Daily Archives: April 3, 2010
The more I read Proud Atheists, the more I get the impression that its writer, Mark, is a spoiled child. Somewhere, in the all the confusion and doubt that often inspires people to walk away from their faith in Christianity, we get the idea that God owes us something. God owes us nothing.
Modern Christianity seems to give us the impression that God owes us something. Chris Rosebrough, who studies and critiques the purpose-driven church movement, thinks that a follower of modern Christianity is defined thusly:
Someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well adjusted self-actualized risk taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a ‘no regrets’ life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage with better than average sex, is an attentive parent, is celebrating recovery from all his hurts, habits and hang ups, practices Biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at church, tithes off the gross and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world nation.
Notice that it is all about what God can do for us: giving us purpose, removing fears, granting a healthy marriage with a better sex life, recover from all hurts, habits, hang ups, relive stress, relieve debt, etc. Rosebrough laments this definition, because it applies to a broad category of people who are not necessarily Christians. He says:
Tradgically, the “Jesus” that is presented in the sermons that promote this definition of being a Christ Follower isn’t the savior of the world who died on the cross for the sins of the world and calls all nations to repentance of their sins and the forgiveness of sins won by Christ on the Cross. Instead, the “Jesus” that is presented in these sermons is a “life coach”, a training buddy and the supreme example of an emotionally well adjusted risk taking leader who lived the ultimate life of significance and purpose. This purpose-driven “Jesus” is there to help you achieve what he achieved and invites you to follow his examples and methods so that you can be Christlike too.
Since modern Christianity has failed in teaching its adherents that humility, repentence, and submission to God are all necessary to live a life like Christ, it is no wonder that the critics of Christianity raise the objections that they do. These objections are based primarily on the assumption that God actually owes us something. If you start with the idea that God owes us nothing, then most of these objections disappear. Read the rest of this entry