I have just finished rereading The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn’t Exist by Craig Groeschel. There is really no way that I could recommend this book too highly. Each time I have read this book up I end up completely captivated by it and finish it within a couple of days.
Groeschel’s title says it all. Each chapter is devoted to discussing a way that we live as if God does not exist though we claim to believe in Him. Though this sounds like it could come across as judgemental or pious, it does not. The examples of failing in his faith are all personal and help draw you into the words of a man who struggles with the same things we do. (You mean pastors aren’t perfect and this doesn’t all come easy to them?! Yes, that’s what I mean.)
It’s difficult to choose just a few examples since I found myself highlighting throughout each chapter, but here are some favorites of mine. To demonstrate how sin can seem fun at first or even while we’re committing it but leaves a huge mess, Groeschel tells the story of one of his kids sneaking onto a zip-line. She is cheering all the way down until she smacks into a tree and has to be rushed to the emergency room. In the chapter titled “When you believe in God but won’t forgive,” he shares his own painful testimony about God leading him to forgive a man who had molested his sister and the miraculous results.
“When you believe in God but don’t think you can change” was the chapter that impacted me the most during this reading. He seemed to know all of my excuses. That’s just the way God made me. Well, I just come from an overweight family. How can I act a different way around people who already know me? Then Groeschel said, “If you keep making excuses, you’re insulting God’s power.” Wow. I am.
I could quote a powerful line like this from each chapter whether your concern is worry, sharing your faith, pursuing happiness at any cost (is there any larger concern in our society?), prayer, or anything else. Groeschel does not miss much and he courageously gives a personal example for each one which keeps him from becoming “preachy.”
If you are a Christian but feel like you should be doing more, read this book. In fact, read it. Put it away for a few months. Then read it again.