A recent post on Climate Change, of all topics, brought out a fundamental difference between how religious Americans and atheists view the world. If one truly believes in an eternal afterlife then the issues facing our world today are subordinated, at least to some degree, by that reality. Most religions offer both the existence of a God, or gods, as well as the concept of eternal life if one follows certain rules or faith during life on earth. While most religions focus on specific formulas needed to obtain a favorable position after death, they often revolve around being a “good person”, while following specific rituals.
Difference Between Atheism and Religion
However, the fundamental belief of atheists (Webster) is that there is no God. So man is left with his peers and himself as the only source of authority and morality. More significant to this post is that typically atheists do not believe in an afterlife. All the pleasures and pain of life are contained in the years one exists on this earth.
Atheists believe that the fragile body we currently exist in, and its unknown lifespan on earth, is all that we can look forward to. Logically, they tend to focus on maximizing happiness in the here and now. Those who do not believe in a God that will help them through the trauma of this life and provide joy in eternal life to come have limited their worldview to earthly existence.
Difference Between Atheists and the Christians
In contrast, Biblical Christianity sees God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and an outward profession of faith (Romans 10:9) in Christ alone as the answer to eternal life in Heaven.
Christians, with a faithful belief that God is involved in their daily lives (Heb. 13:5), are both prepared for life’s challenges during their earthly existence and have the added trust that, upon death, eternity will be indescribably better (1 Cor. 2:9).
The Hidden Point on Our Earthly Existence
The hidden difference between Christians and atheists is a matter of perspective and priority as each group views the world we live in uniquely, based on their opinion of God’s provisions now and in the afterlife.
When it comes to topics like climate change, for example, Christians do see our responsibility as stewards of the earth (Gen. 1:26) and, therefore, protecting the planet is a high priority. However, we also recognize the existence of a sovereign God who is in control of all of creation. Further, Scripture tells us that the Lord is coming back at a point when the world is in chaos, in order to restore the earth and provide an eternal sanctuary called the New Heaven for those who consider Christ our Savior and Lord (2 Peter 3:13). Many Christians believe we are in the early stages of that reality. And finally, Christians see our true citizenship and treasures are not here in America or elsewhere on earth, but in Heaven.
Philippians 3:20 – But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So, as Biblical Christians, we are not, or should not be myopically focused on maximizing our pleasure on the earth, nor should we be disproportionately concerned as a citizen of this planet since, as God’s children, we are now His citizens from a Heavenly and eternal perspective. This is not to say we should ignore our responsibility to follow the laws of this land and do the best we can to bring morality and stewardship to the deteriorating world we live in. But it does set priorities that are clearly different between those who see themselves as mini-gods of this world (Atheists) vs. a Biblical Christian worldview that establishes an eternal set of priorities, authorized by a supernatural power that is above all others.
The hidden difference between atheists and those who are “religious” can be seen on issues such as the relative significance placed on solving the Climate Change riddle through Western CO2 abstinence, while our adversaries simply continue to burn more and more coal. As conflicting as it may appear, those who have only this earth and a few years of life to look forward to can have very different priorities than those who see through the lens of eternity.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
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Author – Jeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org
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