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01 November 2008

Agnosticism and the Church - Part III

If you haven't read the posts and subsequent comments at the first two writings on this subject, go here and here. Then read this one. Or, hey, just read this one (which technically doesn't address agnosticism).

I'm reading a book called Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist, by Dave Schmelzer (his name links to his blog), and I'm loving it. Schmelzer's writing style is a bit like C. S. Lewis' in phrasing and in general wit, and I wonder if he's British, although he lives in Boston. The following paragraph is from the chapter entitled "I'm Better Than You":

I meet plenty of people who, as was true in my case, want God if he's out there to be found. But I never meet anybody who wants religion. Or who wants the right belief, as if they're walking around banging their foreheads in fear that maybe they're believing the wrong things. Or someone who wants to finally be a good person, as opposed to the evil-hearted conniver he or she has been.

I can't sum up the book, but I can say that until we're exhibiting God's internally-based love that He's willing and able to give us (that may sound cheesy, but it's accurate), we can't help pushing the mentality that essentially says, "Hey, you really need to belong to this religion we're in, because we're better than you and you ought to be like us." If we present our message this way (and if we believe that), people are going to think we're absolutely nuts!

Jesus said to His disciples, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (John 13:35, NLT) Not by how pious we are, how many rules we're able to follow, who we vote for, or how neat and clean our worldview is. But by how much we love one another. That love will spill over into everything we do because it's where our identity is founded.


Jan said...

This is the heart of Christianity - that it is who we ARE, not what we DO. Yes, we will act differently, but - as you say - it will flow out of our lives and hearts, out of who we are. Good post.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jan's comments - this is the heart of Christianity.

This is were we as Christians fail miserably (Me personally)

I hated being refered to as a 'Religious Type', I'm just an average Joe (not Joe the Plummer) who believes in Christ. So I avoided conflict by trying to live a 'quiet' Christian life; so in actuality I became a Christian manican - good on the outside but dead on the inside.

I think the root of the matter is that most Christians try to prove their's is the 'Right Belief' instead of living what they believe. Pastor Lee said it best: We (Christians) need to stop defending the Bible and start Proclaiming the Bible.

"The biggest cause of Atheism in the world is Christians; who proclaim Jesus at church yet deny Him by their lifestyle. This is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." (DC Talk)

Ted Stroup

Dean Lusk said...

We're all apparently doing that "same wavelength" thing here. Awesome comments, Ted.

Dave Smelzer says something very similar in the book. Perople tend to prefer their moral superiority over everything else (Christians included, unfortunately -- I've been inthat camp and hope I'm thoroughly out of it by now) .

kucole said...

Glad you are enjoying the book! If you are interested, Dave did an online chat last week at and gave some additional comments about the book. Check it out, if you are interested:

Dean Lusk said...

Thanks, Kucole! Will have a look at the link.

And I finished the book this afternoon! Woo! That breaks my long (and growing) chain of books I've started but not finished.

I highly recommend it.

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