This Sunday, Lafayette Ave. Presbyterian Church’s services will feature a conversation that I will be having with Sarah Kaiser(at the 10am service, which meets at the church) and Cody Hashman (at the 6pm service, which meets at Ashker’s Juice Bar), both of whom identify as atheists and work at the Center for Inquiry, as part of “Interview an Atheist at Church Day“.
We live in a simultaneously pluralistic and polarized world. There are nearly as many belief (or non-belief) systems as people, and yet many of us only get to know people who think like us.
The idea of this day is not for me to convert them (or vise versa), but rather provide a model for healthy conversation. My hope is that by hearing from Cody and Sarah, believers will grow in empathy and understanding, so that we might engage other non-believers with respect and compassion.
Is this necessary? Helpful? “None of the above” is the fastest growing (non) religious group in our country, but atheists are still often mistrusted or disliked. It is likely that believers and non-believers will share a workplace and/or a table at Thanksgiving, where mistrust and dislike are not at all helpful. “Interview an Atheist at Church Day,” is intended as a step toward compassion and understanding.