Recently a magazine sent me excellent questions for an interview. Below are some of their inquiries and my responses.
so much to talk about, but first let's start with how you encountered Christ.
You say that He 'interrupted your existence'. Can you tell us a bit about what
your life was like then and how He stopped you in your tracks?
Alicia: Truth for me was dead. God had
never lived. Life was filled with pain. Death was the end of life. These four
beliefs formed my worldview. I sincerely believed that there was no God.
The day of the encounter, I
was neither seeking God nor on a noble truth pilgrimage. I was neither high nor
drunk nor in the pit of despair.
Q2. Were you
an atheist by choice or simply because no one had ever told you the gospel?
Alicia: Atheism was a distinct
decision. My parents tease me that the first word out of my mouth wasn’t “Ma”
or “Da” but “WHY?” Evidently I’ve been asking questions since I could speak.
Unanswerable questions led me to the belief that there was no God. Over the
years I encountered several streams of Christianity and also Spiritualism,
Hinduism, and Buddhist thought. Faith seemed a construct of mankind to stuff in
the gaps and calm fears or explain the unexplainable. As a young Atheist, I
considered myself a realist who preferred unanswered questions over fairy
Q3. Why do
you think so many Christians are afraid of speaking with those who say they
Alicia: Reasons abound, but perhaps
almost all of the reasons are rooted in either fear or deception. Some fear rejection or embarrassment.
Some fear not knowing what to say. And perhaps some privately fear that their
faith isn’t sound enough to withstand critique.
Fear married to deception
keeps the Church caged. In our day, “one way—Jesus” is cultural blasphemy. The
world’s deceptive message is deafening: “Move beyond the narrow elitism of
one-way and enter into the enlightened inclusion of all ways. Affirm equally
everyone’s respective truth or keep your mouth shut.”
Q4. Do you
think modern Christian culture has in some ways made it more difficult for
atheists to come to the church?
Alicia: Perhaps it’s our lack of
sharing life shoulder-to-shoulder outside
of church that makes it difficult for people (Atheist or otherwise) to want to
come inside a church. We give our
gifts (money, talent) gladly but our lives (time, touch) little. Our lives are
so full. Yet it would be life-giving, if we said “no” to one time-eater in
order to say “yes” to some consistent activity (city league ball, PTA…) that
would place us in proximity with others who wrote mental resignation letters to
the church long ago.
(to be continued)