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.
Cape seemed to enjoy the process of learning about Christianity, writing on January 29, "This evening he started with a little reflective time, then gave a short sermon on prayer and how God is with us nearer than hands and feet, a phrase I loved. Bob the led us through some prayers, then read us a passage from Corinthians 1:13. I found that I could really relate to Bob's service as it was all about love, an unselfish caring love."
Browning finished the experiment on Thursday, while Cape will call it quits on Sunday.
Cape wrote on January 28, "I've been exploring Christianity now for nearly a month. I've met some lovely people and witnessed some very supportive communities, I've even had some of my preconceptions and predjudices blown away. But, and yes there is a but, I haven't found Jesus or God, yet."
They didn't expect to dramatically change their views, but simply hoped that the exercise would allow them to better understand the other's viewpoint.
And that sense, it's certainly been a great success.