“It ought to be possible to live a Christian life without being a Christian,” laments Roy Hattersley, a columnist for the U.K. Guardian. An outspoken atheist, Hattersley came to this conclusion after watching the Salvation Army lead several other faith-based organizations in the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina.
“Notable by their absence,” he says, were “teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers’ clubs, and atheists’ associations—the sort of people who scoff at religion’s intellectual absurdity.” According to Hattersley, it is an unavoidable conclusion that Christians “are the people most likely to take the risks and make the sacrifices involved in helping others.”
Hattersley also notes that this pattern of behavior goes beyond disaster relief:
Civilized people do not believe that drug addiction and male prostitution offend against divine ordinance. But those who do are the men and women most willing to change the fetid bandages, replace the sodden sleeping bags, and—probably most difficult of all—argue, without a trace of impatience, that the time has come for some serious medical treatment.
“The only possible conclusion,” says Hattersley, “is that faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that, while they do not condition the attitude of all believers, influence enough of them to make [Christians] morally superior to atheists like me.”
This excerpt originally appeared in the UK Guardian in September of 2005. It’s striking to me how a confirmed atheist like Hattersley can be impacted, not by arguments or debate, but by selfless love in action.
That’s the impact of Jesus Christ.
Thousands of years after He lived and taught in Judea we are still talking about him. He is still influencing the world around us. You won’t find many “Hindu Research Hospitals” or “There is No God Atheist Children’s Home” because they don’t exist.
Followers of Jesus are the ones reaching and ministering to the poor, the downtrodden, the neglected, the rejected and those who have nowhere else to turn.
Because that’s what He would have us do.
This week we begin a new series, “rediscovering Jesus” where we will attempt to look past the preconceived notions and years of familiarity and see Jesus anew. I hope you will join us. I hope you will invite someone else to join us. If you are near Huntsville and have no church home, I hope you will consider meeting Jesus again anew. Because the effect of Jesus Christ is more profound than that of any leader, religion or movement in the history of the world!