"I Believe In God, BUT..." (Or "How to be a Religious Atheist")
You are no doubt aware of professing atheists that declare they do not believe in God; but did you know that there are "religious atheists"? These folks claim to believe in God, but their actions habitually tell a different story. Jesus said, "By their fruits you will know them" (Matt. 7: 20). Below are several examples:
"I believe in God, but... Sundays are my only day off (and so I only occasionally attend services)." God says, “…let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
"I believe in God, but... I don't need to attend Bible classes." (For those opting to spend that time studying the Bible with family or alone, omitting classes may be justified, but many spend that time in bed or reading the paper.) God says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
"I believe in God, but... it is the preacher's job to visit the sick, shut-ins and backsliding members."God says, “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10) –AND- “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” (James 1:27)
"I believe in God, but... I'd rather talk about others' sins than speak directly to them." God says, “…if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” (Matt. 18:15) –AND- “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” (James 4:11)
"I believe in God, but... I refuse to forgive (so and so) for what they did years ago." God says, "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him." (Luke 17:3-4)
"I believe in God, but... I have too many financial obligations to give Him more than a dollar or two each week." God says, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38)
"I believe in God, but... I lose sleep worrying about how I will pay my bills or feed my children.” God says, “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? …seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:25, 33)
"I believe in God, but... I don't need to repent of my sins or be baptized." God says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
"I believe in God, but... I have the right to join any denomination I choose." God says, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) –AND- “…by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13).
If one refuses to comply with what God says in His word, his faith is suspect and he may be a “religious atheist”.
Jesus, always Jesus!