They were using our words. Encouragement flowed, love and support gushed from each message.
“We’re glad you’re back, sister! We love you!” wrote one excited mom. Another added, “We need you. You’re like the light in the darkness. Ignore those who hate.”
But there was a twist to all this.
These words buoyed a mom who had exited a message board in anger because some self-described Christians attacked her spiritual views. Well, her lack of spiritual views, to be precise.
What we’ve been reading are buttressing comments among atheist mothers.
Once I would have closed Firefox before reading any further. But I was curious. I read page upon page of encouragement and love, a veritable fountain of camaraderie and sisterhood.
Weren’t atheists supposed to be growling curmudgeons, viewing relationships with suspicion and spending hours pouring over dusty ledgers of philosophy? Weren’t they supposed to prefer Plato to toddlers?
I learned that these atheist mothers loved their families and their friends. I learned that they considered themselves the protectors of all things logical and scientific, viewing with anger any challenges to their viewpoint. I also learned that some Christians like to do airstrikes, dropping a quick bomb and then retreating to watch the fireworks.
At least one post suggested that this sisterhood should examine its own hatefulness and sin. That, of course, earned eternal scorn and more rallying of the troops.
So how does a follower of Jesus respond? We have often pidgeon-holed atheists into a neat little bundle that we assume is condemned to the place of eternal brimstone and fire. But if ours is a walk of relationship, we owe relationship to those with different views. Jesus didn’t pidgeon-hole.
These atheist moms obviously craved loving relationships – and hadn’t found much among the Christians on the message board. They weren’t drawn to the condemnation but found traction among their own sisterhood.
Jesus extended his hand to a woman caught in adultery, offering her connection over condemnation. Can we do the same?
"Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."