See I was brought up with some very black and white ideas regarding Christianity and Atheism. According to everything I was brought up to believe Christians are the best, most moral people in existence because they are: a) born again (hence not like all the unregenerate, spiritually dead people in the world), b) following the teachings and examples of Jesus and c) empowered to do so by the Holy Spirit. Atheists on the other hand had none of this and were therefore necessarily evil, morally bankrupt and untrustworthy (to put it mildly). After all, they couldn’t be moral, they don’t have God who is the basis for all morality! Every church I have ever been in taught that life had 4 basic questions:
1. Who am I? (What am I worth?)
2. Where do I come from?
3. Why am I here?
4. Where am I going when I die?
It seems so simple, Christianity gives answers of value, worth and hope but Atheism gives only scary, uncertain answers to those questions.
See I get all that, I fully understand every one of the Christian arguments and why they must be right. After all, you should see a clear difference between people who are helped and guided in life by God Himself and those who aren’t. What I don’t understand is why this doesn’t line up with reality. Coming from a Christian background/mindset I get how things are supposed to be and why. Problem is, when I look I see the opposite.
Variation in divorce rates by religion:
% have been divorced
Unpleasant statistics indeed! However, when it comes to being law abiding citizens, Christians should really outperform all others right? After all, Christians have the Holy Spirit leading them AND they have God’s Law written on their hearts not to mention several Biblical admonishments  to obey the law of the land! Surely Christians should do better than Atheists who have no moral absolute and are therefore morally relativistic and prone to do evil? Again, not according to actual reality:
Prison population by religion:
Denomination - Number - Percentage
Protestant - 26162 - 35.008%
Rasta - 1485 - 1.987%
Jewish - 1325 - 1.773%
Church of Christ - 1303 - 1.744%
Pentecostal - 1093 - 1.463%
Jehovah Witness - 665 - 0.890%
Adventist - 621 - 0.831%
Orthodox - 375 - 0.502%
Mormon - 298 - 0.399%
Judeo-Christian Total: 83.761%
Total Atheists in Prison: 0.209% (156 of the 74731 total responses)
Note that atheists, being a moderate proportion of the USA population (about 8-16%) are disproportionately less in the prison populations (0.21%).
(http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm) Also these statistics are based on prison admittance forms so conversion in prison plays no role here.
Of course, the one area where Christians must surely excel is in loving their neighbour. After all, that is the great commandment given by Jesus, second and like to loving God. In fact we are to be known by how much we love one another! After all, according to the Bible we aren’t even allowed say that we love God if we don’t love our fellow humans ! So surely, only godless Atheists would belong to hate groups, never Bible believing Christians! Again, sadly not the truth:
Ku Klux Klan Membership:
Bible believing Christians: 100%
“The American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan note that only those of "Christian faith" can be members, and asks every new recruit "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" The White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan declare that "at some point God's people must take action in the defense of our Christian, racial and political beliefs". The Camelia KKK website also explicitly states "We base our beliefs on our Biblical interpretations, not ignorance, superstition or blind hatred." How does the Camelia KKK justify its opposition to "race-mixing"? "White Christian Israelites are under God’s law and covenant. The other peoples of the earth are under nature’s law, which God also created. . . Nature’s law, which is a creation of YAHWEH, dictates that kind reproduce after kind. The different people of the world were never supposed to mix." The Imperial Klans of America declares, "We are a gathering of White Christian men and women." The National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan website declares that they "reverently acknowledge the majesty and supremacy of Almighty God and recognize his goodness and providence through his Son Jesus Christ. We avow the distinction between the races of mankind as decreed by the Lord our God, and we shall ever be true to the maintenance of His Supremacy."
USA Ranking on Adult Literacy Scale: #9
(#1 Sweden and #2 Norway) OECD
USA Ranking on Healthcare Quality Index: #37
(#1 France and #2 Italy) World Health Organization 2003
USA Ranking on Student Mathematics Ability: # 24
(#1 Hong Kong and #2 Finland) OECD PISA 2003
USA Ranking of Student Science Ability: #19
(#1 Finland and #2 Japan) OECD PISA 2003
USA Ranking on Life Expectancy: #29
(#1 Japan and #2 Hong Kong) UN Human Development Report 2005
USA Ranking on Political Corruption Index: #17
(#1 Iceland and #2 Finland) Transparency International 2005
USA Ranking on Infant Mortality Rate: #32
(#1 Sweden and #2 Finland) Save the Children Report 2006
USA Ranking on Human Development Index (GDP, education, etc.): #10
(#1 Norway and #2 Iceland) UN Human Development Report 2005
So what I am interested in finding out is why exactly are so many atheists so good at doing what Christians are so bad at doing? What is it that Atheists are doing right and Christians are doing wrong? Here are some of the (very Biblical) lessons Atheists have taught me:
Seek real vs spiritual solutions
The movie Apocalypto showed pretty graphically how gruesomely ineffective it can be to attempt to solve a real world problem by spiritual means only. In it, a South American tribe was suffering under a drought and thought this to be the wrath of the gods. To appease the gods they made one human sacrifice after another – the longer the drought went, the more people were sacrificed. Nowadays one finds that not much has changed when religious leaders blame the events of 9/11 on the acceptance of homosexuals or the 2004 Tsunami on rejecting Christ. I think atheists are far more effective in this world simply because they don’t pray for things to happen, they make it happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against prayer at all. But the attitude of just praying and waiting for God to do the work while staying inactive (holy as it may seem) is not even all that Biblical! Read the Bible – sure, people prayed, they sacrificed, they cried out to God, BUT then they went forth and actually fought the battle/did the work/met the challenge head on. Addressing the spiritual side of things is fine and good but at the end of the day, a real world problem requires real world action to be solved.
Live in the moment
One of the best loved misconceptions Christians have about Atheists is that they live empty, meaningless lives with nothing to look forward to. However, after actually getting to know some atheists I have found this to be utterly untrue. In fact, while many Christians are happy to wait for the eternal while being passive and inactive in the temporal, most atheists grasp the most fundamental thing about the here and now – it matters greatly. Unfortunately, many good Christians miss this vitally important fact – after all, there is a reason we even have sayings like “he is so heavenly minded that he is of no earthly good”. Again, this is not the kind of life Christians were meant to lead! We are here on this earth for such a brief flicker of time, why squander it? If you actually believe that God put you on this earth, how can you not see your time here as vitally important? Your life here matters, what you do with it matters, wasting it is unacceptable, tragic and completely against the teachings of Jesus. If the here and now was not important, why would Jesus even have bothered teaching the parable of the talents?
Do what is right without waiting for guidance
I think another factor that makes atheists far more effective at being a force for good in this world is the fact that they do things because it is right and because they are able. Christians on the other hand tend to not do anything unless God instructs or leads them to do it. This usually leads to a lot of sitting around and doing nothing. For instance, you can always tell which group of people in a church are “waiting on the Lord” for a marriage partner – they are the guys who stay single year after year after year. Again, the atheists manage act more Biblically correct than Christians. Take Nehemiah for instance. No angels appeared to him, God didn’t speak to him and he had no dreams and heard no voices. He did however see a problem in Israel and he was in a position to do something about it and so he did. He saw a problem and he fixed it because it was right and because he could. He did it so well in fact he got his own book in the Old Testament!
Take personal responsibility
Atheists can be forgiven for thinking that religion is a crutch for the weak minded. After all, Christians tend to use their faith as a way to duck personal responsibility all the time. They do something wrong, it’s because the devil tricked them into doing it. Alternatively, things are just passively accepted as the “will of God”. Grace and forgiveness to some Christians represent a license to do as much wrong as you like and get away with it. I think this is one of the biggest factors why atheists do so well against Christians on crime stats (among other things). The simple act of being responsible for who you are, what you do (and don’t do) goes a long way toward living a moral life and in this Atheists tend to have Christians beat hands down. Unfortunately Christians seem to have forgotten that personal responsibility is taught in the strongest terms by Jesus and the Bible. After all, if you believe in a God who will hold you accountable for your life, shouldn’t you be taking more personal responsibility in stead of less?
So in conclusion, I think Atheists live more like Christians because they are actually living more like Christ prescribed than many Christians! Of course these are simply some of my thoughts, I would love to hear yours if you have any.
 Heb 10:16
 Rom 13:1-7; Tit 3:1; 2 Pet 2:13,14,17
 Matt 22:39
 1 John 4:20
 It seems the page has been removed but can still be accessed via Google by using the “cached” option.
 I’m not sure how widespread that was but I personally heard that claim from 2 different pulpits in two different cities.
 Matt 25:15-30