3 Church-Lessons from the “Friendly Atheist”

by Sean McDowell

Last Friday night, I had a public dialogue with Hemant Mehta—the “Friendly Atheist.” He has a popular blog, YouTube channel, and podcast. The Conversation is already up on the Unbelievable? YouTube channel.

I was tempted to write a post in response to some of the topics that came up in our conversation. After all, we discussed the intersection of science and Christianity, whether atheists are motivated to believe in God because of a traumatic experience, the nature of faith, and so on. Maybe I will write that post when the podcast releases next week.

But for now, I think this post may be more interesting and productive. Rather than leading with critique, I would rather lead with an attempt to learn and find common ground. So, here are three takeaways for the church from my interaction with Hemant:

1. Love your kids, even if they disagree with you. Hemant and I both went through a period of doubt in our lives. I embraced the faith of my parents, whereas Hemant rejected the Jain faith his parents raised him with. As a result of our experiences, and our current professions, we both hear from kids who had bad experiences when they questioned the religion they were raised with…
 

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3 Church-Lessons from the “Friendly Atheist”