This episode can be broken down into a few different areas of encounter. They are: the atheist woman (AW), the Christian Wife, the Christian Husband, the members of the bible study group, the atheist members they visited in the coffee house, the atheist woman’s Husband and the respective children of the two couples. Sprinkled through this are bits of information from Christian, governmental, and experts in the scientific field.
Coming into this encounter, each person or group has their own expectations, hopes preconceived ideas and realized realities of this encounter. Of the groups I would say that the atheist members of this episode we the ones who had the best or most realistic expectation of that they were going to encounter. The Christians were the ones who encountered the greatest challenge to their way of thinking.
There was a difference of intent in the groups and I feel it should be pointed out. The objective and hope of the Christian couple and the bible study group was clearly to convert the woman to Christianity. Many of them came with idealistic hopes of sympathetically showing this woman the errors of her ways. What they found to their confounded surprise was an intelligent, thoughtful, articulate woman. They were further confounded to find that she had been raised a Christian, but after she left home, she had rejected it – not because of rebellious reasons but after some sole searching events had decided that God did not exist. The atheist woman knew that one of the hardest things she is going to encounter was to be understood by the couple. Of the two groups I believe that the atheist woman had the clearer understanding and the harder job of being someone who tries to make herself understood to a group of people who had dismissed her point of view without ever considering what they were dismissing.
Being a Christian, I find the hardest people to deal with are self-righteous Christians who don’t actually have a faith of their own, but have the faith of their fathers and they have accepted it precisely because their parents told them to and never truly investigated the realities of their faith to make it their own. They slapped a layer of clear coat varnish on top of their parent’s beliefs and said, “That’s good enough for me!” left it there and never looked at it again. I did examine my beliefs and that examination forced me to reject the church of my upbringing and join another. My relatives have never asked why I have done what I have done. I am simply wrong and they never bring up the subject. I agree that every person, from atheist to Christian should see this program. At the very least, I would hope that everyone would come away with a renewed determination that to really love or care about your neighbor, you must understand them and not assume that you do.