In my chats with Alan about Christopher Hitchens last week (to see click here) he raised the question of what kind of stance we should have towards athiests, and of potential dangers in apologetic interactions. I fully agreed with Alan’s comments, in fact I see apologetics as largely a distraction from our real business of understanding and speaking the gospel.
However, I do like to interact with the occasional atheist.
My angle on this is very different from that of apologetics. I’ve been wondering how to express this different approach, but then came across someone who put it beautifully for me. Here it is:
For this reason, the atheist who cannot believe for moral reasons does honour, in an elliptical way, to the Christian God, and so must not be ignored. He demands of us not the surrender of our beliefs but a meticulous recollection on our part of what those beliefs are, and a definition of divine love that has at least the moral rigour of principled unbelief. This, it turns out, is no simple thing. For sometimes atheism seems to retain elements of ‘Christianity’ within itself that Christians have all too frequently forgotten.
Who wrote this? (Hint: it wasn’t Christopher Hitchens).