Well, we’re going to have a special session here because I just found out about the competition. “What?” you say, “somebody else has an Atheist Church service?”
That’s right folks, there’s another Atheist Church out there, and it’s going to give us a run for the money – literally – but more on that later.
So TIME magazine published a recent article about an Atheist Church (yep, that’s right!) in Texas that calls itself “Oasis.” I think “Oatheist” sounds better, but that’s just me. According to the article it was started by two former pastors who lost their “faith.” Apparently they lost any sense and reason along with it, but more on that later.
The “church” service, which I don’t think is real original, but that’s just me (I mention a similar one I attended in Dallas back in the early ’80s in my Yes God Exists book), includes a kind of sermon, music but no singing, and no moments of silence (lest any real, genuine spiritual thoughts creep in there). The article apparently didn’t mention an offering, which of course would be hypocritical because all those “real” churches want is your money. So I did some super sleuthing and found their website and sure enough, there’s a big ol’ CONTRIBUTE button right there on the homepage. So I assume they take an offering and my guess is their “pastors” did not take a vow of poverty, but I could be mistaken.
Oh, that homepage. The first statement I read on it was “People are more important than beliefs.” Wait, let me back up. The top of the homepage affirms that this community is “a compassionate community grounded in reason.” Got that? They’re REASONABLE people. So let’s do a reason litmus test on some of the tenets (not “beliefs,” now because remember, beliefs are not important) that they proudly display on their homepage, like that “people are more important than beliefs.” Well, now, maybe I ain’t no PhD in logic, but it seems to me that that statement is a belief. Or do I err? So now, I’m a little confused maybe, but how is that belief better than “love thy neighbor as thyself,” or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” Did I miss something there? Well, if I did, it’s NO WONDER they abandoned their “faith!”
The next tenet states, “Reality is known through reason.” I don’t have the foggiest idea what that actually means. Is that YOUR reason or MY reason or some animal’s reason, or maybe God’s reason – oh, wait a minute, scratch that last one. So I really can’t litmus test that one because I don’t know what it means. It does sound good though.
Then we have, “Human hands solve human problems.” Well now, when I look at the world around me, I don’t really see that happening much. It seems to me that the more we humans try to solve our problems on our own, the worse they become. Didn’t hippie communes try this one out back in the ’60s? Where are they now? What happened to love and peace and “war is not healthy for children and other living things” and all that great-sounding stuff? So I’m not so sure that one’s gonna fly either.
Ok, we then read that “Meaning comes from making a difference.” That really does sound good. But again, I haven’t the slightest idea what it means. If I rob a rich person and give money to the poor, technically I’m a thief. But have I made a difference? I guess so, both in the victim’s life and the life of the poor person. Did I derive meaning from it? Well, Robin Hood did, and if it’s good enough for Robin Hood, I guess it’s good enough for me.
“Labels are unimportant.” Except the ones that our atheist church appends on people it doesn’t like, I guess. There’s no such thing as a human being who doesn’t somehow or other label others. The fact that these guys have started this church is a tacit admission that they’ve labeled the churches they came out of when they “abandoned their faith” and labeled others who don’t “reason” like they do as being “unreasonable.” So, again, it sounds good, but in practice it’s the height of hypocrisy.
Finally, “Be accepting and be accepted in return.” In other words, we accept everyone who accepts us. Well, sort of kind of. If you DON’T accept us, we’re not going to accept you, but don’t worry, we won’t “label” you. But I can’t help but wonder… If I go to this church and tell them God doesn’t just “accept” everybody regardless of what they do, unless they repent of their evildoing, will I be accepted? The Book of Revelation 7:9 states that in Heaven there will be a “multitude whom no one can count” from every people, tribe and nation. That sounds pretty inclusive to me, so what is the Atheist Church offering that God doesn’t offer to those who come to him for forgiveness and salvation? I’m not sure I get it. God invites everyone to come to Him, even those who hate Him. There’s no “do this for me, and I’ll do that for you.” God’s word says there’s NOTHING you can do for Him. He’s God, and He has invited you to come to Him, just as you are.
This whole thing smacks of all of the following:
- Utter hypocrisy. Have these folks actually come up with anything new and original? Far from it. It’s just a church without God, but using the plan laid out by theistic churches. Plain and simple plagiarism with an omission of one word: God.
- Utter hopelessness. Humanity solving humanity’s problems simply ain’t gonna happen. We’ve been fantasizing about that since Adam and Even covered themselves with fig leaves.
- Theology from Hell. You know what? The “church” folks that attend this “church” are going to die some day, just like folks from real churches do. My hope is that some of them come to their senses before that happens, because they’re in for a huge and horrible surprise if they don’t. They are going to stand before God, they are going to acknowledge Him as God, and then He is going to tell them, “Depart from me you evildoers; I never knew you.” Those are the most awful words anyone will ever hear.
But you know what else? The same God that said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the one who became man, allowed people like the pharisees running this “church” to nail Him to a cross, and died for our, and their, sins so that we could go to Heaven and be with Him and not have to hear those awful words.
“Reason?” The more people brag about being reasonable, the less they are. These people have a chip on their shoulder against godly churches and theology, and are out to make a name (and maybe even some money – ya think?) for themselves. Can they still help people? Sure they can. You don’t have to believe in God to help your neighbor. But ultimately, where it really counts, you’d better believe that “beliefs are important.” They’re important to ISIS. They were important to the Nazis. They’re important to evolutionists and creationists. They’re important to parents. They’re important to schools. They’re important to politicians. They’re even important to Atheists – can you believe that?
If beliefs weren’t important, advertisers would go out of business, and groups like Atheists and every other “ist” and “ism” would no longer exist. Satan knows beliefs are important. You can bet on that! The first thing he did was convince Eve she could be like God. The next thing Adam and Eve wanted to do was hide from God. They WISHED He didn’t exist, I’ll bet.
And beliefs are of utmost importance to God.
It is because of unbelief that the God-haters will end up in Hell, right where they want to be. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” says the Bible. When you come to your senses and reason that human hands are not going to save human hearts, Christ will still be there for you.
Believe in Jesus and you will be saved. Believe in the tenets of the Oasis church, and you will be enslaved.
You’d better believe it!