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The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn't Exist Hardcover – March 20, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; First Edition edition (March 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031032789X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310327899
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The thing I’ve always appreciated about Craig is his willingness to be honest when his life doesn’t match up with the Scriptures. Too many people are quick to make excuses for themselves and others who call themselves ‘Christian.’ Craig challenges us to think deeply, honestly, and fearfully about how our lives may be contradicting our message.” -- Francis Chan

From the Back Cover

"The more I looked, the more I found Christian Atheists everywhere." Former Christian Atheist Craig Groeschel knows his subject all too well. After over a decade of successful ministry, he had to make a painful self admission: although he believed in God, he was leading his church like God didn't exist. To Christians and non-Christians alike, to the churched and the unchurched, the journey leading up to Groeschel's admission and the journey that follows--from his family and his upbringing to the lackluster and even diametrically opposed expressions of faith he encountered--will look and sound like the story of their own lives. Now the founding and senior pastor of the multicampus, pace-setting, Groeschel's personal journey toward a more authentic God-honoring life is more relevant than ever.

Christians and Christian Atheists everywhere will be nodding their heads as they are challenged to take their own honest moment and ask the question: am I putting my whole faith in God but still living as if everything was up to me?

More About the Author

Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Meeting in multiple locations around the United States, and globally at Church Online, is known for the innovative use of technology to spread the Gospel.

With a passion for serving the Church and partnering to reach people for Christ, develops and shares resources and applications with churches worldwide.

Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in the Edmond, Oklahoma area where began in 1996. He speaks at conferences worldwide and has written several books, including his recent release: The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn't Exist.

Customer Reviews

His style of writing is very easy to read.
Laurence Hill
Really hit home and gave me things to think about...trying to get closer to God.
Monica Baldwin
We are reading the book as a family during our devotional time.
R. Van Dam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It should be easy to spot people who really believe that God exists and Jesus was who he claimed to be, because they should be acting as if God is an ever-present part of their reality, and yet surveys tend to show that there is very little difference in the way people who claim to be Christians behave when compared to others. Craig Groeschel explores why this is so in this book.

The book examines a number of ways in which Christians fail to act consistently with their stated beliefs: not really knowing God, remaining ashamed of your past, being unsure of God's love for you, not believing in prayer, not trusting that God is fair, failing to forgive, not believing that you can change, clinging to worry, pursuing happiness at any cost, trusting more in money than in God, not sharing your faith, and not being part of the church.

The book demonstrates that a lack of faith can be manifested in many different ways, and it points out what are likely to be some key areas of sin in the reader's life, although it does this in a non-judgemental way because the author confesses that he commits the same sins. This is a very well-written book which anyone who claims to be a Christian would benefit from reading.
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88 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Saul Good on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've never read any of Groeschel's books before. This book stood out to me in the bookstore with its red cover and the words "Christian" and "atheist" juxtaposed. I've been reading several different books lately on how to be a better Christian, and this fit right in. Christian atheist is just a catchy term to suck the reader in, and it worked for this reader.

While I didn't find it as hard-hitting as other reviewers, Pastor Craig does make some good points. The chapters on worry and forgiveness are the best. The chapters on money and some others aren't as strong, and the points he makes aren't as profound. I'd wish he go into more detail on how to handle certain issues. He brings up Christian singles who want to meet that special someone, and suggests they visit gatherings of those with similar morals. Outside of church, and some volunteering, I am still trying to meet such people!

Pastor Craig is at his best when confessing his own faults. While he is not as overly dramatic as Jimmy Swaggert, he does admit to more than the fairly innocuous admissions you may hear in a typical Sunday sermon. This is where he is at his most real.

This is still a good read on how to be a better Christian, but the title of the book implies something more. I thought that Francis Chan's "Crazy Love" made similar points but with a more radical approach and I enjoyed it better. I'd also recommend John Ortberg's "When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box".
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Phillip H. Steiger VINE VOICE on November 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My thoughts on this book can be summed up in two words: Sigh and Yawn. First, the sigh.

I have been intrigued by this book for a while and finally picked it up at the local store looking forward to hearing a pastor talk about believing in Christ while living as if we don't. The phrase, "Christian atheist" is a provocative one and it presents interesting inroads into some pastoral work.

Instead of thought-provoking work, the book is a string of stories supported by a few verses here and there and punch-lines. Every chapter goes like this: catchy title, story of the down-and-outer, verse, repeat story and verse four or five more times, a little bit of surface Scriptural work, punch-line. I don't know exactly what I expected when I picked up the book, but I was fairly underwhelmed with the product.

The Yawn is pretty self explanatory. Every chapter was essentially the same with variations on the stories and themes. All the actual biblical and spiritual work was simple bordering on simplistic. The illustrations - not unlike many sermons preached each week - overwhelmed the biblical insights and the vision of Christ this topic could have developed.

If you are looking for a simple and easy to read pick-me-up with lots of stories, this book really might be a help to you. If, however, you want to really dig into the very real problem of "Christian atheists," this book might come up a little short for you.
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62 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Mediaman on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This disappointing book has a misleading subtitle--it's supposedly about helping people who believe in God but live as if He doesn't exist, yet most of the book is made up of the author's personal failures and how God forgives people anything. Instead of upholding Godly standards or setting guidelines for Christian living, it's mostly about trying to do away with shame and guilt by focusing completely on God's grace, where you can live however you want and not feel bad about it.

The people he talks about in the book are not "Christian atheists." He has a very broad view of what it means to be a Christian (he was raised Methodist apparently but doesn't get specific in the book--all he tells us is he went to church twice a year and had a Bible in the home that he never read) and an atheist (here defined as living like God doesn't exist, which is different from believing that God doesn't exist). Most of the people in the book are believers who don't hold themselves to godly standards--that's not the same as being an atheist.

This writer is now the pastor of a huge church with multiple locations--yet this book seems to dwell on his need to constantly confess to his own sins. He tells us about everything from his having an affair in college with his buddy's girlfriend to stealing a pack of gum as a kid. The book appears to be his way of still dealing with his own guilt and shame. Yet instead of stepping up and concluding that Christians today are not choosing to do right, instead he concludes that they're not choosing to accept God's forgiveness. Those are two very different choices and instead of him exhorting followers to do right in the first place, he emphasizes the need for do-badders to instead forgive themselves.
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