The Parable of the Good Athiest
Whilst travelling on the road between Sheffield and Derby a local Christian man, yet to reach the boundaries of his community, was attacked and left for dead having had his iPhone and wallet taken. After a short while a vicar passes by but he hurries along on the other side of the road as he doesn’t want to be late for communion – after all no one else is allowed to do the service. Just as the vicar travels out of sight it so happens that a worship leader comes by but he, too, hurries by on the other side of the road. The worship leader can’t be late for a prayer metting, after all who else will lead the church in prayer for the local community? The next person to come down this stretch of the road is an Atheist who stops to help the man. He puts him in his car and drives him to the nearest medical help. This just so happens to be a couple of years after the NHS bill had been passed and the government were now full swing in their privatisation of the health service. However, the kind atheist leaves his credit card promising to be back in a few days to settle the bill for whatever care is needed.
So what do we take from this modern retelling of the famous parable? How can it be that the Atheist is more Christ like than the Christians? Does it resonate some of the original meaning, the Jews astounded that it would be a Samaritain who did the right thing, who loved his neighbour?
What about the vicar and worship leader? Are we sometimes too busy, caught up in the ritual of Christian life that we miss the opportunities to be Christ-like for someone? Like the test of seminary students in America sent to speak about the good Samaritain and, ironically, ignoring a person in need on their way to do so. The study concluded that if we have somewhere we need to be (even if it is to speak on such matters) we are less likely to stop and help someone in need. Are we sometimes in too much of a hurry to go partake in Christian religious life that we fail to be Christ to those who need us to be? Perhaps being free of this allows the Atheist to spot and help the person in need, rather than the vicar & worship leader?
The worship leader is too busy going off to pray for the local community to stop and help and person from the local community. Do we do the same? Are we sometimes too hooked on our prayer and worship that we fail to be the answer to prayer and Christ for those who need him?
What other questions does this retelling raise? What response do you have?