I’m sure I am not the only Christian who has grown up hearing nonChristians, particularly Atheists, otherized.
Growing up in Evangelicalism, we were constantly quoting Psalm 14:1 to equate Atheism to foolishness. We were given caricatures of Atheists and told they were truthful representations of who Atheists were. And then we laughed about how someone could be bitter and angry about a God they didn’t believe in.
We were laughing at a false image we had created in our own minds. We created a false narrative and called it the truth.
I say this was a false narrative because, do you know what I don’t remember? I don’t remember ever inviting an Atheist into our community to find out their story. I don’t remember being encouraged to get to know any Atheists to understand their beliefs. I don’t remember ever being encouraged to view Atheism with a curious or compassionate heart.
I remember the opposite. I was told who these people were and there was nothing you could say to refute “the truth”. I was taught to be afraid of them because Atheists only wanted to hurt good Christians like me. Atheists held an agenda to destroy my faith and make a mockery of Christ.
Friends, we do ourselves and the Atheist community a disservice when we promote lies. It shows a lack of integrity on our part when we perpetuate such things. It shows a lack of love for those who are different from us when we choose to make assumptions. It also shows great insecurity in our own faith when we lash out at those who believe differently than we do.
The truth is that the Christian community *needs* Atheists. We need their compassion. We need them to challenge us out of stagnant faith. We need them to love us, as much as we need to love them. I know that my own faith is much richer *because* I chose to do life with those who believe differently than me.
We need to stop fearing them. We need to stop teaching others to fear them.
Atheists are not the enemy of Christianity. They are not a threat to Christianity. Imagine if they were? What a weak faith that would be. To think that someone could destroy the faith of another simply by not sharing it.
I believe Jesus is stronger. I believe that my faith can stand strong, even with people in this world who disagree with me.
Let’s be better and do better, friends