New Years’ Day: When Even Atheists Show Their Most Religious Inclinations

Written by Wes Walker on December 31, 2019

We’re heading into a new year… and you know what THAT means!

No, we don’t mean Don Lemon will be getting drunk and embarrassing himself on national television again. And does it REALLY count if it’s a network that nobody’s watching?

No, we’re heading into a new year (and decade), where people make themselves all sorts of promises. Some of them might even get kept!

It’s the time of year when gym memberships, and diet plans, and smoking cessation kits and fitness trackers fly off the shelves, making room for that brand-new-you.

But will it stick this year? Will those resolutions pan out, or will they fall by the wayside, like they did last year and the year before?

Will that membership collect dust the way that forgotten exercise bike collects clothes you can’t quite be bothered to hang up and put away?

There is a sort of tension between that thing we say we want for ourselves and what we are willing to actually do toward getting it.

And whether they realize it or not, even non-religious people are talking about the same fatal flaw in human nature that Christians call ‘sin’. You might say our will has been fractured, in a sense.

We have desires that come into direct conflict with one another.

Do we want to get fit? Sure, but we also want to hit that snooze button in the morning or enjoy that guilty snack.

We ALL make choices we KNOW will come back to bite us in the ass. But we make them anyway. Why?

Why do we make ourselves promises we KNOW we have no real intention of keeping?

Some part of each of us has an ideal standard (moral or otherwise) we hold ourselves to and gets frustrated by our inability to hit the mark.

It’s funny to think just how close to Christian first principles they swerve when non-Christians take on this habit of New Year’s Resolutions.

What do I mean?

Christians believe — speaking broadly — that rebellion against God’s moral instruction in our earliest ancestors fundamentally corrupted our nature.

As a result, our will would attach itself to desires that were not in our own best interests. As hard as we might try to manage that problem, we can contain it, but we cannot solve it.

That problem required outside help — that’s where Jesus Christ comes in. He offered inward change, a renewing of the mind and healing of the will itself.

Why do resolutions so often fail?

Because the real problem we’re trying to solve runs deeper than shedding a couple of pounds.

Happy New Year, good reader.