Atheist and Christian Friendships…. A History
Some folks that I have talked to, Christian and Atheists, seems suprised about how well we get along not only here on the blog, but also at Ohio State.
While on the surface it might seem that Christians and Atheists get along like oil and water, I think this is only on the surface. I have said it many times, the beautiful thing about Atheists is that they believe in an absolute truth. And because of that, we agree on a very essential thing. That’s all a friendship takes, really.
Even more, as I look at history, I know this is really not all that unsual. History is full of deep friendships between believer and nonbelievers. Allow me to give you some examples:
Ben Franklin and George Whitefield- While they were not close friends, they struck up a friendship that involved a few different conversations that we know about. They cooperated in building an orphenage and helping the poor in Georgia, which was full of destitute people. Franklin was by no means an atheist, but more of a deist. Whitefield was one of the great preachers of the Great Awakening.
George Bernard Shaw and G.K. Chesterton-Their friendship often played out in public debates, written arguments and finally Shaw saying of Chesterton, “He was a man of colossal genius.” They loved hanging out with each other and insulting each other. For example this rumored exchange between the two, Chesterton, “‘To look at you, anyone would think there was a famine in England.’ Shaw retorted, ‘To look at you, anyone would think you caused it”. Nothing but guy friends talking trash.
These are just two examples. It makes me realize what we are doing here is not anything new at all. But rather, a long standing tradition.