Massey expresses the desire to somehow hold on to the culture of Christianity, including its morality and its community, while rejecting the heart of it. She is not alone. The Sunday Assembly movement describes itself as “a godless congregation.” Marquette University professor Dan Maguire, a former Catholic, has written a book entitled Christianity Without God. He maintains that “the God thing doesn’t matter.” It is, he says, just a back drop for the real story.
I am quite confident that the desire expressed by Ms. Massey, Professor Maguire and others to have a Christianity without God will ultimately go unfulfilled. At its core the power of Christianity is to connect a soul to God and to give hope for eternal life. The community and the morality of the faith are essentially a byproduct, a result of something deeper and more powerful. Take away the power of it and you end up with what will inevitably be an unappealing, hollow shell.
The article, to me, confirmed that there truly is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of people. People can deny the existence of God all they want, but the longing for him will remain. That is not merely the leftover of immature wishful thinking, but something God himself has placed within us. The article also reminds me of the poverty of secularism. In the end it will always leave us with the absurdity of a meaningless life and, as Massey said, a fatiguing “feel good focus on the self.” Thinking about Ms. Massey’s article caused me to be grateful once again for the gospel of grace through Jesus Christ and for the presence of the living God. It reminded me once again of what a powerful and wonderful thing the body of Christ is. It truly can be the community of encouragement, support and unity that we all long for. We should always treasure it and do all we can to strengthen it.