June 24, 2013: : The Rise in Atheists and Agnostics – a byproduct of Christianity?

Posted on : Jun 24th, 2013 | By | Category: Still Speaking

Following up on some of the themes in yesterday’s sermon, Quinn Caldwell raises an interesting point.  In a recent survey, 87% of non-church goers age 16-29 said Christians were judgmental.  Quinn’s suggestion:  “What God needs, then, is a different kind of representative, one that won’t convert people away from God, but will invite them to love.  A representative that lives a life of grace and welcome and invitation and love and service, one who lives a life of adventure and tenderness.”

Deeply insightful.  Read on.

Blessings,

Dan

No Fool

Quinn G. Caldwell

“Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’”  From Psalm 53

So if you’re reading this devotional, I assume you are more or less in the “there is a God” camp.  You’re no fool.

On the other hand, neither are those who say in their hearts, “There is no God.”  Not really.

Sometimes, atheists’ disbelief has its roots in science or philosophy.  More often, it stems from unpleasant interactions with believers, either in lived experience, or in story or history.  You know the list: the Inquisition, so-called witch trials, pogroms, the Crusades, discrimination of all kinds, threats of Hell.  A recent study of non-churchgoers ages 16 to 29 found that 87% think that Christians are judgmental.

Since God seems to have decided to not show up in person much anymore, but instead to rely on her people to be her representatives, you can hardly blame atheists if, having met only these kinds of reps, they decide that God isn’t worth their time.  In fact, that’s a decidedly un-foolish response under the circumstances.

What God needs, then, is a different kind of representative, one that won’t convert people away from God, but will invite them to love.  A representative that lives a life of grace and welcome and invitation and love and service, one who lives a life of adventure and tenderness.

God needs representatives who are not fools.  Representatives like you.

Prayer

God, let all of my life be a witness to your love, and an invitation to life with you.  Amen.

  About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell is Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, in Syracuse, New York, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ.

Going to General Synod? Come meet Quinn Caldwell and the rest of the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group at a reception, Sunday, June 30, 9 pm, Convention Center Room. 203A.

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