"so your atheism is founded more on the institution of what Christianity has become through the years rather than the message and values of Jesus...?"
This conversation has been going on some years. It started in our parent and toddler group. Trevor had proclaimed his atheism to which Kate replied "wow it must take a lot of faith to be an atheist...?" Ever since there has been open, honest healthy dialogue. (one here).
Trevor looks at me and replies...
"Well if we all got back to the message and values of Jesus we'd be a lot better off ... but problem is you can't say that the church has done a great job with the message..."
"What's the message you've heard then Trev?" I enquire - thinking this is interesting from someone who describes himself as 'unashamably atheist'.
"you've got it wrong...you've got it wrong...we've got it right and if you don't agree to what we think we're going to kill you... was quite a strong theme for a few centuries...!" he begins to get up a head of steam.
The conversation trundles on we talk Constantine - through to disillusioned Christian intellectuals and the emerging church before I ask "so Trev, what should the message be...?"
"I see it like this ... add a 'o' to God and that seems to give you the key word"
I nod sagely and 'hmm' sympathetically...
We both laugh...
"Gordon, I like talking to you - you are a silly 'bugger' but I like talking to you"
I come away smiling but thinking I wonder how much atheism is based on not believing in church rather than the message, life and values of Jesus. I wonder how much we contribute to that ecclesiastical smoke screen choking the message?