It can be hard to know and even harder to admit if I am living as a “practical atheist.” If I’m a nice guy (or girl) who doesn’t hurt anybody and tries to be fair, it seems awkward to think I am not living as if God existed. After all, doesn’t God want me to be nice and fair?
The 20 questions below are meant to describe what it looks like to live as a “practical atheist.” This term is not meant to be derogatory, but merely to capture what it looks like to live as if God’s existence or involvement is inconsequential to their daily life.
_____ When I do something wrong I try harder instead of repenting.
_____ I have to remind myself to pray outside of crisis times.
_____ My level of hope fluctuates strongly with my circumstances.
_____ I fear the future or get caught up in “what if” thinking.
_____ I demand to see justice when I have been wronged.
_____ I neglect reading my Bible, particularly when life is going well.
_____ My casual conversations rarely reference God or I feel embarrassed when they do.
_____ I take tomorrow (and today) for granted instead of viewing it as a gift.
_____ A primary motivation in my life is to please people and make everyone happy.
_____ When I meet new people I rarely consider if they are saved.
_____ I am more comfortable being friends or socializing with non-Christians.
_____ I do not avoid or try to avoid thinking about what is after death.
_____ I struggle to give cheerfully to God through His church.
_____ My parenting focuses on changing my child’s behavior more than their heart.
_____ My advice to family or friends rarely references God or the Bible.
_____ I tend to think that non-Christians are able to have more fun.
_____ I believe “time heals all wounds” instead of considering how God would redeem my suffering.
_____ I explain things as being “lucky” or I am superstitious.
_____ I take credit for good consequences and feel upset about bad consequences.
_____ I expect my close relationships (spouse, kids, parents) to be able to keep me happy.
There is not a scale for this evaluation. If we try to develop a scale for our awareness of God, then the authentic worship of living continually in the awareness of God degenerates into legalism. Instead of “scoring” this assessment, look at each item you checked and consider it as revealing another opportunity to experience God in the details of life.
If you checked a significant majority of the items, examine whether you have ever truly embraced the Gospel and, thereby, truly know God. Have you viewed your life as desperately needing Jesus’ death to pay for your sin and His resurrection to purchase new life? Have you surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus, committing to follow His teaching and doing whatever He calls you to do? If the answer is no, we at The Summit would love to talk with you about the hope of Christ available to you.
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Theology and Counseling” post which address other facets of this subject.