So I went to the atheist group meeting, and it turned out really cool. Tommy (from Verve’s staff) went with me, and the people were very gracious to us. I had been warned that we would be attacked, but we weren’t. Here are some thoughts:
- The meeting started out with a guy giving some updates, including their happiness that the group is growing, their need to add more people, and a billboard campaign they want to do in the Fall to promote their cause. I found that interesting because one of the complaints they seem to have with churches is that they want to “prosthelytize.”
- After the very short speech, the meeting became people talking and debating in little groups of 2’s and 3’s. (There were about 45 people there.)
- We learned that of the original group that came to our church a few weekends ago, one came back the next week (which is cool that she felt comfortable enough), and we talked a lot with her. She’s really cool.
- Tommy and I were able to have a pretty substantive conversation with two or three people about why they don’t believe, and we were able to answer some of their questions about Christianity, and talk a little about the fact there is evidence for what we believe (which is news to them).
- It’s so sad to me that Christians have done such a crap job of explaining why they believe what they believe. It’s ridiculous that there is tons of overwhelming evidence to prove God, the Bible, Jesus, and so many people think Christians are brain dead for believing and just going on blind faith.
- A few of their complaints about Christianity are ones I share: Hate-filled groups like the idiots from Wesboro Baptist Church, Christians who appeal to the Bible because it’s the Word of God, because it says it’s the Word of God (that’s called circular reasoning – you have to prove that it has authority to appeal to it as authoritative).
- There’s a lot of irony. For instance, many of the atheists feel like a persecuted minority and are afraid of what others (especially family and friends) would think if they discovered they are atheists. Which is ironic because … many serious Christians feel like a persecuted minority and are afraid of what others (especially family and friends) would think if they discovered they are Christians.
- And, more irony, seemingly the biggest issue they have with Christians is that even if they have some evidence, in the end they have to rely on faith. But for a person to declare definitively that there is no God anywhere in this universe is a total faith statement. In fact, I don’t know how anyone could have enough faith to say that.
- I was also told that a lot of the members of this atheist group who weren’t able to come to Verve on the day the group came still want to come, and plan on showing up at Verve over the next few weeks. That’s cool, and actually very normal for Verve. We already have atheists and skeptics and church-haters visiting Verve every week – that’s who our church is here for.
Anyway, all in all, a really cool time, and the people we hung out with seem to be really good people. I’m not sure if they’d want me to come again to their meetings, but I might.