Saturday, October 06, 2007

Atheists Taking Notes

This summer during bring-out-the-tables-and-grab-more-members drive at the local colleges, I wandered through the labyrinth of chaos: banks luring students, clubs attracting members, and fast food restaurants claiming the dream job. And then as I turned my head to fight off the beating sun, my eye caught the following:

THE BLASPHEMY CHALLENGE

“Matthew 12:31 states that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is unforgivable.
Speak into this video and verbally denounce the Spirit: secure your place in hell!”

If there was ever a time to preach Christ, this was it! Casually approaching the bench, I prayed a quick prayer to the Spirit, and innocently asked the black-clad individual behind the table why he used this verse.

He stared at me for a few seconds. “We are using this verse to show the absurdity of Christians who take the Bible literally.”

Wanting to avoid a quibble over details—to reach deeper issues—I responded, “Not all Christians have such a na├»ve approach to the Bible. I could point out the larger context or other Bible verses, but you do not take the Bible as your standard of reality anyway.”

I paused and plunged onward: “The bigger question is: What do you believe? Where are you coming from?”

“I’m an atheist and I’m an empiricist,” he cautiously replied.

“Interesting, so truth is only that which is verified by the senses…how do you find justice or love in a test tube?” I asked.

Thus the debate began—or rather, the one-sided critique of empiricism. Trying to “answer a fool according to his folly,” I focused on the hopelessness and philosophical suicide incipient in atheism. Near the end of the conversation, I pointed out how he shuffled between pragmatism and empiricism in finding truth-claims. The internal contradiction was becoming clear to the atheist. Before saying a word, he reached down to grab a notepad and pen.

With a level of comfortable rapport already established, my curiosity piqued: “Excuse me, what are you doing?”

Scribbling on the notepad, he looked up at me with mild surprise, "Oh, you were pointing out some inconsistencies in my thinking: I'm taking notes."

soli deo gloria!

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