2/5/11 Nick and Carrie, both about 25
At a McDonalds at a large central table with tall barstool type chairs I stood talking comfortably at eye level with a young man named Nick, while his girlfriend Carrie was on her phone. He grew up in the UK and later moved to Djibouti. He really didn't know much about religion except for some Muslim friends growing up and some visits to church here in Chicago. Near the start of our conversation he asked if I was trying to convert him to Christianity, a question surprisingly few people ever ask me. I said, yes, that would be cool, but I would also be happy to just have a sincere conversation about our beliefs. I say this honestly, because I know that the Holy Spirit can use any truth that might be shared in a conversation as a seed that may sprout to eternal life. Nick warned me that I wouldn't like what he has to say about Christianity, and I reassured him that I welcome any questions or criticisms because they help me to seek the truth even further. His basic criticism of Christianity as he has experienced it is that it offers "cheap forgiveness". He feels Christians are just fooling themselves if they think they can be forgiven just by confessing their sins. He likes Islam and Judaism better because they take sin more seriously and live more pious lives (yet he doesn't follow these religions either) I agreed with him that sin is an offense against a holy God and should never be taken lightly, but I took it a step further - there is in fact nothing we can do to be forgiven no matter how hard we work for forgiveness. His girlfriend Carrie was now just quietly listening in as we talked. I explained their need for the perfect sacrifice - Jesus - to take the penalty of their sin but Nick proudly said that he would allow no one to take responsibility for his sin but himself. He refused any further literature I offered him, saying he was too busy with his work and studies to read it. Another man came up to me with some questions, having overheard our conversation, so Nick and I pretty much had to leave it at that, both appreciating the conversation but agreeing to disagree.