‘Functional Atheism’: Popular Pastor Delivers Gut-Check on What Worry Really Reveals

By Billy Hallowell Published on September 18, 2022

Worry is a normal part of the human experience, though the level to which humans allow it to pervade our minds often exposes unfortunate truths about the state of our hearts.

Pastor Daniel Fusco of Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, Washington, believes overt fretting is evidence of a deeper spiritual condition.

“The problem with worry is worry is functional atheism,” he said on his latest episode of the “You’re Gonna Make It” podcast. “When we worry, we act like God isn’t in control, [like] He’s not the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.”

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Fusco continued, “We [act like we] don’t believe that all things will work together for good.”

The preacher is also out with a powerful, new book, You’re Gonna Make It: Unlocking Resilience When Life Is a Mess, in which he discusses this dynamic.

“When we choose to trust God, we’re also abandoning worry,” he said.

Fusco knows times have been tough in recent years, highlighting the multitude of challenges stemming from the pandemic and other related crises. Mixed with civil and social unrest, navigating life and culture has perpetuated worries and fear for many.

That’s why Fusco is working to help people steer through “times of uncertainty,” recognizing God knows we are prone to worry but that we can find peace in Him.

“God knows that we’re apt to worry,” Fusco said. “God knows that we’re worry warts.”

Listen to him discuss these issues (and subscribe to his podcast):

He said worrying takes a profound amount of energy and that the Lord wants people to instead “expend and invest that energy differently.”

“I can worry about a million things,” Fusco said. “Whenever I catch myself worrying, I say, ‘Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief … I want to turn that worry into worship. I want to invest that energy differently.”

Watch Fusco discuss these issues on CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture”:

Fusco’s invocation is a profound one, as it comes from Mark 9, where the Bible recounts the story of a demon-possessed boy whose father is desperate for Jesus to heal his son.

“Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech,” the man tells Jesus in Mark 9:17 (NIV), continuing in verse 18: “Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

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That description alone is enough to instill worry and fear in the calmest of persons. And it’s clear the despairing father had fear but also hoped Jesus’ followers — and Christ — could heal his boy.

But, like many humans, this man seemed to have doubt and worry about whether it would be possible.

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“If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us,” the father told Jesus, to which Christ, recognizing this lack of full faith, responded, “‘If you can?’ Everything is possible for one who believes.”

That’s when the grieving dad immediately responded, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NIV)

Jesus then healed the boy. The lesson, of course, is that we can fully trust the Lord — and also ask for Him to relieve us of any of the “unbelief” holding us back.

Find out more about Fusco’s new book, You’re Gonna Make It: Unlocking Resilience When Life Is a Mess — and subscribe to the podcast.


Billy Hallowell has worked as a journalist and commentator for more than a decade. He is the director of communications and content for PureFlix.com, the former senior editor at Faithwire.com and the former faith and culture editor at TheBlaze.

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