|I was reading this fascinating article by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (pictured left) and thinking how my 79-year-old father is a perfect example of how an atheist can also be a committed churchgoer and Jesus-lover.
Dad was brought up in the 1930s by christian parents in the back streets of Birmingham. His family were poor but with help from the church to pay the fees, Dad somehow got to and through university.
He turned out to be an internationally-respected scientific researcher of plant virus diseases with a 40-year career built on logic, reason and scientific method. Now living alone and badly disabled, he finds great comfort in going to church which he uses as a Sunday social club and supportive community. He admires Jesus as a radical, brave and independent thinker; a socialist and reformer trying to do compassionate things for the common good during difficult times in an occupied territory.
I suspect Dad wouldn’t call himself an atheist, but talk to him about invisible sky gods and miracles and he dismisses it all as ‘nonsense’ and ‘mumbo jumbo’. So does his churchgoing make him a hypocrite? I don’t think so. I think it makes him a pragmatist.