A Known Atheist

Listening to Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the radio I heard a call that at first was funny and then became thoughtful to me. A woman called in to say that her brother was a “known atheist” in the town they lived in and he was offended with the caller. I laughed out loud in my car because and the same time my thought came,  Dr. Laura chuckled, “as opposed to an unknown atheist?”! The woman went on to explain that her brother was the head of the local atheist organization.

His charge against his sister? That she had never chosen him as a godfather to any of her children. Dr. Laura had a good belly laugh at that, but I was thoughtful and have been since then. You see, the brother had a valid question and the sister needed to examine it. What about our walk with Christ makes a person who doesn’t believe in Christ think it’s perfectly okay to ask to participate in something regarding our faith? It may not be such an off the wall question. What is a godparent after all?

I have said on this blog that I have amazing godparents. My godfather went home to be with the Lord last year but they have been there for me since the day of my birth. They have instructed me in my spiritual walk, they have prayed for me, imparted wisdom into my life and corrected bad behavior when needed. They were strong in their faith and their marriage and taught me the practice of church and family and God and love. When I left the Catholic faith for a non-denominational church no one prayed harder for me. They never wavered in the duty of being godparents and never gave up on me. With love they have attempted to keep me on a clear path. They participated in my life. Better examples I could not have dreamed of.

Yet I see today followers of Christ who pick friends who aren’t even church attenders to be godparents. They put no thought into their child’s mentor in their religious upbringing. I’ve seen dedication services where the godparents couldn’t even stay for the service. They did their duty and left to go celebrate and prepare for a party or worse talked through the service with no reverence or acknowledgment of what they were there for. There is no inkling or recognition of the vow they are making to God. If in the end, we are only known by our word and character this doesn’t seem to matter to some Christians.

In the book, The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel, he starts the book off with two conversations on two different airplane flights. Travis was a man who was an atheist and there was no way any conversation was going to move him to change his mind. Travis tells the writer straight up what he thinks of the whole religion thing from his perspective, pulling no punches. On the other hand, he meets a woman named Michelle who professes Christ but whom the writer calls a Christian Atheist, she reveals that she lives with her boyfriend who doesn’t believe in Jesus and is scared to death of marriage, her life obviously conflicting with her beliefs. He makes a powerful statement on page 13 when he says that Christians Atheists look a lot like Christians but live like Travis. It’s really a good read and I recommend it.

So maybe this caller’s brother’s question wasn’t that far off track? I mean if the example we give to the world is one where our actions don’t match our talk, then at least we have to give credit to this brother for living out what he believes. Granted, this isn’t what the caller was calling about, but it did make me think about what kind of a life we collectively live as Christians that this brother felt comfortable enough to ask why not him?