On Beginning This Experience -Day 1

I think the first thing I need to clear up is some possible misconceptions people may have about why I am doing this.

I’m not doing this because I have doubts. I don’t. I am quite secure in my lack of belief. I am doing this because I was asked to and it’s intriguing. The moment I read the post asking me to “give up Atheism for Lent” I got excited.  It really pushed a button in me.  I love social experiments and this is definitely going to be one.

Many will say that this is God leading me back to the Lord.  If I was unsure then I would wonder if maybe they are right but really this is just a friend who has challenged me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.   I see it as an opportunity to shake things up in my life a bit (not that my life is  boring but we all could use some shaking once in awhile) Plus how can I truly defend my views if I don’t challenge them?

This will definitely be a challenge too.

It seems that some people think this will be easy to do.  It won’t.  It has already been a challenge to change my way of thinking on the first day and it is not even dinner time.

Firstly, can I still snicker at the “Praise God” comments; the first of which I read this morning?  How can I not? Shit.  Damn. :insert appropriate expletive here:  I guess maybe this will be the hardest part. Not giggling and thinking how ridiculous such a comment is, but I’m going to banish the thoughts and make a valiant effort to change my knee-jerk reaction to comments like that.

Next, we went to the library this morning and I decided I should probably read some christian based non-fiction* so I headed to the computer to figure out where the religious section is.  First I queried “atheism.” There were 35 books in the county library system that matched that keyword.  Not just at that library but in the entire library system.  Guess how many came up when I queried “Christianity”?   1297! And to think people are worried about this being a time of skepticism.  If it is – no one is writing about it or at least my library isn’t buying it.

While perusing  the shelves for books on Christianity the Atheist books were on the shelf right above.  I really wanted to bring home The Atheist’s Bible and The God Delusion because I have not read either of them.  I imagine many Christians have read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins so its amusing that I have not, but conversely there are many Atheists who have read more of the bible than many Christians.  Either way I passed on what sounded like interesting reading and stuck with the plan.  I picked up 4 different books from the Christian religion section at the library.

Finally, I read a post today on Facebook asking for prayers.  Normally I would just ignore these or just say I am thinking about them if it is a prayer request because of illness, injury or death (AND I am actually going to have them on my mind).  I am not one to offer false hope or sugar coat a situation but if I am trying to immerse myself in Christian culture and ways does that not include answering prayer requests?  Am I expected to pray for everyone who requests it?  Can I pick and choose?  How does one even pray?†

I get that my christian friends assume hope that after just 45 days I will find God.
(What? He got lost? Better check under the bed.)
I think my Atheist friends are worried I will be brainwashed and convert.

All I am worried about is that there won’t be any donuts at Church on Sunday morning. (I have been told grand stories of donuts, lattés, live bands and big screen tvs instead of hymnals)

*Atheist thought: “christian based non-fiction” is an oxymoron because we see the bible as fiction, therefore, anything based on the bible would be like me trying to sell you a book about the history of London and basing it on what happened in Harry Potter.

† I am planning on praying even though I know that all this is going to be is my words floating out into space.


22 thoughts on “On Beginning This Experience -Day 1

  1. Interesting.. It’s a tricky one to pull off though, I don’t think I could do it. It would be really strange and stifling reverting to that mentality. Good luck!

  2. It’s hard to return to God if you didn’t think he was already there, I think. 🙂 Personally I think the interesting challenge will be in trying to act like a person ‘of faith’ because I don’t think we gain- or lose – it over night. It’s a process to go either way. I appreciate you clarifying your intent.

    I also want to visit your church because mine does NOT have doughnuts OR a latte stand, though there is a well-appreciated Starbucks just down the street.

    Your later comment said you added the books you checked out from the library but I can’t seem to find it. Maybe I am just dull in the brain box because my kids are finally in bed for the night….

  3. I find it funny that you are even bothering with this experiment. To totally immerse yourself you need to have an open mind, which clearly you do not. You have already formed negative opnions, so no matter which church you decide to “invade” is already batting zero. But, Im curious, so if its alright with you I am going to follow your adventures

    • First thank you for following.
      As for me having preconceived notions – I don’t have those because I am an Atheist I have those because of the way I was raised and because of churches I have gone to previously.
      To say that I do not have an open mind is incredibly unfair. I am being very open with this which includes being transparent about the ideas that I already have.

    • I’m good friends with Dy-Anne. And I’m a Christian, a writer for a preschool through high school children’s ministry curriculum, and a speaker about special needs ministry at national Christian conferences. Obviously, she and I are coming from different viewpoints, but she and I have had a lot of open and honest dialogue about faith. I can vouch for her that she is approaching this with an open and honest perspective.

  4. When praying, think of it in terms of a silent diary in your head. Or a meditation on a thought. Start by sending it to the universe. It should help the process of praying “to someone ”
    As an agnostic, I find this to be helpful. I also find church to be peaceful. A time I can meditate. However, I have a hard time swallowing the bible and baby jesus.
    Will you be attending one kind of church or a couple? Big difference from the pentacostals and the catholics. I urge you to try both.
    Best of luck!

  5. I find this whole idea to be silly. There’s a difference between challenging your beliefs and pretending you’re a Christian for a while. It’s not like disbelieving something is a conscious choice you can simply take back. I don’t know about you, but my beliefs are based on what’s evidently true, only being changed when it was evident that I was wrong. Why justify lent by giving anything up at all? Lent is silly.

  6. If you’re going to be reading Christian non-fiction then you owe it to yourself to read The God Question by JP Moreland. Since you aren’t looking to convert just skip chapters 3-5 which are arguments for the existence of God. But chapters 7-10 are how to live the Christian life- and they don’t fall prey to all the straw-man silly versions of Christianity which are obviously terrible. If you tried to live like it said you would feel you had given the best form of Christianity a fair attempt during Lent and not been able to simply write it off by following some extreme that’s obviously bad.

  7. Another good book for you to at leastcocnsider is “Evidence that demands a verdict.” Looking forward to see how it all works out for you!

  8. I’m not sure it’s fair to say that ‘“christian based non-fiction” is an oxymoron because we see the bible as fiction’. I mean, a book about Lord of the Rings is no (more or) less non-fiction than one about Machiavelli’s The Prince.

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