. As a result, I constantly count my missteps rather than my steps:
- Didn’t do devotions today!
- Didn’t pray today!
- Didn’t bless a Shih Tzu today!
- Didn’t do the sign of the cross while driving past St. Katherine’s today! (Oops, wrong denomination.)
You get the point. I’m so busy focusing on all the things that I don’t do as a Christian that I begin overlooking the things that are good and right and noble and all those nice things that are somewhere in the Bible. (And because I’m a demi-atheist, I am not looking up the chapter and verse which is probably somewhere in Philippians 4:8.)
And perhaps—just maybe—some Christians trying to live as atheists for a day may improve their relationship with God (as mine seems to be slowly doing; ugh!). Maybe by actively avoiding God, some Christians will be drawn closer to Him instead of trying to passively grow closer to Him.
What think ye?