The Common Good

Atheist Or Believer? Frank Schaeffer Is A Bit Of Both

Date: June 12, 2014

(RNS) According to the title of his new book, Frank Schaeffer is an atheist.
But he prays every day. And he goes to church every weekend. Catch him on the right day and he’ll admit he believes in God.
Schaeffer, 62, is comfortable with the confusion. Formerly evangelical royalty — he and his preacher-theologian father,Francis Schaeffer, helped found the religious right — he eschews easy definitions and embraces belief anddoubt, certainty and uncertainty, life and all its messiness….

Fuzzy declarations like that give many atheists the heebie-jeebies. Not Schaeffer. While he sometimes writes lines that could have spilled from the pen of arch-atheist Richard Dawkins — he calls the Bible “disgustingly misogynistic” — on other pages he seems to borrow an idea from liberal Christians like Jim Wallis.
“I also believe that the spiritual reality hovering over, in and through me calls me to love, trust and hear the voice of my Creator,” he writes. “It seems to me that there is an off-stage and an onstage quality to my existence. I live onstage, but I sense another crew working off stage. Sometimes I hear their voices singing in a way that’s as eerily beautiful as the off-stage chorus in an opera.”