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Tuesday, October 31, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

What next?

From Steve:

It seems that many people who cease to be Christian feel some kind of relief as a result. It is almost as if they had taken off something that was ill-fitting and felt the relief at its absence: like taking off shoes which are a size too small. But what sort of religion did they have in the beginning? Why did it fit so badly? Christianity is not meant to be burdensome; quite the opposite. As Jesus said, "Take my yolk and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest. For the yoke I give you is easy, and the load I put on you is light." [Matthew 11:29-30] In fact God's perfect teaching makes people free. [James 1:25] It is the truth that sets you free. [John 6:32] What was going on before the decision to quit? When did you look back after you started to plow for the Kingdom of God? [Luke 9:62] What had been the progress since you were born again? Had you matured as a Christian or were you never really converted at all? How did your pastor, elders and Christian friends react when they saw your faith slipping away, just dying, or did your conversion to atheism come in a Damascene moment?

What are you doing to advance your atheism now? Through the intervention of the Holy Spirit working within them and the application of spiritual disciplines, Christians seek to deepen their faith and their relationship with God through prayer; studying and memorizing, and meditating upon, God's Word; fasting; solitude; frugality; collective worship; community service; giving; and witnessing. They have the example of Jesus to follow as His disciples. We develop, we strive and we grow. "I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, as I run straight towards the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers us in Christ Jesus." [Philippians 3:13-14] Christianity gives purpose, direction and reward.

As an atheist what do you do? What sort of introspection or quiet time do you have each day? What books do you study daily to search for the truth? Whose example do you follow? Whose authority do you accept? What disciplines do you practise to grow and mature your atheism? Do you have an accountability partner or support group like the Promise Keepers to help you overcome any lingering spiritual inclination? Where does it lead? Or does it require no effort at all on your part and lead nowhere?