Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Are You Living Like A Sexual Atheist?

First of all, what is a Sexual Atheist exactly?

Sexual Atheist is a term I first heard used by a missionary friend of mine, Dustin Kelm. Dustin and his wife, Katie, are unicyclists who have been traveling through Europe for 20 years in the summer putting on shows in town squares, at carnivals and festivals. The show ends with them sharing the gospel. They usually team up with a local church so those making decisions for Christ have a church to attend and grow in their faith.

So, in the process, Dustin and Katie have had an opportunity to meet thousands of people in Europe. He observed that many men who are Christians lived like an atheist when it came to their sexuality. He came up with a name for them: sexual atheists. They were totally worldly when it came to their sexual lifestyle. I think the term is a good description of how so many men live their lives. They claim to be Christian, but they lust after women, flirt at the office, have affairs, and view porn whenever they want. They may not even see the conflict this lifestyle has with their Christian faith.

As we know, you don’t have to go to Europe to find sexual atheists. It’s a worldwide phenomenon and there are plenty of them right here in the USA. Maybe you were one of them. Looking back, I was one of them!

How does this happen? 

Where’s the disconnect between our faith and our sexuality?

Let’s look at some of the factors involved in us living like sexual atheists.

Disconnect #1- Not recognizing that sin is serious, or even that there is such a thing as sin at all!

In his devotional, “New Morning Mercies,” Paul David Tripp says:

“The scary deception of sin is that, at the point of sinning, sin doesn’t look all that sinful. We lose sight of the sinfulness of sin or the evil of evil, and when we do, we are vulnerable to the seductive lies of temptation. Nothing good ever happens when evil is in control of a person’s heart. Sin really is a scary, horrible thing. Evil is ugly and destructive, and must never be minimized. 

Tripp continues,”No matter how powerful the evil of evil is, God’s delivering power is greater. We should fear sin in a moral sense but not in a defeatist sense, because of the powerful delivery grace of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

To back this up, there is no shortage of stories in the Bible about evil and sin.  One dramatic one is the story of the possessed boy in Mark 9:14-29. Read that when you get a chance.”

Sin separates from God and God sent his only son, Jesus, to die on the cross and rise again to free us from the eternal punishment we deserve for our sins. God would not have sent Jesus to die if sin was not that serious. 

Disconnect #2- A lack of Bible knowledge and understanding about sin, and sexual sin in particular

Bible knowledge: 

  • Increases your understanding of how sin lives in us, and Satan’s role in temptation
  • Helps you understand the seriousness of sin and particularly sexual sin
  • Gives many examples of sinners and sin’s consequences
  • God takes sin very seriously
  • God forgives sin
  • Christ has overcome sin 
  • You are no longer a slave to sin
  • You are free from the law of sin and death and now live under grace

There is a warning about God’s wrath against sinful humanity. Romans 1:21-27 (NIV)

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

And Paul continues in Romans 1:28-32

“28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” 

On a more upbeat note in Romans, Paul talks about having the right mindset about sin as we approach each day. As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are God’s bondservants, slaves to righteousness. We are guided by the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, and who gives us strength to overcome sin. We are given everything we need to deal with the world and it’s temptation. Ephesians 6:10-17 we are given a full description of the Armor of God so that we can be ready to face each day fully ready to have victory in Christ every day. Being “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”  Ephesians 6:10 (NIV.)

As we grow in our faith and know Christ we grow closer to him and are less attracted to sin. We are in the process of sanctification and sanctification is a lifelong endeavor. 

Christ died for all our sins; past, present, and future. He wants a relationship with us and wants to forgive us and restore us, with no shame or guilt.

Disconnect # 3- Failing to recognize that sexual sin is not like other sins. Flee from it!

1 Corinthians 6:18-21 (NIV)- 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 

Disconnect #4- We tend to want the “fire insurance” of being saved, but we don’t want to make Christ the Lord of our lives.

Making Christ the Lord of our lives is anything but instant. Being a Christian is a process of surrendering areas of our lives to Christ. We may surrender some of our career but not all of our business dealings or our flirting at the office, some of our finances but not tithing, our marriage but not all of our sexuality holding onto lust. Until we fully surrender all of these areas we will be living a double life, always frustrated and struggling.

I know it’s a human trait to want to do what you want to do even though you give lip service to being a follower of Christ. Followers even did this back when Jesus was still on earth. It became frustrating for Christ himself and I like to quote this passage from Luke 6:46, where Jesus said:

 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?”Luke 6:46 (NLT)

Besides surrendering, we need a hunger to know God more and deeper, to hear from him, to seek his face, rather than always his hand. Seek after him. Everyone who seeks him will find him! The Bible says it better than I ever could. 

Psalm 14: 2- The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.

Psalm 69:32- The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.

Psalm 105:4- Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.

Matthew 6:33- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 7:8- For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Romans 2:7- He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers.

Hebrews 11:6- And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

On Day 28  in my devotional, Live Pure and Free, I wrote this:

“Finally, there arrived the day when I came to my senses and surrendered myself to God. I finally humbled myself and admitted to Him that I could not do this on my own-that I needed His help. I was willing to give up the sin even though I didn’t know how I would ever be able to do it. This was the day I really started on my quest to know God more and deeper than ever before.”

This quote from my book indicates that there has to be a moment when you recognize:

  1. The importance of sexual purity for your life
  2. You can’t be pure on your own strength
  3. Obedience to the Word of God 

Disconnect #5- The influence of the world which is so far from the bible on sexuality

There is nothing new about sexual sin. The new morality, as it is sometimes called, is the same old immorality of the old testament. Don’t be fooled by the push to be modern, to bring the Bible up to date, to catch up with the times. Remember this: 

There is nothing more old fashioned than sexual sin. 

Listen to this warning about the adulterous woman in Proverbs 7:

1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.

2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.

3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.”

5 They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

6 At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice.

7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense.

8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house

9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.

10 Then out came a woman to meet him dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.

11 (She is unruly and defiant her feet never stay at home;

12 now in the street, now in the squares,

    at every corner she lurks.)

13 She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said:

14 “Today I fulfilled my vows, and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.

15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you!

16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt.

17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.

18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;  let’s enjoy ourselves with love!

19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey.

20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.”

21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.

22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose

23  till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.

24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.

25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.

26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.

27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

NLT says: “Her bedroom is the den of death.”

Questions for discussion about Proverbs 7:

  1. Who are you in the story?
  2. What arguments did the woman use to persuade him?
  3. What obvious lie/s did she tell him that he fell for?
  4. How could he have avoided getting into trouble with this woman?


Live Pure and Free- The 90 Day Game Changer by Dave Howe. Published by Tristan Publishing, Golden Valley, MN 2017. 

New Morning Mercies- A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp Published by Crossway, Wheaton, IL 2014.

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