I've Never Met an Atheist or a Religious Believer

by Frank Schaeffer Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author. His books include Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway. Frank is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed novelist of 4 novels including Portofino who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as "pretty terrible." Frank's nonfiction includes "Keeping Faith-A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps" and AWOL-The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country." Of Frank's writing Jeff Sharlet (The New Statesman October 25, 2007 ) writes, "'Crazy For God' is a brilliant book, a portrait of fundamentalism painted in broad strokes with streaks of nuance, the twinned coming-of-age story of Frank and the Christian right." Jane Smiley (The Nation October 15, 2007) writes: "'Crazy For God' offers considerable insight into several issues that have bedeviled American life in the past thirty years, and... when taken in conjunction with [Frank Schaeffer's] other works (notably the Calvin Becker Trilogy, ['Portofino,' 'Zermatt' and 'Saving Grandma']), it gives us not only a handle on the mess we are in but also quite a few laughs..." Frank's three semi-biographical novels about growing up in a fundamentalist mission: "Portofino," "Zermatt," "Saving Grandma" have been translated into 9 languages. "BABY JACK," a novel about the class division between who serves and who does not, was published in 2006. USA TODAY said, "The reader marvels at how Schaeffer makes this concise chorus of social conviction moving and memorable..." Frank can be contacted at frankschaeffer.com 09.07.2014

This is an Excerpt from my new book Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God

Which "me" should be running the show? We're all in the closet, so to speak. We barely come out to ourselves and never completely to others. I've never met an unequivocal atheist or religious believer. I've only met people of two, three or four or more minds--people just like me. Atheists sometimes pray and eloquent preachers secretly harbor doubts. The evangelist Billy Graham preached certain salvation and heaven guaranteed yet privately told my dad, a friend and fellow evangelist, that he feared death and had many doubts.

We're all of at least two minds. We play a role and define that role as "me" because labels and membership in a tribe make the world feel a little safer. When I was raising my children, I pretended to be grown-up Daddy. But alone with my thoughts, I was still just me. I'm older now, and some younger people may think I know something. I do! I know how much I can never know.

Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Christian, you are that because of where and when you were born. If you are an atheist, you are that because of a book or two you read, or who your parents were and the century in which you were born. Don't delude yourself: there are no good reasons for anything, just circumstances.

Don't delude yourself: you may describe yourself to others by claiming a label of atheist, Jew, evangelical, gay or straight but you know that you are really lots more complicated than that, a gene-driven primate and something more. Want to be sure you have THE TRUTH about yourself and want to be consistent to that truth? Then prepare to go mad. Or prepare to turn off your brain and cling to some form or other of fundamentalism, be that religious or secular.

You will always be more than one person. You will always embody contradiction. You--like some sort of quantum mechanicals physics experiment--will always be in two places at once.

Frank Schaeffer's new book. Please click the Amazon adverticement below to proceed to it:


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