40 harmful effects of Christianity – #6

  • “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

This post is the sixth in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #6: People aren’t making the most of this life because of their belief in an afterlife.

It’s sometimes said in Christian circles, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good.” There is a danger, in anticipating the age to come, of not remembering to be a proper steward of resources in the current age. Being so “heavenly minded” is unbiblical. According to a biblical worldview, mankind has been called to exercise care over the earth since the inception of our species. Thus, not “making the most of this life” is not a harmful effect of Christianity life but rather a failure to live out clear Christian principles. Christians are to be of earthy good.

Jesus called his disciples to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” The Apostle Paul exhorted Christians to be “ambassadors for Christ” in this world so that others could be reconciled to God. The Christian life is one of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is simply no doctrine of Christianity that discourages making the most of this life. Christians are called to the very opposite through two very simple commandments: love God and love neighbors. Doing so glorifies God, which, according to the Westminster Confession of Faith, is the chief end of man. Glorifying God is hardly “not making the most of this life.”

Furthermore, the Christian life never ends. The eternal life promised by Christ is not some ethereal, otherworldly existence (at least not a permanent one). Christians anticipate a bodily resurrection into a new heavens and a new earth. The very idea of an “afterlife” is somewhat misleading; Christians aren’t promised “an afterlife”, they are promised eternal life.

One final thought to consider is this question: What exactly is “making the most of this life” on an atheistic worldview? The American atheists don’t (and can’t) objectively define what that (being of earthly good) is. What activities do the American Atheists consider to be, as it were, life-making? Upon what exactly do they think Christians are missing out?

Immorality? Lustful passion? Evil desire? Greed? Idolatry of self?

These things, I do not miss.

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:1-11)

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #7: People dying because they believe their faith makes them immune to snake venom, or other lethal aspects of reality.

[Contributed by G. Seth Dunn]

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant