Exodus 4-6: Moses’ practical atheism

Reign big in our lives O God our Heavenly Father. Let us not forget your loving kindness and tender daily mercies to us. Forgive us for leaving you aside in our daily lives.

Bible in a Year Blog

Today’s reading: Exodus 4-6.

Christians may believe in God and still act like he doesn’t matter. Some have called this “practical atheism.” In practice these persons are atheists, though they would say otherwise if you asked them. I’m not sure who coined the phrase. The earliest mention I have found was from Russian philosopher Nicolai A. Berdyaev (1874-1948) who said, “we find the most terrible form of atheism, not in the militant and passionate struggle against the idea of God himself, but in the practical atheism of everyday living, in indifference and torpor.”


Moses displays his own streak of practical atheism in his early encounters with God. Though God reveals himself in the unquenchable burning bush and gives Moses miraculous powers, the prophet still tries to back out of God’s calling. His excuse? “I’m not a good speaker.” Even when God reminds him who made Moses’ mouth, he still asks God to send…

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