In a new survey it has shown that Atheists and Agnostics know more about religion than the average Protestant. If you want to read a short story on this, check out this news story here. But, if you think about it, they probably should. The reason I say this is that those who have a deep knowledge of religion and see its affects, no doubt will they become unbelievers of religion itself. This isn't surprising, nor is it troubling. When one looks at religion, specifically Christianity as a whole (putting both Catholicism and Protestantism in the same breath), it is pretty grotesque to look at and see any resemblance of Jesus. Why wouldn't those who have done a ton of study on religion become unbelievers? I honestly don't believe that many who call themselves atheists or agnostics have heard the true story of Jesus or those who actually follow him. What they have received is a look at what religion does to a people, instead of seeing those who are actually transformed by the good news of Jesus. One could call me an atheist to this kind of religion as well.
In the movie, The Book of Eli (a movie about a post apocalyptic world), one of the villains desperately wants a copy of the Bible because he desires to control the minds of others. He said, "it's happened once, it can happen again." What we see is that it has nothing to do with the Bible that causes people to sin and reign over people, but the person who uses it for their own gain. It's like a knife. It can either be used for open heart surgery to save a life, or used by a murderer to kill someone. The knife isn't the problem, the person is.
The main character in The Book of Eli, played by Denzel Washington, states this (talking about the Bible):
In all these years I've been carrying it and reading it every day, I got so caught up in keeping it safe that I forgot to live by what I learned from it.
If you have seen this movie, you will notice this is a very profound and timely quote.
When one then reads that atheists know more facts about the Bible than a lot of Protestants, many pastors will use this as sermon material to challenge their people. But, is this the point of the good news? Are we supposed to know facts about the Bible, or are we to be living examples of the Bible and point people to Jesus? The survey shows that some Protestants didn't know basic things like who Martin Luther was, or about what transubstantiation is truly about. Although these things might add to someone's faith, is this the most important things about our faith? Not at all. Our faith in Jesus shouldn't be about merely knowing facts about Jesus (which is important), or facts about the Bible (which is important), but our faith should be in the understanding that no matter how smart or how dumb we are, we are all in the same position of wrath because of our sin. We are in need of a Saviour. We are in need of Jesus.
I would rather see us, who believe in Jesus, show who the real Jesus is by loving our neighbors, by loving, praying for and blessing our enemies, instead of going to war with them. I would rather someone say to me, "your the dumbest person I have ever met, but one thing I know, you are a lot like Jesus." This isn't to show that I am some great person, but that I merely serve the greatest person to ever live, die and live again...the God/Man...Jesus.
This is exactly what the people said of some of the disciples in the days after Jesus ascended to heaven:
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus
Maybe instead of trying to be the smartest guys in the room, we should desire to merely serve the smartest guys in the room. Maybe instead of trying to do good on a test about facts about Jesus, we could show people up close who Jesus is and what he is about. Maybe instead of being a functional atheist, living like there is no god, we could live like we actually believe what was written to us by our God.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”