I suspect atheism will only get more popular as we go deeper into this secular age, given that it caters to (preys upon) our basest evolutionary instincts for power and control, and we’re all about instincts these days. Just as well, I suppose, as too many so-called “believers” are comfortable having their cake and eating it too — meaning they reap all the rewards of belief (the afterlife, someone to talk to when they’re lonely, a built-in community, divine imprimatur for all their nutty ideas, a “purpose”) — without having to suffer any of the slings and arrows that come with a counter-cultural commitment to Jesus. “Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness’ sake…” How quaint.
If I sound terribly cynical, I suppose I am. Are there pockets of belief that inspire me and that call me to ask the hard questions about my relationship to sex, money, and violence (for example), the three current vices of American culture? Yes, there are, and I am both moved and challenged by them, and hope some day to count myself in their number. But pockets they are, and pockets I’m afraid they’ll remain. Of course, I believe in a God of grace and forgiveness, and we will all rely on both when the time comes (I am not a proponent of works righteousness for all the obvious reasons). But do I think we’ve managed to water down the radical call to discipleship to the point where so much of what passes for Christianity looks unrecognizable from its origins? Yes I do. So in the end, perhaps we’re the ones to blame for this current morass. There will be hell to pay, I’m sure.
But on to more interesting things at this point. One can only kick against the atheist goad so many times. At some point, you just need to up and walk away.