Atheists at Church

Posted on by Bonnie Rodriguez

Recently, April shared in our staff meeting about taking one of her students to church.  He's an open atheist.  At a Presbyterian church.  He's gone three times now.

Has  he made a profession of faith?  Decided to convert?  Fallen on his knees?

Nope.  But he's going.

Studies dating all the way back to 2006 point to this phenomenon: the need to belong before you believe.  The need to see if this whole Jesus thing is even real...or is this just one more line of lies you're being fed?

So you're an atheist.  But you go to church.  Because maybe they'll let you belong there...

It takes boldness to ask someone to church without expectation of change.  It takes big hearts, cautious words, and sensitive attitudes of the congregation to not say something stupid or see the words, "I don't believe there is a God," as a statement of opinion, not an opportunity to win an argument.  It takes a special group to say, "Of course atheists are welcome at our church.  Of course there is room at this table for everyone."

I'm grateful for April and her volunteers, who are willing to ask kids to come and make sure they can get to church.  I'm grateful for the family at Grenada Presbyterian who makes space in their community for a kid who openly says, "I don't buy any of this."  And I'm grateful for a kid bold enough to say that and also humbly seek out a community anyway.

I'm grateful.  And I'm excited to see what God can do with this.

-JOHANNA RALSTEN-COX, MINISTRIES DIRECTOR

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