First and foremost I don’t believe there are any atheists.
The people that are close to me and love me dearly think that this statement is gross arrogance but it isn’t meant to be. As I see it and I speak from a very deep and genuine conviction, atheists are just people who are having their own soul searching arguments with God.
My first experience of this was with my grandmother’s second husband. As a teenager, I had many heated discussions with him. He was called Beck the Red by the locals because of his communist beliefs. A Conscientious Objector at the start of the First World War he was imprisoned for his anti-war stance.
He was in his eighties when I knew him and all his time was taken up with writing letters to The Times and Telegraph, always trying to the end of his life to fighting for equal rights for all men.
Getting back to the point the thing that struck me most about him was the WAY HE LIVED HIS LIFE. He was saying one thing but his conduct and treatment of others were far more “Christian” than many of the Churchgoers that condemned him.
This is a very important point, we might profess to believe but words are cheap.
It’s what we ARE not what we SAY.
I have many arguments with my grown-up daughters who strongly declare their atheism [ a bit too strongly I might add – why? ] It doesn’t worry me because they live their lives like Christian women. How they would hate that statement!
Don’t forget that it was the so-called “Religious” people of the day that crucified Christ. Organized religion is of this world, it cannot and never has been what believing is all about.
Another instance I remember is when I was in my preaching phase, long past I might add. I was at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park has a heated discussion with two guys. One was a little drunken Irishman who was putting his atheist point of view across, the other an impassioned Catholic in the Ian Paisley mode.
The overriding feeling that I had at the time was being far more on the wavelength of the so-called atheist, a delightful character that did not exhibit the pride and arrogance of the strident bible basher.
God is to be found in the strangest of places
God is to be found in the strangest of places, not usually in Corridors of Power or great Cathedrals but in the simple everyday struggles of ordinary people.
Finally, there are no atheists on a sinking ship or when our lives or those that we love hang in the balance.