Arian's Heresy - Radical

Arian’s Heresy

It’s not every day that someone gets a lot of publicity for believing that the universe came from nothing.

After all, there are plenty of Americans who are thoroughly secular in their worldview. But when you’re Arian Foster, the four-time Pro-Bowler from the Houston Texans and one of the top running backs in the NFL, you can get a lot of attention for not believing in God, particularly when you agree to be the spokesperson for a national campaign led by the nonprofit group Openly Secular. Foster’s goal is to “increase awareness and acceptance of nonbelievers” according to Tim Keown’s recent article in ESPN The Magazine. There’s a lot to say about a national campaign that celebrates unbelief, but it’s the tone of Arian Foster’s brand of secularism, at least in the way that it comes off in this article, that presents a special challenge for believers.

Unlike the well-known comedian and talk show host Bill Maher, who is also part of the Openly Secular campaign, Foster doesn’t come across as brash and combative. He says he wants to be a “happy human being and continue to learn.” Foster doesn’t like being “judgmental and aggressive,” and he even called the New Testament an “awesome story.” Nevertheless, Foster prefers the explanations of science rather than the exclusive claims of religion. Oddly enough, it’s this “open-minded” approach that can blind us to the spiritual condition of Foster and those like him. It sounds humble, but as Psalm 10:4 reminds us, failing to acknowledge God’s authority is arrogant and wicked:

In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Regardless of whether someone is openly hostile to God or whether he simply shrugs and claims to be undecided, it is rebellion not to submit to the One who rules over heaven and earth. Neutrality is not an option. Jesus put it this way: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). We either confess that Jesus is Lord, or we shake our fist at him.

Sadly, there are countless individuals in our culture who, like Arian Foster, have rejected God but don’t think of themselves as hostile toward him. They want to be known as thoughtful and accepting of others. You probably work with such individuals or live beside them. They might not call themselves atheists or secular, but make no mistake: they have rejected the one true and living God. In fact, this is true for all who are outside of Christ, regardless of their religious affiliation (or non-affiliation). Thankfully, their situation is not hopeless.

God can save Arian Foster and every other individual who now opposes him (Romans 1:16). That’s why, regardless of outward appearances, we need to recognize secularism as outright rebellion against God. This will help us see the need to engage such individuals with the gospel, a gospel that saves all kinds of sinners. Even those who are openly secular.

— Image Credit: Paul Sancya/AP Images via ESPN

David Burnette serves as the Chief Editor for Radical. He lives with his wife and three kids in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves as an elder at Philadelphia Baptist Church. He received his Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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