The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist
By Craig Groeschel
The title of the book, The Christian Atheist, really caught my attention. I mean, those two words should not go together. Aren’t they opposites? Mutually exclusive? I was perplexed, interested, and a little uneasy to begin to read a book with the words Christian and atheist together on the front cover. I wasn’t really sure what I would find, but my curiosity, as well as the sub-title, Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist, was enough to pull me in. And boy, am I glad I did! Craig Groeschel’s book is a relevant, easy-to-read book that really hit home for me.
Craig’s book begins with his personal testimony, his story of how he came to know Jesus and his journey to become a pastor. While some may be surprised at his honesty with his struggles throughout his life (after all he is a pastor), I found them to be very refreshing (after all, he is human). He openly writes about his temptations to separate his belief in God from his reality of daily living. The Christian Atheist is filled with practical applications, real-life stories, and lots of scripture to help us as we put our own lives under the microscope.
Each of the twelve chapters of the book are written on a different topic. The chapter titles all begin with the sentence, “When you Believe in God, but…” Some of them include:
…Don’t Really Know Him
…Not in Prayer
…Don’t Think You Can Change
…Still Worry All the Time
…Don’t Share Your Faith
Craig, pastor of a multi-campus church in Oklahoma, also talks about three lines in his book.
Line 1: I believe in God and in the gospel of Christ enough to benefit from it…
Line 2: I believe in God and Christ’s Gospel enough to contribute comfortably…
Line 3: I believe in God and Christ’s Gospel enough to give my life to it (p. 236-237).
Craig suggests that some of us are full-time moms, or bankers, or teachers and only part-time Christians. Through his book, he asks some of the hard questions. We are given the opportunity to take a self-evaluation of our lives and see if there are areas that we are not living out the faith that we say we have in God.
How often in my life is my faith only in my head? I say that I believe in God, but I don’t live my life in a way that proves it. Why is it culturally acceptable even in the church to be believers of God and filled with His Holy Spirit, but still be people who are stuck living with fear, doubt, worry, patterns of sin and lots of other junk? If I truly believe that God is all-powerful, why am I not believing Him to be powerful in my life?
The Christian Atheist is a great tool to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction and change in your life. If you are open to reading a book that might step on your toes and challenge you to really evaluate your faith, I highly recommend this one.
Reviewed by Christy Carmean
Published by Zondervan