Just came across this lovely little conversation between Stephen Fry and Bear Grylls. Its a nice little cameo of an atheist and a Christian conversation. Hats off to both of these men for conducting themselves so well. I wish all Christian / Atheist Conversation could take place with this kind of spirit and tone.
5 Things you can learn from this exchange
1. Tone Matters
Very little constructive conversation ever takes place when we start off with aggression. These men obviously respect eachother and so are able to talk with calmness and respect which makes for a more interesting and productive conversation.
Stephen Fry says “I am ashamed of my fellow atheists who are mocking of people who have faith…” well said Mr Fry mockery is not a helpful place to begin a conversation for Christians or for Atheists.
2. Shoulder to Shoulder
I think a lot of dialogue goes better when we can talk shoulder to shoulder rather than face to face. In this clip both men are looking at nature and trying to explain their reaction to it rather than simply confronting each others beliefs. I have found working with atheists (and people of other faiths) to try and solve problems like poverty and injustice can be a great place for a meaningful conversation. Working shoulder to shoulder is a great posture for an adult conversation.
3. Nature is a great apologetic
As Stephen Fry says when confronted by the beauty of the panoramic view in front of him “a vast landscape like this does make you think all the imponderable questions come tumbling into your mind.” Perhaps if we spent more time in nature with our atheist friends there’s more chance of these transcendent experiences prompting deeper conversation.
Stephen Fry is a very bright man and Bear Grylls is a really tough guy. Bear doesn’t try and use some academic sounding argument to show the flaws of atheism and Fry doesn’t belittle Grylls faith. A man of letters and a man of the wilds talk openly and unashamedly of their beliefs – that means there’s no reason why we can’t all do the same.
To me it doesn’t feel that either person is trying to score points over the other. Its an honest exchange. Of course there are challenges to be made in both mens’ arguments but there’s an important time in any conversation where you express what you believe honestly and listen well to what the other person has to say. Too often Christians and Atheists try to out manoeuvre each other – to trap and trick each other in conversation rather than genuinely engage. Here’s a great conversation in action.
Love to hear your thoughts about how we can encourage a better kind of conversation between Christians and Atheists. Drop me a comment below.
Thanks for visiting the site.
PS Here are some books that I think attempt to do the conversation differently:
By a Christian:
The Reasons for God, Belief in an Age of Scepticism, Tim Keller