Near the end of his career, Karl Barth was asked to write a response to an essay by atheist Max Bense. Barth’s response reflected his sense that Christians don’t need to argue better than atheists, they need to live better. He called his response “The Rationality of Discipleship” (not “The Rationality of Theism”). Barth wondered why Bense felt the need to attack Christian faith when there are so many gods plaguing modernity: money, sex, sports. But Barth reserved his sharpest barbs for Christians. Practical atheism, which exists even in the church, is the really pernicious kind of atheism, he said. Practical atheists acknowledge God’s existence, yet they go about life as though God doesn’t exist. “The atheists of the other kind live on the fact that we are not better Christians” (Theology Today, October).