Atheists Can Easily Hide in the Average Religious Group
Atheists can easily hide in the average religious group, whether a mega-place or living room, when building around attendance rather than daily JESUS-LIFE (Heb.3:13. Acts 2:42-47, 1Cor.12).
Juan Carlos Ortiz tells a similar story about atheist murderers easily sitting unnoticed and unchallenged “on the front row” and programs and small groups for 2 years in intentional spying pretense.
This is a huge confirmation for those with ears to hear of the Jesus-less religions of the days we live in. There is something shockingly wrong about this story below, if one is paying attention…
Hi! i was just this minute going to the time-archives to get a historical thing but instead went accidentally here to this News Magazine. Look at this thing i saw:
Someone pretended to be a Christian for two years and no one knew. Absolutely ridiculous that there was so little daily-true-Christ-centered revealing relationship there—that an ATHEIST could be INTENTIONALLY “part of the (so-called) church” and no one had any idea that she was an unregenerate atheist. It makes one wonder about whether Jesus is living inside the majority at such a “church,” if no one even notices when Jesus is definitely NOT living inside of the life of a pretender, whether ignorantly so because of bad teaching, or intentionally so, as in this revealing situation.—jo
Going Undercover Among Evangelicals
The divide between the religious and nonreligious is a wide one—even more so in America, where Christianity and politics are so often intertwined. Atheist Gina Welch wanted to bridge that gap. So she went undercover for two years, joining a megachurch and revealing her nonbeliever status to no one. She eventually became a true part of the community, even going on a mission trip with people she now considers friends. Welch details her journey in a new book, In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church. She talked with TIME about pastor Jerry Falwell and why even atheists can respect Christian evangelism.
Were you surprised at how you came to be part of the evangelical world?
It’s very easy to roll your eyes at the whole culture if you don’t have any stake in anyone participating in it. Once I developed friendships with people whom I cared about, it was easier for me to see the appeal. It’s no accident that evangelical Christianity is as popular as it is. I even came to enjoy listening to sermons from Jerry Falwell, whose politics I was [initially] allergic to. The emotional, intoxicating experience of being at church and hearing that music, and the whole structure of a Sunday service, was moving to me. And I don’t believe in God.
Did you have any misconceptions that got reversed?
Evangelism seemed invasive to me. I thought of it as an imperialistic arrogance—that they wanted to overpower people. My experience with evangelism was something very different. They felt that they could do something about the eternal suffering of others. I came to see evangelism instead as a kind of empathy. That made me feel like there was something in it I could respect.
How do you feel evangelicals are portrayed in the media?
The media often portrays evangelicals as brainwashed, simpleminded and angry. My book isn’t the story of falling in love with everybody. There were some people who seemed to sit perfectly into the picture that I’d always had of evangelical Christians. For me what was missing from the media portrait was complexity.
At what point did you no longer feel like an outsider?
Jerry Falwell’s death. I felt unexpectedly saddened. In my [nonreligious] world people were celebrating, people were exuberant. I felt that he wasn’t being fairly represented. I’d grown this affinity for him simply by being intoxicated by his charisma. That sadness was unacceptable to show to people from my world because it seemed like it might suggest that I was supporting Jerry Falwell.
Do you regret going undercover and pretending to be a Christian?
I regret it in that I think it hurt people I care about. I regret the blitheness with which I participated in religious rituals I just couldn’t bring myself to take seriously. But I think that the ability for my book to bridge a gap between evangelical Christians and nonbelievers does mitigate to some extent what I did.