i haven’t really been following the Atheist Prayer Experiment ran by Premier Christian Radio. If I am honest I dismissed it out of hand as a bit silly and potentially shooting ourselves in the foot (as believers). Anyway, this morning I watched this:
Why did I think this was a bad idea?
Well, ‘thou shalt not test the LORD thy God’ and all that. It seems gratuitous to me for us as human beings to set the bounds for an experiment around prayer. It really just doesn’t sit right with me. How can we tell atheists how to pray and then expect God to speak to them? How can we expect them to have genuinely open ears, hearts, minds and souls? How do we know that even if they do experience ‘something’ then they won’t just ignore it out of sheer pride?
I’ve changed my mind watching this video, though. For two reasons:
1) The woman who found faith – let’s face it, she was probably looking. There will be 2 kinds of Atheists doing this experiment: those who are aware of a search for something, deep down, somewhere in their soul. And those out to prove it is just plain fallacy. The latter ‘won’t hear anything’ and the former probably will. You find meaning where you give meaning. That said, I advocate faith, and to see someone discover the otherness of spirituality from this experiment is a wonderful thing and I cannot help but applaud it.
2) That many of these Atheists are former Christians. This initially irritated me and I felt backed up my view that it was a flawed experiment drawing in 2 kinds of people. Maybe it is, but equally to point (1), should I not be glad that they are still, deep down, pursuing something? Of course I am! It gives me hope above all else that the wrestling in my own life will reach a settled state eventually. The thought of atheism as reality grieves my soul to depths I cannot express. Any chance that it is not the case is welcome news to me.
I’m also a big fan of the honesty of this presenter. He reads out the letters without glossing over them or giving them undue attention. He’s prepared to put his faith’s neck on the line, he’s prepared to ask and answer difficult questions.
That’s the kind of faith I think I could believe in.