December 18, 2018

Sermon: In The Water With Bill Maher (A Sermon on the Baptism of Jesus)

image123.gifHere’s the sermon I preached this morning at a Presbyterian Church nearby. It’s the Sunday we mark the Baptism of Jesus.

Atheists often characterize Christians as somewhere between stupid and mentally ill. It’s unfortunate that some Christians return the rhetoric in kind, saying that atheists are evil, dumb, etc. The fact is that this isn’t about intelligence. It’s not even about what can be proven. (The atheist’s worldview is as unproven at the foundation as the Christian’s.) The difference is the significance of Jesus. The difference in our “reality maps” comes down to whether God really designated Jesus of Nazareth to be the “clue” that answers the questions of significance. And seeing Jesus as that answer isn’t an issue of intelligence or being “schizo,” hearing voices, etc. It’s a spiritual revelation. Our word to the atheist isn’t “get smarter.” It’s “open up to the possibilities that your worldview map is impoverished, and start the journey to believing the Good News about Jesus.”

Let’s leave out the insults and put the light on what matters the most. (And Bill Maher needs to apologize to schozophrenics.) 🙂


  1. Michael,

    I’ll be interviewed this week by a Chicago TV station about the rise of vocal atheists, so your thoughts will be of some help to me. Thanks.

  2. Prester Scott says:

    Superb. Thank you for posting.

  3. Atheism: spiritual anorexia. 😉

  4. Very good–one of my sons is in college and he has fiends who claim to be atheist (Partly because of the suffering they have gone through in life)–but this is a sermon I hope my son will get the time to listen to as an aid to respond to some of his close friends who he grieves for…thanks

  5. ps There is such a search of people reading Chesterton (including my husband and myself)–andy ideas why?

  6. oh no–I said fiends and meant friends!! WOW

  7. Tom Hinkle says:


    You said: The difference in our “reality maps” comes down to whether God really designated Jesus of Nazareth to be the “clue” that answers the questions of significance.

    I guess I don’t understand. If we are talking about atheists, we are talking about people who do not believe God exists. How, in the thinking of an atheist, can a non-existant being designate Jesus of Nazareth for anything? Which brings up a further question; does not a “conversion” to theism necessarily have to preceded a conversion to Christianity? In other words, doesn’t one have to believe that God exists prior to believing in Jesus’ significance?

  8. Tom:

    The reality map comparison doesn’t require anyone to adopt the other person’s worldview. It is “here’s why Jesus is significant on my may.” It’s not a claim that Jesus should be significant on theirs. Obviously I think it’s rational to look for clues that God may have communicated, but all I want to do with an atheist is to say, “Here’s what’s on my map and why it’s on my map.” I have no explanations or defenses for their maps. They have to live with it and defend it by the way they live, as I do with mine.

    So Jesus is significant for those who are open to the possibility of God. To the atheist all I can say is, “there’s a lot of blank space on your map.”

    I’d be more interested in a critique of the “certainties” of the atheist map, vs the supposed “faith” areas of mine.