10/28/09 Chris and Britney, about 20
On my way home late at night I stopped by a Dunkin Donuts and asked a young couple if I could get their opinions on an interesting question. "Do you think there's more to life than what we see?" Chris looked at his girlfriend, a big smile on his face. I got the impression that this is just the question he's been waiting for, and I expected him to be an evangelical Christian or something despite the Goth piercings and jewelry they had. He told me he is Catholic and Britney is Lutheran, but he has "a side religion" that he's really into, and began to tell me about it. Then he stopped. "Wait a minute, why are you asking this?" I told him that I'm a Christian and I ask these questions to start conversations, and that I would love to hear about his beliefs and I also hope they would be willing to hear some perspectives on Christianity that they probably haven't heard before. He told me about his beliefs in "Santeria", a Caribbean occult religion with aspects of Catholicism, African and Native American traditional beliefs complete with spirit guides (based on Catholic saints with African names), incantations, a secret holy book available only to those in the upper echelons and, I found out later from Wikipedia, animal sacrifices. He told me he follows Santeria because he gets direct guidance from various spirits about relationships, his career, and with "getting what I want". He has been involved in it for over a year and claims he is now a better, more helpful person. He told me there are good and evil spirits, and it sounded like being involved with them gets very complicated. After 20 minutes or so of asking questions and hearing about his beliefs, I began to ask some questions about eternity and the judgment to come, and in the "mirror" of the Ten Commandments, Chris and Britney began to realize that their sin is not trivial and Hell is not unreasonable. Like a deer caught in the headlights, it seemed like all thoughts of Santeria were gone as Chris tried to justify himself before a holy God. We talked for an hour, and they left with a much better understanding of God's law and salvation in Jesus and the knowledge that they have some very important decisions to make.