Day-to-Day Atheism

The phenomenon of the day-to-day atheist is becoming more and more common. What I mean by the term is not that someone necessarily holds firmly to atheist beliefs (i.e. completely denies the existence of God) but who lives their life as if there’s no God/gods, regardless of what they actually believe if asked to think about it. You can see how this term is pretty broad. It might, for example, cover so-called ‘nominal’ or ‘Sunday’ Christians – people who say they’re Christians but don’t actually allow that belief to affect their lives – or it may refer to people who are agnostic and don’t really know what they believe, but who live their lives as if under the assumption that there’s no God. It’s a pretty sweeping net that probably catches a fair few people walking round in our post-everything 21st century world[1].

What right do I, as an openly Christian blogger, have to write about other people’s beliefs? Shouldn’t I just leave people, be they day-to-day atheists or otherwise, to it; get on with my life and let them get on with theirs? In a world where belief is supposed to stay private, how dare I talk about this? The thing is, I believe these ideas are worth discussing, and unless you’re a hard-line nihilist (in which case you’d probably have something to say on this anyway) I struggle to see how anyone could honestly say that it’s not worth at least trying to find out if God exists. If you’re satisfied that he doesn’t then you go with that, but if there’s even a hint of doubt in your mind I don’t see how you could pass up the chance to check for yourself. Because, assuming for a moment that actually mainstream Christianity is more or less accurate (or even that any other major world religion is more or less accurate) that’s a pretty big deal with undeniably real consequences for every individual human being. I can’t help thinking that, given the possibility of God’s existence, we owe it to ourselves to at least be sure of what we believe, and not just go through life as a day-to-day atheist because we can’t be bothered to think.

I just want to clarify that this is not me trying to have a go at people. I just really think that these issues are too important for people to sweep under the carpet. Let’s get religion and ideas of God out of the private sphere and into the public, let’s open up and start some discussions. This is not the time or place for me to start going into the reasons that I believe God exists as that could spark a needless debate that may take away from the point that I’m actually trying to make in this post. What I’m trying to encourage any of you who have read this and had to admit that you are, in fact, a day-to-day atheist, to do is to simply ask questions. Don’t be content with leaving tricky topics by the wayside. Questions like this:

“Do I think there could be a God?”

“Am I sure of what I believe?”

“Is there more to life than this?”[2]

These are the sorts of simple questions to ask that can set you on the path of actually coming to a point where you can say that you’ve considered what you believe and why. Whether or not you decide that there is something to the claims of various religions that God exists is irrelevant at this point; that’s a topic for another day. What’s important at this point is that you’ve opened your mind to the possibility of something beyond yourself and from there you can actually start to think. Please don’t be content with a bubble of ignorance because you can’t be bothered to look into this.

As a Christian I believe that Jesus called me (and all other Christians) to go out into the world and talk about Him, to have these sorts of discussions with people and encourage them to open up to the possibility of faith. I’ll admit that I’m not the best at talking about this sort of thing in person (which is part of the reason why I think it’s important that I keep up this blog, so that my Christianity can hopefully never become too private), but Christians do have a duty to get this sort of conversation going. That might sound pushy and weird in the 21st century but I don’t think Christians should be cowed by an attitude that is merely the dominant one of the present day and may change a few years/decades down the line. There is no actual basis for the belief that religion should be private that’s worth sticking to. So if you’re a Christian, I encourage you (and I’m talking to myself as much as anyone) to not be afraid to get people talking about this, to bring them gently to the point where they can have the courage to ask their own questions.

If this post has in some way resonated with you then my hope is that you won’t go away and never think about it again. If you see yourself as a day-to-day atheist, unsure of what you really believe but going through life as if there’s no God anyway then please don’t be afraid to start asking questions. Please don’t be content to live in a bubble that you’ll come to regret further down the line. And if you’re a Christian reading this and you know, like me, that there’s more you could be doing, then I say we need to get out there and do it. If we want to encourage people not to be afraid to ask questions then we need to get out there and show the courage to make them want to ask questions. It’s up to us to model the changes that we want to see in the world.

 

[1] What happens when we get post the post- stuff?

[2] Thanks, Alpha

One Comment Add yours

  1. Adam Hellyer says:

    Reblogged this on Adam Hellyer and commented:
    Challenging us to get off the fence…

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