10/2/10 Fred, Josh both about 20
At a Burger King I found two younger African-American guys at a booth and they agreed to answer some of my questions. Fred has no church background and has left home at age 13, living with various friends but basically taking care of himself. He had some interesting theories about religion, believing in reincarnation and feeling like he had some spiritual authority due to a series of dreams he had from age 5 to 10. "Even my psychiatrist believed these dreams were coming from someone other than me, possibly from a past life" he said. After hearing about this for some time his friend Josh identified himself as a Christian and spoke to Fred, telling him he "you need to accept Jesus as your personal savior" in order to be saved. They had never talked about this before. What Josh said, while true, sounded like very shallow and untested religious clichés, so I put him to the test, asking him some tough questions that might help both of them think things through a bit. "Why did Jesus have to die on a cross?" "What about people that never hear about Jesus?" "Do you think hell is a reasonable punishment?" Josh had to go to work but Fred and I continued talking. At first Fred believed everyone will eventually go to heaven, but became convinced we will be held accountable for our sins and deserve God's righteous wrath. Only then could he also begin to understand God's magnificent act of love at the cross of Christ.