3/19/12 Sachin, Chanakya early 20's
I stopped in the IIT campus after work to meet Anand, a graduate student from India who attends our church. He took a break from his research to dedicate an hour or so with me to reach out to some students with the gospel. We met Sachin and Chanakya, two students also from India who were out in front of the student center for a smoke. Although Chanakya is from a Catholic family and Sachin is from a Hindu family, they have both reached the conclusion that truths about life after death are unknowable while we are alive and therefore not worth worrying about. However, just in case, they try to be good (on their own terms) and they feel it is safe to assume that if they are to be judged by God, they would be found to be good people and worthy of heaven They seemed to be turned off to the idea of organized religion by association with the 9/11 terrorists and other unreasonable fanatics, including Christian ministries they've seen on TV. It was tempting to get defensive by their criticisms at times, but our active listening and reasonable responses to their doubts and complaints about religion helped assure them that we were safe to talk to and would honestly try to answer their questions. Chanakya did most of the talking, but when he had to leave early Sachin took over with many more questions. He had a certain smug self-righteousness that regarded social justice issues in this present life as being far more important than our eternal fate in the life to come, portraying himself as being of better moral character than those who are intentionally religious. He even declared he would judge God for allowing evil in the world. He also asked why we Christians always want to change others to our beliefs and way of life. I ackowledged that cultural imperialism often gets mixed in to Christian witnessing, but helped him to understand my position as a believer by comparing it to someone who has the cure for cancer. "Who would I be if I had the cure - or even if I sincerely thought I had it but didn't - but didn't share it with anyone?" Jesus is the cure for the cancer of sin in our lives, and people need to hear the bad news that they have the sickness before they will receive the good news that there is a cure. I believe the conversation did much to help Sachin and Chanakya understand the biblical view of their standing before God and need for a Savior.