4/25/12 Jerome, 24
I stopped at my favorite Burger King on my way home from work, where a young man named Jerome agreed to answer some questions about his beliefs. "What do you think happens next after this life?" was one of my initial questions. "I think we go to a room to be judged. God is supposed to forgive, so I think we all will go to heaven, as long as we repent and ask for forgiveness." "What about those who don't? I asked. "Well I think everyone will - how could they not, standing right there in front of God?" was his answer. Jerome had attended a Baptist church with his family until his early teens when they just sort of stopped going, and he considers himself "saved" even though he doesn't really think he has anything to be saved from. He calls sins "mistakes"and blames them on one's upbringing or on God Himself. Though he hasn't read the Bible for years, he is fluent in church jargon and could sound like a genuine believer, but his beliefs are full of logical inconsistencies and fallacies common to those who haven't thought through their faith and who have drifted away from what the Bible actually teaches. My questions helped Jerome see these contradictions in his own beliefs, which led to a long conversation about biblical Christianity. I often use a gospel tract as a conversation starter when it looks like a person is busy and may not have time to hear a whole Gospel explanation. But when people look like they may have a good amount of time to talk - like Jerome did there at the B.K. - I like to simply ask questions without a Bible tract that identifies me as a Christian. People like Jerome have the ability to tell church people like me what they think we want to hear, so I have noticed that my unidentified background and "random" questions may lead to a more honest answers and a deeper conversation in the long run. Jerome ended up asking me one insightful question after another about biblical Christianity. Let's pray he heard the answers.