I was reading an article from ABC News that profiled two anonymous ministers that, despite their atheism, continue in their positions as senior pastors. That really makes me mad. They are doing their congregations a great disservice, and are being major hypocrites. Atheists talk constantly about the hypocrisy of believers, but it looks as if many of them fare no better with major issues of integrity. But that’s not really the point.
The point is that there is a single money quote from Adam, one of the ministers-turned-atheist, that sums up two things very nicely. First, why he was able to wholly change his worldview so readily. And second, what is wrong with American Christianity and why it is in serious decline:
As I lost my faith … I realized that really had no bearing on who I am and my character and my actions. I live no differently than I did when I was a fervent believer.
Contrast that with the proper attitude of the believer toward his faith, summed up nicely by C.S. Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Adam’s problem is that he isn’t living any differently as an atheist than he did as a Christian.
The reverse is true as well. Christian converts live no differently than they did when they were unbelievers.
If the atheists are right, and there is no God, then a quick look at human history ought to be pretty disturbing. Wars, violence, greed, corruption, and horrible human rights violations permeate history like a cancer. We’ve always been violent and savage, and there’s no hope that we can change ourselves. We’ve tried and it doesn’t work.
But, if the Christian is correct, then God exists and he will recreate civilization so as all the war, violence, greed, corruption, and human rights violations are a thing of the past. That means we have hope. And, both Paul and James exhorted us to live as though we have it.
The problem is that even our ministers don’t seem to be living as if this hope is real, and the proof is this article. They readily abandon a dearly held worldview because, as Adam put it, there’s no difference in how he lives!
That’s really sad.
Posted on November 27, 2010, in Apologetics, God, Sin, WWGHA and tagged atheism, Christianity, faith, Human, Jesus, Salvation, Sin, Worldview. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
How differently did C. S. Lewis live after he became a Christian? He remained what he already was, a mild mannered Oxford don, smoking, going to the pub, but now he concentrated on both Medieval studies plus writing Christian literature and apologetics.
Like other mild mannered Oxford dons, Lewis also held some strong opinions, despising “Quakers” as well as fellow Christian, T. S. Elliot. See these notes from the Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Edited by Walter Hooper, Harper San Francisco, 2007 (I found these notes online at http://www.nantyglo.com ):
C. S. Lewis To Mary Van Deusen, April 1, p 178: “Quakers . . . well I’ve been unlucky in mine. The ones I know are atrocious bigots whose religion seems to consist almost entirely in attacking other people’s religions. But I’m sure there are good ones as well.”
C. S. Lewis to Paul Elmer More, May 23, p 163: “There may be many reasons why you do not share my dislike of [T.S.] Eliot, but I hardly know why you should be surprised at it. On p. 154 of the article on Joyce you yourself refer to him as ‘a great genius expending itself on the propagation of irresponsibility.’ To me the ‘great genius’ is not apparent: the other thing is. Surely it is natural that I should regard Eliot’s work as a very great evil. He is the very spear head of that attack on [Lewis here uses the Greek word, in the Greek alphabet, for ‘limit’] which you deplore. His constant profession of humanism and his claim to be a ‘classicist’ may not be conscioudly insincere, but they are erroneous.” A few lines farther down, Lewis describes such poets as “traitors to humanity. So Juvenal, Wycherley, Byron excuse their pornography: so Eliot himself excuses Joyce.” He adds that reading The Waste Land (Eliot’s major work) infects men “with chaos.”
P 164: “Assuredly [Eliot] is one of the enemy….”
A footnote on p 1503 to a letter written in 1926 says that “in an effort to ‘expose’ [T.S.] Eliot and his like-minded poets, Lewis devised some nonsense ‘Eliotic’ poems which he and others sent to The Criterion, hoping they would be published.”
To T. S. Eliot, February 23, p 556. After many years of criticizing Eliot in reviews, books, and in letters (and no doubt in verbal statements), Lewis became a correspondent with his contemporary, partly because Charles Williams, who Lewis loved, was a friend of both.
P 557: “Charles Williams is always promising (or threatening) to confront us with each other [to] hammer all these matters out.