Atheist and the church goer.
It was a morning like any other morning. Sunday my favorite day of the week, time to unwind and forget work resting in the Lord. I always woke early with a passion to go to church. I was a christian and wanted to be Christ-like as the word christian stands for. In christ we serve a beautiful expression of venerating a true King. My attitudes reflected my outward appearance, I always wore the smartest suit possible. I didn’t want to give a lazy attitude, like I have just rolled out of bed. My morals sang to me Sunday best, best clothes, fresh attitude, marching in the spirit. After all we are a church and the bride of christ. If you attend church labored leaving labored what have you gained?
I caught my usual train arriving at the station early. Walking to church, the air was crisp, a slight smell of wild flowers permeated my nostrils from a nearby garden. Red Kite flew gracefully circling nearby trees, spiraling on air currents cushioned by the love of God. As I neared church I unlatched the gate and prayed, I was home. Church always felt part of me we come together as the body of christ.
As I turned to fasten the gate a man stopped me. I had not noticed him first of all, as he had crossed the road quickly with purpose in my direction.
He was around twenty-five I think, overweight and had a jumper rolled up above his elbows exposing arrays of tattoos. Jeans were dirty, and a cigarette butt hung loosely from the corner of his mouth. He stopped in front of me and said:
“Can I talk with you for a minute, I see your going into church?”
I felt slightly intimidated by this man. It was early, I arrived to start cleaning the church for daily service. Most people were still tucked up in bed asleep, without a care in the world, at least for God.
“How can I help you” I answered holding onto the gate like a physical barrier just in case this guy had evil intent in his mind.
“I am an atheist what motivates you to go to church?” He asked.
“I have a connection with the body of christ, my religious upbringing comes from my parents. God is spirit we worship in the spirit, as we are spiritual people.”
“The body of christ interesting way to say it. I think church is boring, there is no proof God exists. The bible is just a book of lies. I don’t mean to offend you, but how can you believe in rubbish. To me Christians are like children blowing out candles on a birthday cake. They do it to because they want to believe that their wish will come true. I tolerate Christians but hate the belief, but I have no problem in anyone believing in fairy tales if it makes them happy. I take issue when they try to force their garbage on me.” He said very bluntly.
“Can I speak to you openly about this” I asked?
“Of cause I am here to talk nothing else, be free with what you want to say.” He took a drag from his cigarette smoke got in my throat. I was surprised he did not have an E cigarette which were all the rage these days. It saddened me children used E cigarettes, some boys and girls never smoked proper cigarettes but bought them as a status symbol.
“You have no religious upbringing?”
“No my parents are all atheists and see church as not masculine. I agree why should I go to something that questions my manhood?”
Church is a ladies club, it’s not for me” he laughed.
“Are you a man or a mouse? Men are supposed to be tough earthy guys. Alpha males.”
“Are you married?” I asked looking intently into his eyes, I could see a man not happy with life or himself.
“No I am not married I have had many partners, my last partner tried to make me attend church under duress. I want to stay in bed on a Sunday, watching the local football. As I said let the woman go to church if they want to. Sunday should be rest from work, watch tv, go to the footy game, few beers and prepare for the coming week ahead.”
You say woman go to church are you implying there is a gender gap that attends church?” I asked.
“Of cause it’s generally old people who go to church. You don’t see many men attending. Why is that because church is boring and for people who like to knit.”
I had not said much yet but I decided to express myself. The power of The Holy Spirit came upon me.
“Mankind is lazy most do not look to God in church. We do not find value, this is reflected in dress code. Man enjoys too much what the bible says is sinful. People who do not go to church are really not part of the church. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
“If you can’t follow Gods laws you follow mans laws and become your own God. I follow Jesus and serve the body of Christ with other believers.”
He smiled “I like the idea of Jesus but do not like Christians or your ideas. Church is not relevant anymore. Sports take centre stage for me, plus I have been before and was made to feel unwelcome due to a hierarchy. Today we are a digital age, you can listen to your iPod, pod casts, tv. I want to work to buy nice clothes, go on expensive holidays, drive fast cars. As I said there is an age difference, churches are suspicious and judgmental.”
“I can see you have no sense of community or family. Faith helps us slow down. It’s a reminder God is there and needs our love too. Church is not a social club the bible tells us to come together as the body of Christ. Church is not a building, organization or again I say a social club. We are a family, a community of believers and bonded in Jesus Christ, fused by The Holy Spirit and united by love. Church is about relationships and thirsting the very essence of the Kingdom of God. To attract more like-minded people we need empowered leaders with a sense of vision. Growth in faith and to speak all the truth.”
“So what are you saying leaders do not always speak the truth” he laughed.
“Not all they teach what everyone wants to hear. True Christians are not judgmental and negative, and not all churches are boring, we want to help people with the love of God.
“Are you homophobic? I am also gay I like men and women.” I think he was trying to get an argument going but I kept calm in the spirit.
“We are not homophobic we love the person not the act.” I said.
“You are all full of hypocrites you say one thing then do another, most churches just want money, merchandise for a quick buck. Life is better without religion. Church is boring, Christians are weird you don’t smoke or drink. You shy away from others who swear, normal things that everyone does, parties, etc. What life do you have?” Church is centered around the elderly, this is obvious they are going to die soon and want a quick fix. They are probably single and have no friends. There is nothing for young people to express themselves. Same songs, same routine, preach the same. As you said not to tell all the truth. Its like watching the same boring tv over and over again.”
“Church is not boring when we have The Holy Spirit. Look at yourself if you are bored, religious experience is a journey to salvation. Practical teaching gives us a vision, a purpose to be a better family man. Church teaches pride is the root of all vices, modern society is irrational and immoral thinking is on the rise. Gluttony undermines values, we have unhealthy mind, body and soul. Lust is a physical commodity. The body is Gods creation we are made in his image, to be like Jesus, to honor marriage when two become one flesh, not to watch pornography or treat woman like an object. Marriage is for life a covenant with God. Vows are made to each other. Love and sex are part of marriage not disgusting warped concepts that our freewill has decided is right, and goes against the Lords will. Birth control and abortion is against his will. We need the Soul of Christ to sanctify us. The body of Christ to save us. The water from the side of Christ to wash us. The blood of christ to motivate us all. We need the blessing of The Holy Spirit and Jesus to hear us and talk to us on a daily basis.
He smiled and said “Church service is to long over 45 minutes I have had enough. I also think announcements are not necessary, they should have boards for that and concentrate more on the service. There is a lack of male leaders its full of woman, where is the chance to teach the young, or an understudy? You might get more followers then. Most churches are womans domain from flower arranging, cleaning and looking after the children. Why do some people sing and some don’t? Because we don’t want to look foolish in front of others. Speaking in church builds confidence and takes confidence to do. How many people have actually read your so-called book the Bible? I bet it’s not many? Why because they do not have the time for fairy-tales and have work and socializing to keep them occupied. Men are more practical doing practical things my friend.”
“Church shows true love, do not fear but trust in Christ we are so afraid today we suffer from anxiety and depression. Human life is so precious we love everybody including the sick and disabilities. Proper morals come from God. Sex before marriage is wrong, you have no loving union between your wife, we are created to be one with our wife. Everyday we should have and want an active role in church, we all have a duty and special gifts. What do we do with our time and gifts. Are we truly born again, when we come to church? We should take what is good from church from what is wrong. God gives us time, within bad days to come back to him. We want to hear about healthy marriages and our purpose in life. We want to be able to teach our children proper morals. We want to express our guilt and feelings if we have any. Talk about work and attaining biblical life skills. Men follow men. Look at Jesus! We want strong pastors and have fun in church, looking for true friends. True friends are hard to find, like-minded christian friends can develop strong bonds. We want to heal people from drugs, drink and sex. The church teaches about greed and material things.”
He was staring at me intently no longer smiling. I saw a twinkling in his eyes, and an understanding from one with infinite goodness.
“So what is your idea of the Messiah’s return? he asked
The dead in Christ will be resurrected to life, and there will be rewards for the faithful also those who are present at his return. If we endure to the end, and are obedient till death. We will have no corruption, an end to sickness and death. All evil will be destroyed, and the devil will be chained in the pit. This earth will be cleansed of all sin. Jesus will be with us and establish his glorious kingdom on earth. The elect and hopefully myself will be Kings and priests on the new earth.
Remember the devil goes to church without fail religiously. Going to church for the wrong reasons is not profitable. Mere attendance is no gift bringer. Its more important to be the church that walks like christ and requires no club membership. Faith is a daily walk, with hope and love, elements of God will pay dividends for our salvation. People who regularly visit a place of worship are less likely to get involved in low-level crime and delinquency.”
He nodded shook my hand and parted. I attended church and was surprised to see him the following week. He walked up to the pastor and to my amazement said:
“I am guilty of sin. I confess my sins before you and I am sorry. I put my hope in Jesus hands may my sins be forgiven in his name, and in his blood may my soul be made clean.”
I thank you Lord for brining this soul to be saved he now attends every Sunday and brings fresh ideas to help grow the church and the community. The Lord can work in many ways God bless us all through The Holy Spirit our helper and comforter.