Talk to a non-believer

How to talk to a non-believer (part 1):

This reading is in support of the St Thomas mission to support the Year of Faith and the Emeritus Pontiff’s call for mission.

When I first learnt I might come to the Czech Republic in 1994, I started researching what exactly I was getting myself into. When it came to religion, I discovered that 64% of the population was registered Roman Catholic, and then there was a footnote…. Most were non-practicing due to the 40+ years of imposed Socialism.

What I found when I got here in the 90s, were a people that had for the most part written off religion as a force in their lives. The deliberate persecution of those who choose to practice their religion under the former regime was enough to all but kill organized religion in this country.

Types of persecution included firing folks from their jobs, reassigning them, denial of membership in the communist party, which of course limited the jobs you could have, denial of better schools for you children and a basic ostracizing of your family from the accepted society.

Not one full generation after the fall of the Soviet system, the scars of communism still are evident, as church attendance is much lower than the surrounding countries, and those who claim to be atheist are at historic highs. In fact Atheist are the fastest growing religious belief among the Czech Population, meaning that most are progressing from Agnostic to out and out atheism

I myself do not believe that this is true. Not that the statistics are not correct, for what people claim. But I have found over my 17 years in this country, that the Czech people are very spiritual. I find them to be lovers of nature, very social in their orientation. Always ready for socializing and very open to discussions of politics, society and even matters of the heart. Their automated answers which normally include a few choice standby quotes, are simply a way in which to deflect the confusion and complication of what are often times very complex philosophical issues. It is more of a how does it help me pay the rent question? Rather than finding spiritual peace in their lives.

I have been requested to take a look at how to talk to an atheist for this series. I discovered that it is a quite complicated question. Given our forum, this discussion will take a few (not sure yet how many) messages in order to fully cover it.

So let’s start with a scenario of what it might be like for an atheist when he hears a particularly enthusiastic evangelical Christian: A blogger who goes by the handle of Joe the Peacock is responsible for this example.

Believer: You know what's great?

Non-believer: No, what is so great?

Believer: Unicorns.

In fact, unicorns are AWESOME. And you know why? Because once you accept one into your life, they provide you with a lifetime membership into the Beer, Massage, Chocolate and Steak club.

Non-believer: The WHAT?

Have you not heard about the beer, massage, chocolate and steak club? Well, let me tell you all about it - it doesn't matter if you don't like beer, or steak, or chocolate, or massages - whichever one you like, you get 24 hours a day for the eternity. And if you like all four or any combination of them, well... You're in luck! Because That's what the rest of your eternity will be - massages, steak cooked just the way you want it, chocolate of any sort coated in any topping (or as a topping on anything you want), and any beer ever made or ever conceptualized, always on tap and never flat.

And to get all of this, all you have to do is accept a unicorn into your life.

What? You don't believe in unicorns? Well, I assure you that they are very real! And I know this because I've accepted a unicorn into my life, and I trust that it will one day gain me admittance into the BMCS Club.

For someone who grew up in a household that didn’t own a Bible; didn’t attend any services, and has probably only gone into a church to show its historical treasures to a foreign friend who is visiting; this is what a particularly enthusiastic Christian must sound like.

Next week we will explore some of the ways to engage in conversation. But for this week, I am motivated by the Children’s song, “This little light of mine”; and the next line is “I’m going to let it shine”. A good example in our daily lives and not hiding our faith is most likely the greatest testimony we can give to others on just how wonderful our “Unicorn” is.

God Bless