Your immediate answer is probably a resounding NO! They are complete opposites. Devout Christians believe in God, and devout atheists don’t. And you can’t get any more different than that, right? Yes, but wait. There is something that both devout Christians and devout atheists share.
Sure, they’re on opposite ends of it. But the belief itself…they share. It’s genuine, they’re both passionate about it, and they’ll debate their beliefs relentlessly. Okay, so they can’t both be right. The point is, they actually BELIEVE something. And in today’s ambivalent, self-absorbed culture, I find that refreshing.
Agnostics, on the other hand, aren’t sure what they believe. And New Age followers accept everything so can you even call that belief? Even among the greater Christian community, complacency has so diluted the faith that in the lives of many Christians, beliefs and convictions are as firm and resolute as a slinky on the staircase.
Devout Christians don’t have that problem. Instead, they are considered rigid, Bible Thumpers and often labeled close minded and intolerant. That’s because their beliefs are based on the Bible, which they believe is the absolute Word of God. And by definition, absolute is, well…absolute. And that doesn’t leave you much flexibility.
But at least you know where devout Christians stand. At least there’s no politically correct double speak so riddled with trite talk you can’t understand what they’re saying-much less what they actually believe. And the same is true of devout atheists. They are just as adamant about their belief in God’s non-existence and just as ready to defend their position.
My only point of contention is that many atheists reject Christianity without even knowing its basic beliefs.
So how do devout Christians and devout atheists become friends?
Through mutual respect.
Because they both stand for something. And that seems to be a quality that’s generally lacking everywhere. So both devout Christians and devout atheists can appreciate the other for standing up and sticking to their guns.
Obviously, both will never understand the other. Devout Christians will pray for the salvation of devout atheists and devout atheists will recommend qualified therapists to help Christians come to their senses. And probably always wonder why committed Christians aren’t institutionally committed. But neither one will ever argue the other side over. That kind of about face only happens through personal revelation.
Instead, devout Christians and devout atheists should agree to disagree…and then direct their energies into other, more worthwhile causes.
Chip Tudor is a professional, freelance copywriter, published creative writer, and pastor to Adults 55+/Men at Fairhaven Church in Dayton, Ohio. His E-book, Christianity for the Average Joe is available at Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0080Q8HWE