My Best Friend is An Atheist


I’ve known my best friend for more than ten years. We’ve worked together, gone on vacations together, and spend nearly every weekend we can together. We like the same movies and music, and television shows and books.


There is one big difference, though: My friend is an atheist.


While we don’t sit around and talk about religion, faith and beliefs all the time, it does come up. Thankfully, we both listen to each other respectfully—if we didn’t, we wouldn’t last long as best friends.


I do know, however, that sometimes I will get questions from her that I don’t have the answers to—questions such as how God could allow evil in the world, for instance.


Our differences in a very real way help me to examine my faith more deeply. When she asks me questions I don’t have the answers to it makes me think about why I believe what I do that much more.


I hope in some way my faith makes a positive impact on her as well. I pray for her like I do for all my friends, atheist, Jewish, Catholic and other religions. Is my friendship with her different than my friendship with, say, my spiritual Catholic friend? Absolutely, but different doesn’t mean bad or lesser.    


Henri Nouwen wrote in “Out of Solitude,” “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”


How do you feel about having friends with different beliefs? Do you find it difficult at times? 


10 thoughts on “My Best Friend is An Atheist”

  1. I am an atheist living in the bible belt so the overwhelming majority of my friends are religious. Depending on the situation it can be incredibly difficult to be in that position, especially when I hear things I strongly disagree with, but at the same I appreciate the challenge. Having friends who disagree with me forces me to think about my views (too bad my conclusions are usually too offensive to share haha).

    But at the end of the day, no matter how much we disagree with one another, I think we should realize we are all conditioned to believe what we believe. People are complicated and there is a lot to them. I believe finding friendships with people different than you is a good character trait. The world needs a stronger sense of humanity.

    I say agree to disagree. To each is own. Hopefully one day we can work all this out


  2. It’s a scary thought to think about a world filled with others that think just like me. Having an opposing view allows for innovation and strengthening of views.

    The hard part is finding others that are strong enough in their own views to allow for open and honest conversations.


  3. I too have several friends (perhaps the majority) who are either atheist or agnostic. Some seem amused or bemused by my faith. Some can be patronizing. But I don’t go out of the way to hide my catholicism. When we get into discussions about such things as assisted suicide for example, it can get quit interesting.


  4. Ron, I’ve found that avoiding certain topics is best. Whether it’s politics, religion, abortion… when people are on opposite sides of the spectrum of such passionate issues, things are bound to get heated.
    Agreeing to disagree and moving on to another topic works wonderfully in preserving the peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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