Faith in the Faithless & Belief in the Unbeliever

Now I’ve done it! I’ve crossed over to the dark side.  I have consorted, nay, freely conversed with and connected to, the enemy!  I have reached a hand across the aisle and befriended one of . . . . them!

I have recently begun following the blog of . . .

An Atheist!!!!

I think he was more surprised than anyone.

“I’m a little surprised you signed up for my blog, but I guess that just goes to prove you have an open mind and, as you wrote, are willing to hear both voices. I hope I have something of interest for you to read from time to time. Thanks for being willing to think about it. Cheers . . .”

Well, I don’t know as much of an “open” or “closed” mind so much as I have a willingness to learn.  I don’t have all the answers; I don’t profess to.  I never will.  What I have is a desire to find out “why?”

More often than not, having a conversation with someone of another faith, or someone of “non”-faith, sends me running back to my Bible; constantly checking my own beliefs, reaffirming the tenets of my own faith, making sure in my own mind that my understanding of God and His Word are grounded in reality and not in some flight of fancy; of what I want to be true.

Any atheist worth his/her salt would just shrug and go . . . good!

It’s when the conversation stops being about belief that I lose interest.  When the conversation becomes nothing more than name calling and one-upsmanship is when I check out.  I mean really . . .

Atheists: “Faith means not wanting to know what is true.”

“I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder.”

“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”

Christians: “How to trap an atheist: Serve him a fine meal, then ask him if he believes there is a cook.”

“Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic uninterestingness as an intellectual position.  Where is the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity (in the Harvard sense) of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we’re dead we’re dead.”

“The atheist can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a police officer.”

Me: “Goodbye”

Actually, I think Don Miller’s quote is even more apt:

“My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don’t really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn’t exist, and there are some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.”

Years ago, in a small group setting, I brought up the topic of the study and history of world religions.  One of the other folks in our group asked, “I don’t care about other religions. Why would I want to know anything about Islam?”

Possibly because it’s the second largest religion in the world?

Possibly because the vast majority of the world doesn’t believe as you do?

Possibly because you might want to engage in conversation with someone of another faith one day, and you might want to have a basis of knowledge to guide you?

Actually, you wanna know the fastest growing religious population in the world today?

“Irreligious” (including atheism and agnosticism)

I, for one, would like to know . . . why?

11 thoughts on “Faith in the Faithless & Belief in the Unbeliever”

  1. “I, for one, would like to know . . . why?”

    One of the reasons may just be that it’s less socially unacceptable to be non-religious. It depends where in the world, or the country, you live of course…but in general that’s the trend. Perhaps it’s a youth thing? Or a communication thing?

    This is not to say that the older generation is more prejudiced. But the younger generation has more interaction with people they disagree with more readily. If you were a Christian 40 years ago, you might never meet someone who wasn’t, because you wouldn’t leave your town very often. Now, you don’t need to leave your house and you can interact with the world.

    1. An excellent point. The world is literally at our fingertips now. If people question, “what is my purpose? Why am I here?” You have a worldwide audience ready to answer. And, although I see this as a good thing, the ” noise” could get deafening!

  2. One of my best friends practices wicca. We are very open with each other about our beliefs. God has called us to those who are lost, not those who are already saved. She and I have an open dialogue and NEVER shove our beliefs down each others’ throat. We just share our experience.

    1. Yup. Great discussions can be had within the boundaries of civility, no matter the opposing view.
      I got into a rather heated political discussion with a friend last night. It was totally my fault as I’m prone to throw opposing comments out, regardless of my true stance on issues, just to get a rise. I did. Loudly.
      My thoughts, as I’m being berated and ridiculed, was, “And you want me to agree with you??!!”

  3. I agree with you. When a Jehovah Witness or Mormon knocks at my door, I invite them in for bible study. What’s wrong with sharing views. Someone might learn something. How can I share my beliefs on their level if I don’t know where they stand? I recently went with a Hindu friend to one of her prayer meetings. Why? Because I wanted to know what she believes. Afterward, she said, “Now that you know about my gods, I want to know about yours.” And this opened the door for me to share Christ with her.

    1. Wow! Very cool. That’s how its done my friend! All we do is plant the seeds, remembering that it is God’s harvest, not ours. Thanks for making my day.

  4. Great post Kent! I’m with you about enjoying the dialogue until it gets snarky. Just finished listening to “Faith & Doubt” by John Ortberg and it was excellent. Highly recommend as he explores the issue without being trite or cliche’. Thanks!

  5. I continue to be impressed, Kent!

    I was raised in a very conservative Christian environment. I grew up thinking that most people around me were wrong in their religious views, so this led to many religious discussions with friends. It was always obvious to me that if I wanted them to consider my views, I should also consider theirs. Refusing to listen to someone else’s positions is short-sighted and arrogant, and I assumed that practically everyone felt the same way I did about being open-minded. It took me a long time to realize that many people don’t see it the same way. But I’m very glad that you do!

    1. Thanks. I ended up on the wrong end of one of those types of discussions just the other day, over politics. I’m not a very politically minded, or active person, but apparently my friend (unbeknownst to me) was. Very. VERY. As he’s repeatedly berating me for my “stances” all I could think was, ” . . . and you want me to think like YOU do??”

      Insert waaaayyyy to many “religious” people and, sadly, you have the same result. (For those not following our thread of conversation here, I put religious in quotes because, personally, I feel that if you’re truly comfortable in your faith, walk, beliefs, etc. you should be comfortable in discussions with others about theirs, no matter the differences . . . and often because of.)

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