THE best way to get to understand a person is to walk a mile in their shoes — or perhaps to exchange their religious beliefs for a whole month. That’s the premise behind the Faith Swap experiment organized by Premier Christian Radio, which follows the journey of committed Christian Bentley Browning and his atheist friend Simon Capes who are exchanged their religious daily commitments for one month.
Browning stopped praying and going to church, while Capes attended church and participated in the “rituals of Christianity,” reports Christianity Today Australia.
“I’ve got nothing to lose,” said Capes. “Bentley’s taking a bigger leap than me because he’s negating something in which he believes, but we both have a lot to gain from this.”
Browning found it a serious challenge to let go of his daily Christian practices, which ground him and provide comfort.
During the experiment, both men have been updating Facebook page ‘Faith Swap’ with details of their experiences. Though as an atheist he has free reign to do as he wishes, Browning has found letting go of his daily Christian practices a challenge. “The prayer thing is very difficult to get out of because it’s habitual,” he notes.
“The self imposed restriction is beginning to feel like a tight costume,” he wrote on 21 January.
“I’ll tell you how easy it is not to pray when you see a small child dragged from rubble in Syria…Impossible,” was yesterday’s contribution.
Capes has been sharing his experience of going to church for the first time in years. After a traditional Choral Matins service at Bath Abbey, he wrote: “I didn’t feel as alienated as I thought I would. I just followed the lead of the person next to me. As an atheist I thought that I wouldn’t find a lot to agree with in the sermon and the prayers, but it was surprisingly relevant.”