Christian Atheist?

There is a new term I have learn in the past few weeks, ‘Christian Atheist.’  It has been coined by an author in a book by the same name: the Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel

You might wonder as I did, what in the world could Groeschel mean by the term.  A Christian atheist as a person who says:  “I believe in God” and yet lives life as if God was not real, or at least was not available or aware of what she or he was doing.  This could be in all aspects of life from the way pray, our inability to forgive, our unwillingness to invite people to join the church, unwillingness to share our faith or our possessions, and the belief that we are in charge of our lives, our wealth, our sexuality, and everything else.

John Ortberg at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church has done a whole sermon series on this.  I have enjoyed listening to them.  You might enjoy them as well.  You can find them at:

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church — sermons

The six sermons are titled, “I Believe in God, but…..”

I Believe in God, But I Don’t Talk About It

I Believe in God, But I Still Worry a Lot

I Believe in God, But I Am in Charge of My Sex Life

I Believe in God, But Don’t Cross Me   (about forgiveness)

I Believe in God, But What’s Mine is Mine

Are these attitudes, thoughts and comments that you might make?  Then you may be a Christian Atheist.  Groeschel suspects that many people who call themselves “Christian” and even some who call themselves “pastor” fall into this category of Christian Atheist.

How much is God part of your life and your decisions?

It is interesting that several decades ago, Karl Rahner coined another term, the “Anonymous Christian.”  This is someone who faithfully lives the life of a follower of Jesus Christ, showing love and hospitality to others, sharing of themselves and their possessions, offering forgiveness, and yet never calls themselves a Christian.

How much is God part of your life and your decisions?

Where do you stand?  How do you live?

About Sonja Roberts Dalglish

I love people, math, physics, and theology. I love mysteries which may explain the list above. I am a polio survivor, having had the disease in August 1954. The vaccine was declared safe in April 1955. I am very pro vaccines. They have increased the health and well being of the world. Presently, I am living just west of Corpus Christi, in Kingsville. For naturalists, this seems to be where the coastal plane and the Wild Horse Dessert meet. It is flat which gives us beautiful sunsets. One of our concerns is climate change. We are already hot and dry and getting hotter and dryer. The cattlemen and women are having to graze fewer livestock these days.
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4 Responses to Christian Atheist?

  1. Helen Richards says:

    After reading about Christian atheists, I now have much to ponder about how I fit into that category. Thanks for your insight and research, Sonja.

    • It gives me pause as well — however, there is hope for all of us, through the power of the Holy Spirit who Jesus said will teach us everything. John 14 Many blessings, Helen.

  2. mrthekidd says:

    Interesting idea, I shall ponder this. My initial thought is that the fear of man (rejection, mocking etc) is most likely a main culprit in not being open about faith, but also that whilst freedom comes with accepting Christ, we choose to leave the chains on as we are used to them and don’t actually like the feeling of the lightness, a bit like preferring to stay at the edge of a pool where it is safe but limiting, rather than swimming into the middle where there is greater risk, but also greater freedom to move. Thanks for this, I shall think.
    God bless,
    PS – I’m curently reading John Ortbergs book ‘Everybody’s normal…’ – excellent!

    • Thank you for the comment, Bill. I will look for the book. I am enjoying his preaching very much. One of the questions a colleague asked was whether a sermon helped the listener to take the next step in discipleship. I believe his sermons do that. Blessings, Sonja

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