Back in March, when TV host Steve Harvey put out a call for guests who were dating atheists and having trouble in their relationships, I cringed. I knew Harvey had previously said anyone dating an atheist should just end the relationship on the spot because that person has no “moral barometer.”
The episode in question aired yesterday and, judging by the clips online, it was just as disappointing as you’d expect.
Not only did he invite televangelist Paula White to offer advice — hardly an unbiased observer or a relationship expert — he simply laughed off one atheist’s explanation of why he didn’t believe in the Christian God.
HARVEY: … What ain’t you feeling [about God]?
ATHEIST GUEST: I ain’t seein’ no miracles, you know? I ain’t seein’ no water turn to wine. I ain’t been to Heaven. I ain’t been to Hell. I don’t know what it is.
HARVEY: You ain’t been to Heaven and you ain’t been to Hell…
ATHEIST GUEST: I don’t know… who ever been to it? I don’t know nobody who ever been there and come back and tell me “This is real.”
HARVEY: That ain’t how it work! Part of the problem is you wasn’t payin’ attention in Sunday School. See, it’s some basics. See, you don’t know nobody that have been to Heaven or Hell and come back ‘cause it ain’t a round trip. You see? Only one-way tickets… See, you waitin’ on the wrong thing. You’re lookin’ for somebody that have been dead and come back, and you’re waiting on some water to get turned into wine, and somebody to run across a lake. Ain’t none of that fittin’ to happen.
That’s an astonishing amount of confidence coming from someone who believes there is someone who died and came back to life, turned water into wine, and walked on water.
But just to summarize: Harvey’s advice to the atheist guest was that he needed to just believe because the proof wasn’t coming. I know it’s daytime television, but that’s still awful advice. And then to bring in a Christian pastor as if that’s going to make the problem any better?!
If this were actual couples counseling, someone would be committing serious malpractice.
There are ways for religious/non-religious couples to make things work, but the truth is it’s not always possible. It depends how seriously both people take their beliefs, whether they can respect the other person’s views, and if they’re willing to compromise if children are involved.
None of those things were discussed in the clips. I’m guessing they weren’t given much consideration, if any at all, in the full show. It’s exactly the wrong message to be sending in a country where non-religious people are on the rise and “interfaith” relationships are going to become much more common.
(Thanks to Ryan for the link)