They said: “Come to church with us?” – by Stephen TB

They said: “Come to church with us?”
Politely I declined
They said “Come and pray with us?”
Politely I declined
They said “Come sing hymns with us?”
Politely I declined
They said “Believe in God with us?”
Politely I declined
They said “You’re an atheist?”
and that made me start.

Am I, then an “atheist”
because of what I see?
And this is what I see:
a crack, a chasm,
a wide and deep cravass
between worlds we imagine
and the world in which we live
with more factualities
than its possible to count,
and varying in size from
the universe to a sub-
atomic particle.
We know very few of them,
but those we do, like trees and finger nails
and cancer and tea,
we have no doubt about.
Unlike demons and fairies,
angels, boggarts and gods,
they don’t call for faith,
Or hymns or prayers or temples,
or ceremonial sacrifices, dead or alive.

They’re as untouchable as smoke,
as ephermeral as dreams,
and while I know they exist,
I know they exist
only in the mind.

It was never my ambition
to be an atheist.
All I’ve ever wanted
is to be a realist.

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