An Atheist Tried to Convert Me This Week


Someone recently tried to convert me to atheism over Zoom.

They were especially kind.

They were really serious.

And they were very strong.


But mostly, they were completely convinced that they were right.


This person had grown up in church.

Had wanted to become a pastor.

And studied to be one. For a long time.


They had loved Jesus with all their might.

And tried hard to be the best Christian they knew to be.


Keeping all the "Christian" rules.

Knowing their Bible inside and out and upside down.

Counting on God to take them to heaven when they died because they had said the "magic prayer" and had been "saved."


And suddenly, one day, within hours, they told me, they had a vision that the whole thing was a sham. False. Myth.

They had been duped into believing an utter lie.

And now they can't unknow what they know.


And the cold, hard truth was that there is no god. No god.

This life is all there is.

And people deserved to know so that they could make an "informed choice" (which he had never had) and begin to live out the rest of their days with the knowledge of those facts.


For the most part, I just listened to the pain, heartache and the frustration of this someone and the well-thought out reasons they gave for believing the way they do, and instead of getting defensive and trying to convert them back (for once in my life), it gave me serious pause.


As we ended our conversation, I found myself disturbed, perturbed and ready to spout off (mostly to myself) all the reasons they were crazy.


But I didn't. Instead, I turned inward, asking myself a very difficult question.

Why do I stay "Christian?"


Because many of the things the someone spoke about to me were true.


There's so much evil in this world and it feels like evil is winning.


Those who call themselves Christians seem to be taking the God they supposedly worship's name in vain when they spew hateful rhetoric, use fear and violence as a tactic for behavior management and harm vulnerable children in the process. All in the name of God.


The God of the Bible (according to much of modern Christianity's interpretation) is a sadist, commanding genocide in His name, and a narcissist, only deeming those worthy who fall to their knees and beg for forgiveness for a crime they were born into and was no choice of their own.


They had a point. A very valid point.


So why, why do I stay "Christian?"


Is it because I know for sure and certain that every single thing that was written in the Bible is factually true and I'm counting on that knowledge to save my soul?

[because that's what I did for a very long time]


Is it because I grew up in a household and culture and got married into a space that was permeated with Christianity and I need to hold on to it with all my might just so that I don't get kicked out or shunned or lose the respect of those that matter to me?

[because that's what I did for a very long time]

Is it because I'm deathly afraid that God will send me to eternal conscious torment if I don't say, do and believe all the "right doctrines and theologies" and belong to the "right denomination or non-denomination?"

[because that's what I did for a very long time]


Today, I whisper-shout a wholehearted "NO" to all of that , but my heart still says "YES" to Jesus.

The Jesus who loved the outcast, the pious, the saint and the sinner. No one was beyond his tender and fierce reach. Not a one. It still rings true today.


The Jesus who, when the world's corrupt political and religious systems did their horrifying worst to him, responded with his best, with words of forgiveness and death-defying love. Who does that?


The Jesus who embodied the transformational and life-altering story of a God who did whatever it took to fully enter into our humanity and broken hearts and enslaved souls and blind minds and showed us the way through the mess of it all to the places of abundance, healing and freedom. And still does.


It all boils down for me to LOVE.


Not knowing the right answers.

Not belonging to the right group.

Not having a "get out of hell free" card.


But the precious embodied LOVE of Jesus that transforms and redeems and heals everything and everyone in its path.

That's why.


#estherthedollymama P.S. The picture is of the front of our Uber on the way to the airport in Seattle last week. The beautiful, dark-skinned driver was from Ethiopia and after chatting up a storm about our mutual "homeland," I actually wanted to give her a hug as we got out of the car. I didn't, but I kind of wish I had.

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