A theist is defined as a person who believes in God and therefore, I have always thought, an atheist was a person who does not believe there is a divine being. Recently I have come to question this assumption. After watching debates between individual theists and atheists and lingering in conversations with atheist friends, I begin to hear that some atheists have a dilemma – it may even be called a ‘faith dilemma’.
The theist, regardless of her/his brand of religion, defines who their God (or Gods) is and what He/She is like. Usually with the collective agreement of religious institutions (with/without a sacred text) and/or group consensus, the character of the Deity is determined and doctrinal theology is put in place.
A problem arises when a theist, who has God all packaged-up and is confident that he/she has ‘it right’, enters into discussion with an atheist. The atheist may be still exploring the God that they do not believe in and may wish to have an intelligent, open-minded conversation about the Divine. This may not be what they get.
During such debates, or discussion, I find myself increasingly in agreement with the atheist’s theology. What do I mean by that? I mean that the God that the atheist does not believe in is consistent with the God that I do not believe in. However, I am a theist. I am, in fact, a fully committed Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving, Jehovah-worshipping Christian. And yet, on such occasions, I often have more shared theology with the atheist than the theist (even when the theist is a Christian).
Perhaps we theists need to take more care in presenting God in the true light of His/Her love and listen more intently to the objections made against ‘God’ in order to learn more about who the Divine is and who the Divine is not.
Blessings upon you as you explore meaning and love, whether you call yourself an atheist, or a theist.