Julian Baggini, atheist, was invited to give a sermon this week at Westminster Abbey. Goodness, the world has fallen. Here is an excerpt of his post-sermon commentary, published in the Guardian UK:
“Last Monday, I delivered an atheist “sermon” from the pulpit of Westminster Abbey. It was surprising enough that the chaplain of Westminster School had invited me to give a “thought for the day” to the assembled students, even more so when he suggested I talked about why I was an atheist.” …”But there are also lots of atheists like me. We simply do not believe in God because we see no good reason to do so. To invite us into the citadels of faith and ask us to explain what we believe is therefore not to bring the enemy though the gate, simply because we are not the enemy.” …”I would suggest that a far greater enemy to the kind of liberal Anglicanism that has prevailed in the Church of England, custodian of Westminster Abbey, would be a biblical literalist. But I do not imagine that the decision to allow such a person to talk in Westminster Abbey would raise as many eyebrows as the decision to let an atheist do so.”
And there we have it. People who believe in the bible are more dangerous than atheists, or liberals. Our wonderful bible tells us that this condition would prevail. We were told that “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” (2 Peter 3:3). Peter uses the phrase ‘first of all,’ indicating that the condition he is about to describe is primary and should be well-remembered and focused upon. It will be prevalent throughout the end days. In the verse immediately prior to his mention of the mockers and scoffers, Peter said that it was the prophets of old, and Jesus Himself who urge us to remember that our beliefs will be mocked and scoffed at. Peter said, “I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.” His statement about mockers is not only next, but he points to it as the first thing we should remember. “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” And then Peter launches into an exhortation on other conditions that will be prevalent in the world, which continues for 18 verses.
Jude also reminds us of Peter’s words: “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” (Jude 1:18).
The mocking is not toward all Christians. It is only to ‘bible literalists” who have a ‘blind faith’ and who are ‘dogmatic.’ That’s me. Or at least that is what the atheists call me, because I do believe the bible literally and my faith cannot be shaken. If that describes you too, take good cheer. Peter gives encouragement: “what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter3:11b-13).
Believers who are liberals have conformed to the world to a degree that atheists find comfortable, or at least, tolerable. It is only the ‘bible literalists’ who cause such angst for the atheist. It is because we speak of judgment, standards for entering heaven, and punishment for actions chosen during this life. Non-believers do not want to think that they will be held to account for the choices they make, and thus, to them, we are the enemy.
In addition to mocking and scoffing, Jesus warned us of another condition the world will be in: believers will be lukewarm. They are not cold, like atheists. They are not hot, like bible literalists. They are lukewarm, like the folks at Westminster Abbey. They will be liberals who pervert the gospel to more closely match the culture, making it more comfortable for everybody. However, that comfort will not last long, because at judgment day, Jesus will say to them:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Mr Baggini concludes, “I see my allies as being the community of the reasonable, and my enemies as the community of blind faith and dogmatism. Any religion that is not unreasonable and not dogmatic should likewise recognise that it has a kinship with atheists who hold those same values.”
Mr Baggini made a true statement here. Jesus said that those who truly follow Him, the world will hate. If the world does not hate you, then it means you are OF the world and at some future point, Jesus will spit you out. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19). Notice Mr Baggini did not excoriate ALL Christians. He refers only to the ones who are dogmatic and unreasonable. In other words, the ones who believe all that pesky bible stuff, all of it. He says he and they do not share the same values. Sharing ‘kinship of values’ between atheists and liberal Christians just means means the liberal (non)Christians are lukewarm and in very real danger of being tossed out by Jesus, the one they profess to follow. “”Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
Last, Mr Baggini mentions the “enemy” several times, even in the few paragraphs I excerpted. He says atheists are not the enemy. But James says to the world-conforming Christians, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God?” (James 4:4) And of the atheist who denies God, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22). The Westminster Abbye people are letting in the spirit of antichrist into their church, all in a vain effort to find “kinship” and to be accepted. They will find acceptance in the world and rejection by Jesus. Woe to them!
I am insulted that a church would invite an atheist to give any sort of speech, or ‘sermon’ as the author characterized it. I am more sad that so many will realize their mistake too late. It is not good to be too cold, and it is not good to be only warm. It is only good to be HOT, hot for all the truths of Jesus and all that He is and all that He does for us. Mostly, be hot for Him who died for us, loves us, and calls us His friend. Only by standing on His rock will they find that acceptance by the world is vain, and not to be traded for the love and warmth of a Savior who Lives.