Everybody believes... something. Recently my Dad told me, “If I had to believe in something, I probably would believe in Odin” (the god of Norse mythology). He’s half Norwegian, so it kind of makes sense (especially since he’s completely out of touch with the “Hollywood Odin” of Marvel fame). My Dad’s comment did catch me a bit off guard. Then again, everybody believes something... and I always want to respect that.
To pay my dues to my Dad’s disbelief, at age 18 I studied under a German existential philosopher. She was a happy atheist and we had a truly wonderful time working our way through more than four centuries of atheistic thought. My challenge to her: “Convert me or I’ll probably be a Christian the rest of my life.” I had decided to follow Jesus Christ at age 13, but deliberately put my faith on the shelf.
In the end, I came back to faith... and not just barely. Instead, I came back to an even more robust faith in Jesus. That doesn’t make me one bit smarter or better than my Dad or any of my other atheistic, agnostic, and skeptical family members and friends.
Still, in my heart of hearts, I would love to see my Dad put his atheism on the shelf awhile and happily study Jesus. I think if he read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, he very well might fall in love with Jesus... just like I did many years ago.