Was I intrigued? You bet. Funny thing is, I had no clue when it would be on. I got up this morning, watched my show, then, reluctant to leave my cozy chair, I flipped through the channel guide and low and behold, there it was. I quickly switched it on and snuggled into my chair.
I found it very fascinating to watch how this Christian couple interacted with the atheist. The wife seemed to get the naturalist standpoint this woman came from, but the husband seemed to really struggle with the idea that their guest didn't believe in any higher power what-so-ever. I can understand that. I've had similar discussions with my husband. The idea can take some getting used to.
As the show progressed it was obvious this couple's goal was to show compassion and understanding to their atheist guest. She was a wife, a mother, a regular human being living her life as she believed she should. She also seemed to gain a greater understand of Christians in that they shared similar goals. To live their lives as they believed.
Toward the end they all gave their final input. The husband talked about realizing that just because this family didn't believe in God, didn't mean they were amoral people. They had standards they lived by, they were a happy family living "the good life," and chose to live by a different belief system.
Now, don't misunderstand my point here, nor this man's. I share his belief that the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. This is not the issue on the table here. What struck me again was that he had believed prior to this experience, that if you were atheist, you were immoral and unable to live decent life.
I've run into this several times. When we lived in Europe, I joined a small group Bible study in my neighborhood. One of the young women in the group was very outspoken in her faith. We had a gathering at a friend's one night and everyone was invited, including our families. I brought my husband and introduced him to my new friends.
The next time I saw this young woman, she told me she was amazed my husband was such a nice man. What did she expect, the boogeyman? I've since run into this mentality several times, once recently.
The Bible addresses this in Romans 2: 14-15:
13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.God recognized that some people would live by the "law" naturally. It even talks about the requirements being written on their hearts. They know right from wrong. Atheism doesn't mean you don't know right from wrong, it means you don't beleive in God. Seeing this quick association and assumption as to what an atheist is makes me wonder if we've come to associate religion with morals in the strictest sense. And I'm seeing how destructive assumptions truly can be.
Speaking from a personal standpoint. My husband is one of the most moral people I've ever met. He's also one of the most forgiving people I've ever known. Does that surprise you? It does me sometimes in the sense that I expect that from my Christian community, yet see it exibited in my atheist husband more.
I think watching this show really helped me to affirm the difference between "agreeing to disagree" vs. judigng vs. tolerance. I can still love my husband even though he's chosen to reject God. In fact, God commands me to. Just like he commands us to love our neighbor. He didn't say judge them worthy to love. He just said to love them.
The Bible says to overcome evil with good. I personally believe that has to come from love. I want more than anything to see my husband embrace Jesus as his savior, but the judging part, that I'm leaving up to God. For me, it's simple. I love my atheist.