3/21//10 Alex, Thomas, both about 30
At a Starbucks I began a conversation with a man from France named Alex by asking if he had time for a few questions. He said he didn't, that his wife was on her way to pick him up, and when he found out I am from a nearby church he told me he was an atheist and didn't see how a conversation would be beneficial. Yet we continued to talk and in five minutes I think I might have shared enough about Christianity to catch his interest in reading the additional materials I gave him. Nearby, a well-dressed African-American man had a Quran and a Bible on his table, so I asked if he would tell me about his beliefs. He did, and I heard an array of far-fetched teachings about the beginnings of the Nation of Islam, most of which were very contrary to documented accounts of this Chicago based Muslim sect. Thomas was very opinionated and I could see it would be useless to argue his claims that Jesus is only a prophet and not God's Son, or that the Bible has been corrupted. Instead I focused on God's infinite worth and holiness, which he could not deny. Thomas admitted his own sinfulness but talked as if sins against God are trivial. He thought that an apology and the recitation of a few prayers would satisfy God's demand for justice, so after much discussion I left him with this question - "If justice is to be served, then what sort of punishment do we deserve for offending an infinitely holy God?" Like all people, Muslims need the "felt need" of deliverance from God's righteous anger at their sin before they will begin to look for the Savior.