It has come to my attention that we have quite a few atheists worshipping in our congregations. The only problem is that they do not know that they are atheists. One cannot know just by looking at them if they are atheists or not. They can be at all levels of the church right from the most humble of the grassroots members, to deacons, elders, pastors and even conference officials.
Each and everyone of these individuals apparently believe and loudly proclaim that they follow the God of the Bible and to all intents and purposes it appears that they do. So how can we identify these people as atheists when not even they know that they are? Well, it so happens that there are a number of criteria which will help one sniff out a Seventh-day Atheist.
1. Seventh-day Atheists look to the government for solutions to their daily problems.
Whether it be taxes, the status of the church in society, insurance these people are always after the government to change its ways in a manner that benefits themselves. My favourite example that is used by these people is the petition. If you ever bother to look at the words of a bonafide petition you will find it is essentially a prayer to the government that they do something about some particular matter. It is my favourite in an ironic way because it is a prayer to man as opposed to a prayer to God.
2. Seventh-day Atheists are generous with other people's money.
This one is closely associated with the first criteria as, when it comes to welfare, they look to the government to provide them with the means to live as opposed to God. If the government begins to take away some of the benefits that they enjoy they will loudly protest this. Of course, the only way the government can provide benefits is to take money from other people.
3. Seventh-day Atheists worship a god of their own making all the while believing that it is the God of the bible.
For example, there are some who say “I could never worship a sexist God” or “I could never worship a God who punishes people or kills them” These people have in essence decided for themselves what is “good” independent of the divine. They then expect God to jump through hoops of their making to prove to their satisfaction that He is in fact “good.” In essence, they have done what the atheist has done, that is to set themselves up as gods over the universe in the place of the Creator God.
4. Seventh-day Atheists push Social Justice agendas that are popular with the world but often at variance with the teachings of the Bible.
For example, the current hoo-har over refugees and how the Bible teaches us to treat our fellow brother. They make a really big deal over the fact that Jesus was a refugee all the while conveniently ignoring the fact that He only went into the country next door to His home country and returned as soon as the father heard that the monarch who motivated their departure was dead.
Of course there is also the current maelstrom surrounding Women's ordination. Then there is the question of how we are supposed to treat practising homosexuals within the church with an almighty push to allow them into membership. All of this has arisen from a false idea of what God is like and has been influenced by the direction the world has gone in its moral standards in this day and age. In other words Seventh Day Atheists are letting pagans rather than God dictate to us what our moral values should be.
5. Seventh-day Atheists express an intense desire to be seen as “normal” by the world and other Christian denominations. In essence they have made a god of public opinion about them. Of course there is the plausibility argument that this is desirable because outsiders who see us as common will be more likely to join the church—which conveniently ignores the following:
- Salvation is an act of God not an act of man.
- Becoming common in a worldly sense means that we are no longer offering an alternative to what the world is offering humanity.
- While becoming “normal” in the eyes of the world may ostensibly make it easier for pagans to join the church the reverse is also true. With a low barrier into the church—over which converts and apostates can easily navigate—the number of apostasies will increase tremendously. Any chemist will be able to tell you that when there is a low Activation Energy barrier between products and reactants—and both sides of the reaction sit at similar energy levels—there will always be a huge amount of traffic between both sides. It is my understanding that it is the church's intention to keep its converts.
6. Seventh-day Atheists always work from a position of scepticism all the while conveniently ignoring Jesus’ admonitions for us to believe. This scepticism manifests itself in various ways especially in the following:
a. Insisting that some particular spiritual point is not supported in the Bible because it only shows up two or three times in the bible. Just as well Jesus ignored that criteria! He fought the battle of the three temptations by quoting scriptures that appeared in the Bible only once. Eg. “Man shall not live by bread alone….” appears only once in the old testament (Deut 8:3). The problems with working from a position of scepticism is that:
- it is impossible for a sceptical SDA to be sceptical of their own scepticism.
- EGW has told us that God will always leave room for doubt meaning that scepticism alone is not going to cut it.
b. Mock some aspect of the OT laws conveniently ignoring the fact that those laws are still exercised in today's society. Eg. Deu 22:8.
7. Seventh-day Atheists “believe” that there is only one authoritative book from which we should gain support for our doctrines. I use the scare quotes because I doubt their alleged belief in the Bible. They certainly don't seem to accept its inspiration even though their gums flap the right kind of sounds. They certainly don't accept Ellen White, and if anything are embarrassed by her presence in our libraries and hate it when she is quoted from. There are an increasing number of churches today that will not even mention anything from her writings.
8. Seventh-day Atheists are real clock-watchers on the Sabbath day. They watch the clock at church to ensure that the preacher finishes right at noon. They watch the clock on Friday evening when they're trying to catch up on the latest in news etc. They especially watch the clock Sabbath afternoon while drearily waiting for the sun to set so that they can get on with the “fun” things of life. We know it is a real burden to them because they often bleat about how long the Sabbath afternoons are during the summer when Daylight Saving time is in vogue. Interestingly this clock watcher attitude is found in all other areas of their “Christian” walk. I call this attitude “The Christianity of Minimums.” What this means is they are always asking themselves consciously or subconsciously “What is the minimum amount of effort/goodness/righteousness that I need to put forward to still get into the Kingdom?”
In summary. A Seventh-day Atheist is really an atheist at heart who hankers after the world but is too much of a coward to come down solidly on one side of the fence or the other. The lukewarmer of which God speaks. Be careful my atheist brother. That fence you're sitting on is developing a sharper edge. It will get to the point where you will have to move or be destroyed. Make your choice now before the discomfort becomes unbearable.
George Tasker hails from Melbourne, Australia. He is a lover of Maths and Science who hated English as a subject. In the Land down Under, George converted from being a liberal who enjoyed stirring conservatives to a conservative who now enjoys rocking the liberal boat. George is father of three children who are finishing their studies this year. He and his wife will be celebrating their thirtieth anniversary in 2017.