Is How We Live More Important Than What We Believe? (Bad Secular Wisdom Series #1)

by Natasha Crain

Today I’m starting a blog series called, “Bad Secular Wisdom.” If you’re not familiar with the term, a blog series is where an author writes multiple posts on a related subject. I’m not normally a fan of such series because I think they get old fast, but in this case there are so many interesting and important topics for Christian parents that fall under the umbrella of “Bad Secular Wisdom,” I’m excited to do it. I’ll be posting once per month in the series, with remaining posts on other subjects.

The reason this series is so important is that our world is filled with bad secular wisdom…little pieces of a godless worldview that spread like a virus and infect the minds of young people before they even realize it. They sound good, but are harmful narratives that kids too often attach to their Christian worldview without understanding the great inconsistencies. My hope is that this series will inspire you to challenge your kids to think critically about each of the subjects we cover.

For the first post, we’re going to tackle the illogical idea that how we live is more important than what we believe.

Is How We Live More Important Than What We Believe?

I first came across the phrase “how we live is more important than what we believe” on a chalkboard outside of a coffee shop last year. I shook my head, thinking the baristas should stick to coffee making. Since then, however, I’ve seen the idea pop up in all kinds of places.

One well-known person who actively promotes this notion is Gretta Vosper. Vosper is a United Church of Canada minister…who’s also an atheist.

In 2015, a review committee from her denomination found that she was “not suitable” to continue in her role because she doesn’t believe in God (a shocking committee conclusion, I know). But Vosper’s congregation has insisted on keeping her as pastor, despite the fact she no longer preaches about Christianity.

If that sounds hard to believe, this quote from one loyal church member will help you understand the mentality of the congregation: “It’s not about coming to hear that I’m a sinner. That is so yuck. This fulfills my need to feel upbeat. The services are more happy and joyful, more interested in community and justice.”

Vosper has authored several books, including one called, With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important Than What We Believe. On her website, she emphasizes, “We’re not going to stop trying to make the world a better place. We hope you don’t either.”

Vosper and her church community are clearly committed to living lives that benefit the Earth and those who live on it. They’re presumably doing many good things for society, and that’s commendable. But is Vosper’s claim true, that how we live is more important than what we believe?

As we’ll see in this post, this is bad secular wisdom. It’s not consistent with atheism or Christianity…

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Is How We Live More Important Than What We Believe?