Are You Suffering From Atheistic Tendencies?

by Tad Lindley

Reputable surveys suggest that somewhere between two and four percent of Americans are atheist. In case you are not up on the lingo, an atheist is a person who denies that God even exists.

Christians are at the other end of the spectrum from the atheist. The Christian knows that there is one Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4, Ephesians 4:5), and will not turn from that truth. But unlikely as it might seem, many Christians are suffering from atheistic tendencies.

We will never stand up in public and deny the God that bought us. We will never sue to have the words “one nation under God” stricken from the pledge. We are not in-your-face atheists; and yet we are Christians struggling with atheistic tendencies.

Symptoms of low-level atheism:

1. Worry

The number one symptom of mild atheism is worry. Jesus had a beautiful sermon on worry in Matthew 6, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature [make himself any taller]?…Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry…but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:25-33 NKJV) This is a powerful promise straight from the mouth of God. It tells us that if we seek him and his kingdom first, we will be provided for.

Every time we take a thought break and begin to wonder about how we will pay the stove oil bill, or the light bill, or what we are going to do if we get laid off from work in six months, we are worrying. We are actually telling the Lord, “Jesus, you know all that stuff you said in Matthew chapter six about how you will take care of us? I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that you can do what you promised, so I am taking matters into my own hands; I’m going to worry about it until the situation is taken care of.”

2. Swearing and anger

I have only sworn two times since receiving the Holy Ghost. The Lord has the power to change our attitudes and habits. I wish I could say that I never get angry anymore either, but that is not the case. Just like you, I struggle with atheistic tendencies.

Every time something doesn’t go the way we want it to and we get angry, we are telling the world, “I am losing my temper, because this problem is so messed up that not even God can sort it out”. When we slam doors, swear, yell, break dishes, speed, or shake our fist at somebody we are in the grip of an atheism attack.

You see the Bible very clearly states that there is nothing too hard for God to fix. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV) This is why a person who has been born again can hit their thumb with a hammer and not swear. This is why the sincere Christian can look at a flat tire and say, “I guess God needs to slow me down, because he has someone he needs me to cross paths with today.” Swearing and getting angry only says, “There is absolutely no way that God can turn this flat tire into a blessing!”

3. Stinginess

Some people are so greedy that they actually rob God. …In what way have we robbed God? In tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8 NKJV)) To those who would hold back the tithe the Lord has a challenge: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (3:10 NKJV)

The tithe is the first ten percent of a paycheck, a PFD, a TANF check, a moose, Hugo Chavez stove oil, or any other blessing that the Lord sends your way. Every time that we decide not to tithe, we are trusting in ourselves to make ends meet and not trusting in God. Not only that, we are excluding ourselves from the powerful promise of God.

Avoiding a major atheism attack

If you are experiencing all three of these symptoms on a regular basis, that is 1) you are worrying, 2) you are prone to fits of anger, and 3) you are not tithing and offering, you are at extreme risk for very serious complications from your atheism. The only preventative measure is repentance. Meet with God in prayer. Pour your heart out in godly sorrow and ask for him to deliver you from atheistic tendencies.

Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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1 Comment

  1. I never understood why the Lord would require a tithe. Surely God Himself has no use for money or earthly goods. And if I’m not contributing directly to God, but rather to the church, I’m curious as to why they’d need it either. Your article makes it clear that good Christians should neither worry nor feel anger, as any misfortune they experience is part of God’s plan, and that there is no hardship too great for him to overcome. Why then, should a religious institution depend on compelling its members to donate 10% of their earnings? Should they not simply trust in God to provide for his own house of worship, the way he provides for everyone else? Churches are, after all, exempt from taxes.

    What about the pious millionaire, who only became rich through the grace of God’s plan (a plan which, for whatever reason, prescribes a lifetime of poverty and hunger for other equally pious Christians). If God bestows enormous wealth upon a very few, should it not be their responsibility to fund whatever the Church requires? For that matter, can a truly good Christian even BE enormously wealthy? Christ’s proverb about the needle’s eye comes to mind…

    And what is a church, but a place for the faithful to congregate and praise God? Having four walls and a roof, what more does it truly need? Why should a house of God be adorned with gold and silver, as so many now are? Why must a pastor draw a salary, or missionaries be paid to evangelize? Can God, who is capable of anything, not provide for his most enthusiastic servants? What in turn is the purpose of evangelism? If God’s plan calls for a non-believer to convert, it will be so.

    You urge the poor Christian not to worry, even in regard to where his next meal will come from, or even if he will be able to feed his own family- for worry indicates a lack of trust in God. What then of the wealthy Christian who is never tempted to worry in the first place? Is he more secure in his faith, if only because he never doubts the availability of food or shelter, owing to that wealth?

    What about a Christian child who is constantly bullied for some physical difference, or merely because other children can be cruel? You assert that this child’s resulting hurt and anger puts them in danger of rejecting God- that they should accept their torment and trust that the Lord will make things right. Meanwhile, the handsome, popular child- doted on by adults and peers alike- experiences no such anger because he’s routinely praised and treated with kindness; is he categorically more faithful? Is it all just another facet of the ineffable plan that some children must perpetually suffer in silence, while others live in safety and comfort, untroubled by anger or worry?

    Frankly, it all sounds like nothing more than a coping mechanism for our guilt over an imperfect world, and our inability to impose true justice or equality upon it. It does however help me to understand the widely held Christian belief that bad things (not flat tires- truly AWFUL things like starvation or incurable disease) really only happen to bad people. Conversely, it’s lovely to think that good, faithful Christians navigating some terrible ordeal will eventually recover and prosper if they remain faithful… except millions don’t. Every day, innocents die from starvation; they succumb to those incurable diseases. Their prayers it would seem, fall on deaf ears.

    Why would an omniscient, loving God allow such horrible suffering to ensue while other men lead lives of wickedness only to be rewarded with luxury? I suppose it must be that plan of his at work once again. But returning to where I began, the contradictions inherent in tithing have led me to another conclusion: that long ago, some of those wicked men realized they could extort their religious adherents for money by claiming it was God’s will. Furthermore, thanks to those tax exemptions they could keep it all for themselves. This is evident when contrasting some of the unimaginably rich Christian institutions around the world with their exceedingly poor congregations… and you’ve chosen to rebuke the latter for having the audacity to let themselves worry about their day-to-day survival.

    You’re mistaken about one more thing. Worry and anger aren’t the enemies of faith- that would be critical thinking, and challenging some of the glaring oversights in Christianity’s pronouncements- which is what I’m respectfully attempting to do here.

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