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The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn't Exist Paperback – April 19, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 440 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

“The Christian Atheist will challenge you, push you, and disturb you. It will redefine our sense of purpose and focus as Christians. Every Christian today needs to read this book. Craig’s gut-level honesty is refreshing and will help move you towards a life that is fully devoted to Christ. Too many of us live lives that don’t truly reflect who we are as followers of Christ. But the good news is we can change. True Christianity awaits us. And Craig provides a practical prescription on how to get there.” -- Brad Lomenick

“Church people always talk about ‘Christians’ and ‘non-Christians,’ but nobody ever talks about the people in-between. Most of the men and women I talk to every day fall into that middle ground, the group that believes in God but lives like he’s not there, doesn’t care, or doesn’t matter. In The Christian Atheist, Pastor Craig Groeschel hits this audience head-on, opening up about his own doubts and fears, while setting the table for hundreds of life-changing discussions about who God is and how he operates.” -- Dave Ramsey

“There are too many Christian atheists in the church today, and through this book, Craig challenges the genuineness of faith in the life of the self-proclaimed ‘believer.’ The Christian Atheist will cause you to move from head knowledge to heart knowledge. This is a must-read for every Christian.” -- Pastor Jentezen Franklin

“Craig Groeschel is a brilliant communicator and a gift to the church worldwide. He has a way of saying the things we are all thinking with an approachable authority that resonates with the ups and downs of our daily walk with God. Craig’s genuine heart to see your life’s journey flourish, and his honest perspective on personal experiences, will quietly convict your heart and encourage your soul.” -- Brian Houston

“In The Christian Atheist, Craig leverages transparency to force the rest of us to take an honest look at the contrast between how we live and what we claim to believe. Craig’s vulnerability, coupled with his fresh insights, will move you to begin realigning behavior with beliefs.” -- Andy Stanley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 LifeChurch.tv, 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? --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reprint edition (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310332222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310332220
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (440 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Gibbs 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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Format: Hardcover
The title of this book tells you automatically that it is going to be a challenging read. The idea behind "Christian Atheist" is that while many people call themselves "Christians" or "followers of Christ," it is rare to find people that take their discipleship under Christ seriously.

Groeschel, the pastor of LifeChurch.tv and innovator in the "satellite church" phenomenon, leads you through 12 different "When you believe in God, but..." scenarios. These scenarios range from not believing in prayer to not sharing your faith. Groeschel brings all of these scenarios back to the 1st commandment (You shall have no other gods). The issue isn't that you don't like to forgive people, it is that your "god" is not the God who forgives, it isn't that you don't like going to church, it's that your "god" wants to sleep in on Sundays or thinks it's too advanced for your boring local church.

Groeschel does a much better job of treating the issues of sanctification (growing through the Holy Spirit leading you in good works) than same other pop-Christian authors who write about the same topic. At least Groeschel usually brings things back to Jesus, to forgiveness, and to your state as a redeemed child of God. It isn't often that he's over the line, but it happens occasionally (like when he tells you that if giving your offering doesn't hurt, it's not good enough). Usually, however, he's right on with the Law - accusing you of making yourself or something else your god and calling yourself a Christian all the while.

Unfortunately, I do have to say that "usually" Groeschel brings it back to Jesus. The most disappointing thing about the book is the Afterword. In this Afterword, Groeschel wrecks everything that he has just lined up.
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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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Format: Paperback
I am glad I read this book, but it feels a little like having a snack of three grapes and a whole wheat cracker when I really need a full meal. Healthy, just not quite enough to completely nourish me.

The title by itself will hopefully bring many of us up short. How often do I personally act like a "Christian Atheist" under Groeschel's definition? Too many times, and each section of the book points out the many ways I blithely go on my way as if God doesn't exist, or at least doesn't have any real part in my life. The book is a good quick read if for no other reason than to remind each of us how little we really live out our faith. Just reading the table of contents can be convicting, as each section points out ways our behavior might really be no different than that of someone with no knowledge of or interest in Christianity.

I think I would class this as an airport book--it is well worth picking up for a quick read while flying or for a break from more significant reading. It could well be a book to share with someone close to you who may also be afflicted with "Christianity Lite," living too often without any real evidence of our faith. While the book does have the effect of reminding us of the need for increased integration of our faith into all facets of our lives, Groeschel is not as clear as I would like in pointing to "next steps" to get us out of these behaviors. Just knowing how we have fallen into this "Christian atheism" is one thing, but a little more follow up in emphasizing closer fellowship with the Word, deeper prayer, and with other believers would have given the book more weight.

One more comment--I agree with an earlier reader that the final section of the book is very disappointing.
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