Christian, Atheist Display Complicated Friendship in New Documentary

David Smalley, John Christy
In the documentary 'My Week in Atheism,' Christian John Christy (right) and atheist David Smalley (left) travel together to secular conventions, university campuses and a live talk show. (AMANOLA, LLC)

A new documentary film titled My Week in Atheism is about a friendship caught between the two opposing worldviews of atheism and Christianity.

The movie remains neutral, enabling the viewer to watch as director John Christy, a devout Christian filmmaker and student of religion, joins David Smalley, an atheist activist and radio host, as they travel together to secular conventions, university campuses and a live talk show. 

My Week in Atheism follows many theological and philosophical conversations relevant to modern culture as the two struggle to maintain a close friendship while protecting their worldviews and activism.

In addition to exchanges with Smalley, Christy has exploratory discussions with other prominent atheists along the way, including David Silverman, J.T. Eberhard, David Fitzgerald, Matt Dillahunty, Aron Ra and Dr. Anthony Pinn.

"The way the world is today, people too often view others with different beliefs as their enemies," Christy says. "But David and I have developed a deep friendship—even though we talk and argue about religious differences all the time." 

"As I’ve gotten to know David more, I appreciate his challenge to my faith," Christy continues. "Rather than digging in my heels to defend myself, I’ve tried to take an honest, intellectual look at what motivates atheism and why I believe what I believe." 

Smalley, who serves as co-producer on the film, agrees.

"John is an amazing guy. He’s a great friend, and he’s a critical thinker. I look at him in awe, because he asks the same questions I did and sees many of the same problems I found, yet he still believes. That challenges me to re-examine my position, and I’m certainly open to doing that," Smalley says.

Even though they have many differences, both men are open to dialogue, and this inevitably leads to discovery.

"My goal with this film is to encourage viewers to examine the foundation of their beliefs, whether Christian, atheist, or undecided," Christy says. "Being pushed to explain my Christian faith has led me to a deeper understanding of the Bible and its applicability to everyday life situations." 

When asked what he hopes to accomplish with this film, Smalley says, "I want people to know that atheists aren’t necessarily anti-Christian. We’re not angry. We’re not hateful. We can talk with our loved ones who have a differing worldview or interpretation and explain ourselves assertively without dividing families or friendships.

"These discussions need to happen, and this film will start many."    

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