Several years ago, we had a Legacy Minded Man conference to which I invited a friend of mine, a pronounced atheist. Much to my surprise, he came. I was thrilled but noticed he sat in the back row by himself the whole time and didn’t mingle much.
I got caught up in the event, hearing some great speakers, and soon forgot he was even there. Until towards the end of the conference, during the altar call for men to come forward and either pray for whatever was going on in their lives, to receive Christ, or to rededicate their life to Christ.
My atheist friend went forward. That got my attention. I was shocked. A pronounced atheist going forward during an alter call, un-ironically? What’s more, he was bowing his head, seemingly praying.
At the end of the conference, I asked him about it.
“What made you go forward?”
“Well, I saw guys get up, and I went forward,” he said.
“So you just followed the crowd?”
He shrugged, “Yeah.”
“Did you pray?” I asked.
“Well, no. I just stood and bowed my head like everybody else.”
First, someone should have met him at the front to lead him in prayer or talk to him — not to force him, but so that he would see what we were really doing instead of faking it. We get away with “faking it” most of the time because no one confronts us with the real thing. And though my friend was surrounded by the real thing; he needed an intimate display of it.
Second, I just marvel that this guy didn’t know what he believed even though he claimed atheism. Atheism isn’t the lack of belief; that’s nihilism. Atheism is a strong belief in the existence of God or gods. But when he answered the alter call and went forward, he revealed a weakness in his conviction – any convictions, it would seem. I was more perturbed by his lack of conviction in what he believed than by his proclaimed atheistic beliefs. What was the pull which drew him towards the front that day? Was it the Holy Spirit or his unstable belief system?
Are we following the crowd, or do we know what we believe? Do we have a foundation, a rock-solid foundation for our beliefs?
Do we have that peace of knowing why we believe what we believe? Many of us are the creation of others. Many of us are moving every which way the crowd does. As we live in a divided America, we’ve got so many people standing up and fighting against each other or, on the flip side, completely jaded and careless, allowing every wave and wind to move them. In reality, neither type of person has any clue what they’re talking about, what they believe, and why. They’re acting on emotion. They’re following and rallying rather than investigating.