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So “Secular Churches” are Actually Becoming a Thing?

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Apostasy, Cult, News, Opinion, Religion, Social-Issues, The Church

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In the whimsical world of today’s headlines, the Milwaukee Independent shines a spotlight on what might be the ultimate oxymoron of the 21st century: atheist churches. Imagine, if you will, congregations gathering with all the trappings of religion—sans the pesky involvement of any deity. It’s as if they’re playing dress-up with the very idea of spirituality, crafting a God-free zone where they can seek connection, meaning, and purpose. It’s a bit like trying to bake a cake without flour—sure, you can stir up something, but can you really call the result a cake?

Here’s a snippet from the Milwaukee Independent article:

Secular congregations often mimic religious organizations by using the language and structure of a “church,” such as meeting on Sundays or hearing a member’s “testimony,” or by adapting religious language or practices in other ways. For example, there are a growing number of psychedelic churches, which cater to people looking to experience spirituality and ritual through drug use.

There are also secular organizations that promote the idea that people can live forever, such as the Church of Perpetual Life. Members believe they can achieve immortality on Earth through radical life-extension technologies such as gene editing or cryonic preservation – freezing bodies after death in hopes that they can someday be resuscitated.

These secular congregations often appeal to atheists and other secular people, but their main purpose is not promoting atheism.

Great. So here we are, in the great American wide-open, crafting a spiritual “Potemkin village” where we erect facades of religious institutions, minus the heart and soul of belief. It’s as though society, in a staggering display of irony, decides to mimic the exact thing it often criticizes. This raises a cosmic-sized eyebrow at the lengths to which humans will go to fill the “God-shaped hole” in their hearts with anything but God. It’s akin to insisting on sailing the ocean without a compass, celebrating the journey while being fundamentally lost.

Turning our gaze to the Scriptures, Romans 1 and Psalm 14 offer a God-breathed flashlight on this modern secular conundrum. Romans 1:20-25 lays it out, showing humanity’s knack for idolizing the hand over the Hand that made it. Here’s the crux, humans have an innate GPS for God, but some prefer to play “hide and seek” with the truth. Remember Adam and Eve trying to hide from God in the garden while covering themselves with fig leaves? Didn’t work, did it?

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Meanwhile, Psalm 14:1 presents us with the ultimate reality of such folly: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” This isn’t about name-calling over brainpower—it’s highlighting a tragic comedy of denying the undeniable, like refusing to admit the sun rises in the east.

Witnessing the emergence of secular, or atheist “churches” is like watching atheism perform a high-wire act of faith. Yes, faith—with a capital ‘F’. They stand there, on the precipice of the material world, claiming there’s nothing beyond. It’s a bold statement, akin to a fish in a bowl claiming there’s no world outside the glass. Atheism, in its staunch denial of anything beyond the seen, makes a leap of faith so grand it deserves its own circus act, betting everything on humanity’s limited edition brainpower.

The rise of these godless congregations isn’t just a societal quirk, it’s, as I’ve stated many times, the canary in the coal mine, signaling a deeper spiritual malaise. As the ground beneath society’s feet crumbles away from the true faith’s firm foundation, we’re left grappling with the fallout. This spectacle calls for Christians not to simply scoff from the sidelines—though scoffing is what such foolishness deserves. Rather, we are to pity them, armed with the gospel’s hope and truth, and the understanding that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

In this bizarre era of “atheist churches,” the ancient wisdom of Scripture and the revolutionary love of Christ stand as the lighthouse for humanity’s ship-seeking harbor in the storm of existential search. It’s a striking reminder that in the buffet of life’s questions, the gospel offers not just one more dish but the whole feast that truly satisfies the soul’s hunger. Anything else is but mere idolatry.

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