An Atheist’s “lighthearted rant”

A popular (self-proclaimed atheist) celebrity recently wrote an article in which he says:

“I do believe I am a good Christian compared to a lot of Christians… It’s not that I don’t believe that the teachings of Jesus wouldn’t make this a better world if they were followed. It’s just that they are rarely followed.”

He says So many Christians think that because they believe in the right God, they are automatically good and have a one-way ticket to everlasting life.”

Speaking of Jesus he says, His message was usually one of forgiveness and kindness. These are wonderful virtues but I have seen them discarded by many so-called God-fearers when it suits them. They cherry pick from their ‘rulebook’ basically. I have seen such cruelty and prejudice performed in the name of Christianity (and many other religions for that matter) that it makes me wonder if there has been a bit too much selective reading and reinterpretation of the doctrines.”

He then goes through the Ten Commandments and basically checks the box on each one claiming he hasn’t broken any of them, and concludes Not bad for an atheist. I make that 10 out of 10. How did you do? Even if this doesn’t prove I am a good Christian it does prove that the Bible is a bit inconsistent, open to interpretation, and a little intolerant.”

First of all, I appreciate the honesty and the issues he is raising. Although later he claimed it was only A lighthearted rant for entertainment purposes.”

Jesus said the world would know us by our love, and it is obvious that we’re not doing the best job of living the message.

I totally agree that the world would be a better place if the teachings of Jesus were followed, and I believe we have a serious credibility problem in this area. We can focus on believing all the right things (checking all the right boxes) but fail to put His Words into practice.

Almost every day we are faced with decisions to respond to Jesus and our batting average isn’t so good. Many times we’re not tuned in to what Jesus is doing (or what He might be doing) in conversations with people or with our focus and attention.

In all this, we know we are not perfect but forgiven. But before rushing out to get the bumper sticker, we must wrestle with the call of Jesus to put His Words into practice. Not to prove anything to anyone, but to become more like Jesus. I can see God working that into our lives when we yield to Him, progress being made, and for that we can be grateful.

Re: the Ten Commandments, funny how this guy is doing exactly what the religious people were doing in Jesus’ day — seeking to check all the boxes and then thinking everything is okay.

Jesus brought great clarity re: the commandments in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). There He masterfully explained that the true measure in keeping each commandment was in the heart, our motives, our desires, and our actions.

Finally, listen to the words of Jesus beautifully interpreted in the Message Version

“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard. Matthew 7:24-29

It is great to be challenged and encouraged to follow Jesus, even by an atheist in a “lighthearted rant.”

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