Although I've only read (and heard) bits about/by Slavoj Zizek, one of today's "hip" European political philosophers, this section of a recent NY Times editorial written by him serves as an instructive reminder that God can use that which we least expect to draw Christians back to the truth...
"... during the 7th crusade, Yves le Breton reported how he once encountered an old woman who wandered down the street with a dish full of fire in her right hand and a bowl full of water in her left hand. Asked why she carried the two bowls, she answered that with the fire she would burn up Paradise until nothing remained of it, and with the water she would put out the fires of Hell until nothing remained of them: 'Because I want no one to do good in order to receive the reward of Paradise, or from fear of Hell; but solely out of love for God.' Today, this properly Christian ethical stance survives mostly in atheism."
While I disagree with Zizek's final statement, his point is, I think, well taken: How far has Christianity drifted from what should be our primary motivation - love for God - and how much of our faith is predicated upon either a selfish desire for a heavenly reward or a desperate fear of hell? To drift into either of these as a way of living is, for the Christian, a denial of what our faith is supposed to be founded upon: the love of God expressed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Is it really necessary for an atheist to remind us of this fact? If so, it shows how very far we have drifted... Lord, guide us back to you.