two cups on a coffee table with sofa behind

An Atheist and a Born Again Christian share a cuppa

An Atheist and a Born Again Christian share a cuppa

One of my closest friends is an atheist, and if you know much about me you will know that I am not. It might seem strange to some that an atheist and a ‘born-again’ Christian can be close friends but we have many common interests and she is the friend I’ve had the longest since arriving in Ireland.

We met at toddler group 14 years ago when our oldest kids were two years old, and we hit it off, mainly because we were both from out of town (and out of country even), share a similar sense of humour and both have a love for the creative arts and bearded husbands in the public health sector.

We’ve covered a lot of ground together in that time. We became breastfeeding counsellors and travelled to conferences around Ireland for many years, and we brought her and her family on their first trip to South Africa.

Anyway we met up one of the past mornings on my sofa, me with my coffee, her with her tea, and spent an hour chatting about the things closest to our hearts, as you do with your close friends. At the time those topics included the HPV vaccine, sex, suicide, bullying in school and as adults, our children and friendship. Quite a lot for one hour – we speak fast.

We have plenty in common to talk about but we’ve had many chats about the differences between us too. I have laid out the basics of the Gospel to her and tried to explain why I believe the way I do. I have asked her in the past whether she thinks I am deluded for basing my whole life on something that, according to her, doesn’t even exist! She may think I’m a bit crazy but she’s never says so. She just nods, smiles and calls me a ‘religious’ person.

Of course, I’d absolutely LOVE it if she saw past the ‘religious’ side and recognised the spiritual relationship that is real.

BUT, as she left that morning just passed, she asked me an odd question – for an atheist! She wanted to know why my recent blog posts didn’t mention my faith anymore. I was stumped a little, into temporary silence. She told me she knows it’s a central part of who I am and therefore it made sense that I wrote about it. I would have expected my fellow believing friends to have challenged me on this point before an atheist friend would!

For me it was a bit mindblowing, actually.

The thing is I have been wrestling with this myself for some time.

(and I was a little bit thrilled that she reads my blog).

No matter how much I tell myself it doesn’t matter what other people think, I do naturally always hope that people like me. As we all do!

Blogging can be a very public way to live a personal life – some blogs much more so than others. There’s always a piece of ourselves we are happy to show the world and many pieces we are not. As for things to hide, I have plenty, but then, once again, we all do.

There is always a balance between being honest and authentic vs putting it all out there and being indiscrete. I certainly don’t want to ruin any relationships with those I love by laying out their private lives for all to see.

However, I was reminded by our conversation not to be ashamed of my faith. It is not a part I wish to hide deliberately. I am not ashamed, ideed, it is not a shameful thing! Quite the opposite, it is a hopeful, hope-filled thing.

When I started my blog, it was filled with posts that centred mostly around that topic. This past year has seen it take on a new direction as I went self hosted. In this time I have been finding my feet and my voice as a blogger – It’s always a process that takes time and is filled with questioning, doubt and self criticism. I’ve come to realise that as we all change, so our blogs would naturally evolve to reflect that. I have been trying to figure out how commercialism blends with faith – they appear to be polar opposites!

I am still processing that and probably always will but my faith is not a separate boxable part of me but rather it is central to my whole life and is the framwork within which I place everything. I am inside the box, the box isn’t inside me!

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you read my blog or if you don’t though. If you like it you will, if you don’t then I won’t take it personally – much.

It’s funny how God used an atheist to tell me that.

But then I believe God has a sense of humour, and not only that but that He is not limited to what I understand or know of Him, that he works all things according to His good purposes, that He calls us to love one another and that He is patient with me – oh ye of little faith.

And that He even uses seemingly insignificant little cups of tea and coffee to remind me of what the important things in life are.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Romans 1:16

 


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33 thoughts on “An Atheist and a Born Again Christian share a cuppa

  1. Fascinating post, Liberty. I don’t know your friend, obviously, but maybe I can relate to the fact that she can relate to and enjoy all the other aspects of you, outside of your faith. I always enjoy your posts, but pretty much skip through the stuff where you wax spiritual. Whatever is out there, and whatever might have shaped the way things are, the very idea of it being explained by some kind of benign almighty force seems to me, frankly absurd. I don’t rule out shaping forces, but simply, with all the bad that exists the idea of an all-loving creator just doesn’t wash. I might have said it before, but I see religious faith as bound up in metaphor, or as a way of addressing the questions that consume us all, why amI here, what’s it all about … the Big Questions. So, rather than a religious person tolerating my lack of faith, I would just as easily claim to be happy to tolerate the Believers of this world.

    1. The problem of evil is one that people often use to explain why they have no faith in a good God but I see it as a reason to believe that the only solution to it is the one He provides. I would agree though that tolerance and in fact more than that with a willingness to engage positively, is key.

      1. Not even talking about evil … random acts of pointless destruction and misery are enough to be going on with. My wife works in a hospice and witnesses routine tragedies that don’t offer much evidence of a benign plan or presence at work.

        1. Well I use the word evil in an all encompassing sense, for all that is the opposite to good. There is so much in the world that is tragic and pointless but there is equally so much that is wonderful, beautiful and joy filled. I don’t think that the bad things negate the good.

  2. I don’t think faith should come between friendship. It can be a sticky subject that everyone seems to have an opinion on, but people should always respect another’s beliefs.

  3. This was a great post. 🙂
    For the record:
    A. I don’t think it is odd at all that one of your closest friends is an atheist.
    You see, I could’ve written a blogpost about a Jewish gal and a Born Again Christian gal sharing tea … and it would describe me with one of my friends (she’s the Christian one). People in her church used to ask her, all worried-like, if I “was saved” and it always made her laugh and tell them that she’s sure I’d be just fine. … 🙂 We have plenty of discussions on a lot of different topics (we talk fast, too), including things we agree or disagree about in every aspect including politically, but always with respect to each other’s views and beliefs, which is just the way it should be among friends, anyway!
    B. Your faith is what your faith is for you. If you’ve been avoiding mentioning it due to fearing others might not approve, this is something for you to explore with yourself. However, if you didn’t mention it exactly because it was so central to you that some things went without saying, than perhaps that in of itself reflected where you stood with regards to how integral your belief is to your everyday. Sort of like, you not writing about how you brushed your teeth or kissed your kids goodnight — it goes without saying sort of stuff.
    As for the Divine (in whatever form it takes for one) having a sense of humor–I do agree. 😉
    Na’ama

    1. Yes 100% thank you Na’ama. I love the toothbrushing analogy, that’s exactly it. And yet it would be amiss of me to not share how wonderful brushing my teeth is in order to save my teeth if my sister’s teeth were in danger of being lost because she didn’t know that there was a way of saving them. 😊 Of course we’d talk about teeth brushing in the nicest possible way.

      1. Ha, well, I would give most people more credit than that, for one does not need to have a SPECIFIC kind of toothpaste to use to have healthy teeth … 😉

  4. I loved your post! As a fellow blogger, I would say that we want to be genuine with our faith but not religious. Most of the time when I write, I want the joy of knowing Jesus to come through in my writing. For me it’s not about believing. I don’t believe in Jesus, I know Jesus. My first encounter with Him was when I was 13 years old. I had become cynical about Christianity. For years I had prayed for my mom to be healed from a horrible disease known as Myasthenia Gravis. I had never seen my mom run. She was mostly bed ridden and always very weak. It was on a trip to Germany, to bury my grandmother, that I learned that God was real and that Jesus loved me. After helping my mom for an hour walk 15 feet, we stopped to rest. After a few moments she turned to me and told me that she had a vision that God had just healed her. As I started to get angry, she said, “Let’s race!” In that moment I saw my mom run! She was fast! I tried to keep up, but tears were flowing so hard I could barely see. Today she is 87 and still healed. There are times that I did not want to obey God or follow Jesus, but I never doubted the truth of God. As I am now wiser and no longer a selfish youth, I embrace God with all my love and devotion to the knowledge and truth of who He is.

  5. Great post Liberty and a good discussion generated. Definitely good to see that faith doesn’t come between your friendship and respecting each other’s views and opinions is how it should be – thanks for sharing

      1. Hi Liberty. I’m still here and I think that life just took over for awhile. I’m guilty of worrying that I haven’t posted anything meaningful when really I should be engaging more with my blogging neighbours. I love reading your posts!

        1. I’m guilty of worrying too much about my own blog too – I definitely overthink things and should be doing more, and since I went self hosted I seem to have lost touch with most of the wordpress. com bloggers, I miss the sense of community from there.

    1. I think that’s a good way to put it, I feel it’s not the sole voice of my blog but the ethos within which I frame my life, and by default my blog. Thanks for the comment, I’m glad to know I’m now the only one who struggles with this.

  6. I’m glad you reconnected with your passion for speaking about your faith – if that’s a big part of who you are then surely it should be represented in your posts? I like to think of any blog as a virtual cup of tea with friends, and I’m glad to get to know all aspects of the bloggers I read.
    Thanks for linking to #CoolMumClub

  7. I enjoyed reading this, and I can relate to you in a lot of ways. I’m also a born again Christian and blogger. I have a couple of posts where I directly share my faith, and the rest are about my other interests. Lately though I am feeling motivated to incorporate more of my faith in my blog posts. #BlogCrush

    1. That’s amazing, I love how blogging brings connections from across the world! It can feel risky posting about one’s faith as it feels so personal and I fear being disliked or side lined because of it. I guess it’s a matter of setting priorities and speaking from the heart as well as writing what you feel led to write. I’m looking forward to reading what you write!

  8. This was an interesting read for me. As you know, I am also a Christian and it is absolutely central to my life, everyone I know in “real life” knows I’m a Christan… and yet I rarely mention it on my blog. I have often wondered if I should include it more.

    But the decision I have made is that I run my blog on Christian values – I use integrity when I work with brands, use my posts to encourage love and kindness in parenting, and make a stand when commenting on posts that clash with my beliefs. BUT my blog is not a blog about Christianity, it is about gentle parenting. There is so much more to my life than gentle parenting (including my faith) that I COULD write about, but I have chosen a niche and I stick to that. I am more than happy to chat about my faith if people ask, but it’s not the reason that people come to my blog – they come for my parenting posts so that’s what I need to write about. I liken it to having a clothes shop – there would be little point filling my shop with bibles if people come to my shop to buy dresses. BUT that doesn’t stop me from running my business on biblical principles.

    But I have really enjoyed reading some of your thought process on this too, and a chance to re-evaluate my own choices. #blogcrush

    1. The dress shop is a really great analogy Lucy. I feel that my faith underpins all my life so where appropriate I’ll talk about it in my blog. Yesterday I wrote about the cervical check and the topic of faith didn’t pop up at all 😁. There are heaps of Christian parenting blogs too. I guess we all are led to write for different readers and as long as we work with integrity and dedication, with honesty and kindness then we need to be true to the calling/gifting we have.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my post. Xx

  9. Hi Liberty,
    Just found you on Fresh Market Friday, lovely post! It’s interesting how God gets His message across to us isn’t it!

    I started blogging only this year to what I thought would be an avenue for my published works… God had other ideas though, as there has been a major hiccup in the supply chain for second & third printings of these books! So from starting out as an analogous blogger it has now evolved into a faith blog bringing both my professional & personal experience into play! 😀

    You are most welcome to join me in a cuppa,
    Jennifer

    1. Hi Jennifer, so lovely to ‘meet’ you, I am looking forward to reading your blog now! I’m delighted to discover Fresh Market Friday as it’s great to connect with like-minded people, especially in the online realm.
      It always amazes me the ways God speaks, often in the most unexpected ones. Thank you so much for popping by and commenting. 😊😊

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