Monday, September 23, 2013

Religious... But Not Spiritual

Earlier this past year I ran into a news story which introduced the world to the first "atheist church" which started up in the UK.  Since then, I recently came across a sort of "follow up" story in which we see that the atheist church has grown and is growing... quite fast.

Started by two comedians in the UK it seems like a joke.  But upon closer inspection it seems as if it's one of the biggest (and probably cruelest) jokes being played upon the souls of men.  What do I mean?

The idea of the atheist church is like an archer who broadly aims at a target with no intention of hitting the bulls eye.  In many ways, it tries to mimic something spiritual that human beings innately recognize, and that is the need for worshiping God.  In other words, that which the atheist has abandoned is something they are seeking out subconsciously.

People were created to worship God.  That's why God gave us the Bible, a conscience, and a soul.  We were created in His image (Gen. 1: 25-28).  By the nature of God's lawful command to humanity to procreate and fill the earth we are to fill the earth with His image.  Furthermore, we were created distinctively apart from other creatures for this purpose.

As the theologian Meredith Kline also points out, the Garden of Eden itself functioned as a Temple for man to have communion with God.  The reason humanity was kicked out in the first place was because in sin, the priestly duties of cleaning the Temple could no longer be performed by Adam.  Instead it was up to God.  That's why every Tabernacle and Temple thereafter had a divide between the Holy of Holies where God's presence sat and the people of God.

So in essence, as humanity is created for worship it is only natural that we would gather together to do so.  We have the propensity to seek that which is beyond ourselves.  The atheists in this church community then in only trying to emulate something which they were designed to do by natural law.  Humanity has urges to worship.

This is apparent as it is no coincidence that one of the church's founders was a former Christian.  They admit that there is a sense of community within the church that atheists cannot have because there is no organized irreligious way for them to gather.  Thus, they have invented a gathering which in itself is religious though not "spiritual" in the sense that their object of worship is none other than themselves.

As their preacher says, "Just being alive; to be conscious that you are alive, and celebrate that, is just as transcendental as anyone's god."

The atheist, you see, does have a god.  It's the one in the mirror.  Their own celebration of life is their attempt at spiritualizing their hollow life experience.  They worship life itself as if it is a god.

Indeed, a lot of eastern meditation seeks this kind of subjective experience of the divine within themselves.  This however can go nowhere outside of oneself.  It contains no objective truth.  It has no redeemer for their sin problem.  It does not deal with injustice in the world or cosmically.  It only seeks to falsely elevate their own sense of superiority over others who have faith outside of themselves.

I doubt this was what Nietzsche had in mind when he said that God was dead.

Even the great French postmodern philosopher Jacques Derrida said that after post modernity the next big thing was "religion".  It seems that the atheist has finally found it.

But that's the cruelty of the joke.  For there may be temporal pleasures in the things of this world, but there is nothing for them after the experience.  Their momentary sense of gratification slips through their fingers like sand and their deepest needs still need to be addressed.  Sadly, there is no peace found in the atheist church, it's just smoke and mirrors.    


  1. Love the blog Pastor Solomon, and it's a great perspective on the atheist church. It's a sobering reality, and a reminder of Romans 3:11. Praying that people will receive the gospel!

    1. Sorry Andrew. I got you confused with another guy named Andrew Ong. LOL...

      Anyways, thanks for the compliment. I am trying to write more. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully you've also found a replacement for your guitar!