3/11/10 Anthony, about 50
I was finishing my grocery shopping late at night and began talking to a well-dressed, African American man in my usual way, using a million dollar bill gospel tract as a conversation starter. When he realized I am a Christian, he boasted "Oh you don't want to talk to me. I'll blow you out of the water with my arguments against Christianity. I'll talk circles around you and make your head spin." Anthony grew up in a Christian home, but when he was older became a Muslim, blaming his rejection of Christianity on the hypocrisy he saw in churches and individual Christians. He claims to be an orthodox Muslim, but is very enamored with the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, a black separatist and founder of the Nation of Islam. Anthony did indeed talk circles around me, not with logical arguments but by interrupting so that I could never explain a point and by hijacking the conversation with long run-on sentences and rabbit-trails that seemed to go nowhere. Anthony has been a Muslim for decades, and a disillusioned and bitter ex-churchgoer for even longer, so he has built up a whole arsenal of arguments and complaints against Christianity. I feel like most people I've talked to I've planted some sort of seed of truth, but I'm not so sure about Anthony.