“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1, NIV)
A term found in more than one instance in the writings of the late sage Oswald Chambers is “practical atheist.”
It is a term that is properly applied to anyone — regardless of his or her declaration of beliefs — who lives as if there is no God. In a practical sense, even the disciple of Jesus can — and does — act as if God isn’t.
For example, when we are blessed with abundance, do we credit God or do we credit our own enterprise and initiative? When we succeed where others have failed, do we thank God or do we chalk it up to “luck”? When our minds are clear and when our bodies are ailment-free, do we make haste to the house of worship; or do we prefer instead leisure and activities of self-celebration?
A more rigorous test of our practical beliefs is not during adversity and personal suffering (when nearly everyone is seeking divine assistance); but during times of abundance and personal ease. In such seasons, numerous are the temptations to live as if “there is no God.” – Luther