Ashton & The Atheist


Ashton and The Atheist

by sci_geeek

 Sixteen-year-old Ashton leaned over her sleeping brother Robert, who was five years younger than her. She peered out the airplane window. Tiny-looking forests and dollhouse-like residences were swept underneath them as the airplane flew over California on its way to Michigan. Ashton and her family were headed there for a two-week vacation at her friends’ very own lighthouse by the Great Lakes.

Ashton settled back into her seat and held her hands against her ears. “Ugh, my ears are popping,” she complained under her breath.

“You want some gum?” offered the young woman seated next to her. “My friend says it helps.”

Ashton glanced up in surprise. “Well, thank you,” she stammered, eyeing the tropical-flavored chewing gum. “But I have braces. Thanks again, though.”

“No problem.” The young woman smiled at Ashton. “What are you going to do in Michigan? I’m Gloria, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Gloria. I’m Ashton,” the teenager said in her quiet voice. “I’m visiting my friend in Michigan. Her family owns a lighthouse there.”

“How interesting,” responded Gloria.

Ashton was unsure whether or not to continue the conversation. “What…are you going to do there?”

“Oh, I’m going to college,” Gloria replied, nodding. “It’s going to be my sophomore year.”

“Nice…” Ashton paused. “What are you studying?”


“You believe in God?” Ashton asked in surprise.

Gloria glanced at Ashton and studied her face. “No, actually. I don’t,” she said after a moment. “I’m an atheist.”

Chills ran down Ashton’s spine. She couldn’t believe she’d gotten herself into that situation. Sure, she knew plenty of atheists. But there was something different this time. This time she felt an unignorable urge to tell Gloria about God. But how? Why?

Well, it was now or never.

God, help me. Let Your words be my words.

Ashton opened her mouth to speak. “Why don’t you?” she asked quickly.

Gloria sighed. “Well,” she began, “I didn’t want to believe in an angry God, to begin with.

“I didn’t want to believe in a God who only helps those who help themselves. I didn’t want to believe in a God who is all about rules, all about controlling us. I didn’t want to believe in a God who only cares about his own wellbeing. I didn’t want to believe in a God who condemns us. So I decided I didn’t believe in him.”

Ashton stared in shock. “So…are you studying theology to prove that wrong?”

Gloria smiled. “That’s more or less correct.”

Ashton slumped forward against her knees and looked away as tears sprung into her eyes. She was so confused. What did God want her to do? She gazed at Robert. He looked so peaceful. Ashton wanted to curl up and fall asleep just like he had done.

God, please help me.

Ashton turned back to Gloria. “Is it all right if I tell you what I believe?” she asked.

Gloria’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “I suppose it’s all right.”

Ashton took a deep breath and observed the creases on her hands. “I do believe God gets angry. But it’s indignant, righteous anger — towards sin, not us — because sin robbed our freedom. I don’t believe God is all about rules, though. Satan is. The rules God has given us are not to save us. If it were that way, we’d be automatically lost. The only way to be saved is through Him. Then we want to follow those rules. I don’t believe He only cares about his own wellbeing, either. He cares more about ours. The reason I know that is because He sent His only Son to us. So that we could live with Him one day. ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’[John 3: 17 NIV].”

Ashton looked away again as tears ran down her face.

“Ashton, Ashton,” Gloria cooed. “Ashton, look at me.”

Ashton obeyed.

“Ashton, I’m not actually an atheist,” Gloria said.

“What?” Ashton’s bloodshot eyes opened wide.

“No, I’m not.”

“You lied to me, then!” Ashton answered tearfully.

“No, Ashton, I didn’t.” Gloria hesitated. “Ashton, think of it this way. Suppose you are back on land. You sit completely still on a chair. Are you moving?”

“Umm, no. I’m sitting completely still, aren’t I?”

“Well, see, Ashton, it depends,” Gloria explained. “Relative to the earth, you’re not moving. You’re completely still. But suppose someone on Mars was observing you. Mars and Earth move at different speeds. Since you’re on Earth, you’re technically moving with it. So, relative to Mars, you are moving.”

“I think I’ve heard of that before. In science class some years ago.” Ashton stopped to think. “It all depends on the reference point, right?”

“Exactly.” Gloria nodded. “Now, listen. Suppose you believe in a God who condemns us and can’t wait for us to mess up.”


“Now, that is your God. That’s the God you believe in. But suppose I believe in a God Who is love. Since in your perspective not believing in your God is atheism, I’m an atheist. In my world I’m a believer, but because I don’t believe in a God who condemns, if my beliefs were applied to your world, it would technically be atheism.”

Ashton furrowed her brow. “But you said you were studying theology to prove God wrong,” she noted.

“I’m studying theology so that someday I can be a pastor and teach people that God isn’t a God who is angry at them. In other words, I’m studying it to prove that this Zeus-like God is not the God in the Bible.”

Ashton gaped. It all made so much sense now.

“So basically,” Ashton reasoned aloud, “because you believe in the same God I believe in, you’re a believer, in my world. Wait a minute.”


“But you said you were an atheist. In other words, we don’t have the same ideas about God.”

A confused expression covered Gloria’s face, but it quickly washed away. “Oh, when you asked if I believed in God? Oh, sorry, I said that because by the tone of your voice, I assumed you didn’t have a very nice picture of Him. I shouldn’t have assumed.”

Ashton laughed. “I’m sorry! I was just surprised.”

Gloria studied Ashton’s face. “Ashton, thank you.”

“For what?”

“For reminding me that some people still believe in the One True God.”

Ashton’s heart warmed. “Thank you. Thank God.”

Ashton glanced quietly at Robert. She’d have quite the story to tell him and her friend when they arrived at Michigan.

the end

Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed this short story. Sorry, there are no additional chapters or parts or anything like that.
The One True GOD loves you all SO MUCH. He is FOR you not AGAINST you. Never forget that.
My favorite Bible verse is John 3: 17, btw. I realized that just
— sci_geeek
P.S. I’ll be posting more for Highway Hero and will not forget to start uploading Rivals & Runaways once it’s done. Stay tuned!


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Ashton & The Atheist

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