The single greatest cause of atheism

Carl Deardoff

Carl Deardoff

Believe it or not, Christians might be the reason for more conversions to atheism than anything else.

Brennan Manning reflected upon this thinking when he said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Are my actions really leading people away from Christ? I believe in Jesus, go to church and pray often. I could tell you the Ten Commandments. I might even be able to explain some of the finer theological aspects of Christianity.

In dealing with all those technical aspects, I missed the bigger picture. The way I lived was not portraying Christ. I acknowledged Jesus with my lips during church, but walked out the door and didn’t praise him by the life I was living.

1 John 1:6 says, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”

I was lying to myself and not living by the truth. In short, I wasn’t practicing what I preached. I constantly walked in darkness with no remorse towards the damage I was creating. In church, I was praising God. In public, I was cursing with the same mouth. The example I was setting didn’t reflect Christ.

The truth is that the world holds Christians to a higher standard. People may see Christians as hypocrites due to the lifestyles they lead. This turns them off to Christianity. The world can’t believe how Christians can claim to be living for Christ, yet live the way they do. What’s the point of joining a faith when its followers don’t even try to live for God?

I don’t expect every Christian that reads this to go and live a perfect lifestyle from here on out. Perfection, on this earth, is impossible.

Each day we face constant struggles with temptations that lead us away from Christ. If we were perfect, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come and save us from our sins by dying on the cross.

Perfection is out of our range, but leading God-pleasing lives is not. People should be able to tell we are Christians by the way we live. Our lifestyles are to be used to glorify God. This should lead people to Him, not turn people away.

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

#1.884526:1792865895.jpg:carldeardoff.jpg:Carl Deardoff, Columnist: