7/6/12 Cheryl, about 30
Most of my witnessing efforts this summer have been at a local city park, and it has been wonderful to find that most people I approach have been willing to discuss their beliefs. In contrast, the heat wave brought me indoors today to a supermarket Starbucks cafe area, where everyone I talked to seemed to be local workers on their lunch breaks. I received a few outright rejections, and others gave short answers to my questions, not wanting to get involved in a lengthy conversation. Obviously the difference was not their level of spiritual interest but the amount of time they had to talk. An important key to having deeper conversations with people, whether with strangers or family and friends, is to identify when they have uninterrupted time to talk. We shouldn't just assume they would be offended or disinterested. Despite being on a short lunch break, one of the people in the cafe - I think her name was Cheryl - told me she didn't know what she believes about life after death because she is in the middle of questioning her faith. "My boyfriend is an atheist, and he really has me asking a lot of questions" she said. We talked some about the difference between an atheist (someone who declares there is no God) and an agnostic (someone who declares they don't know one way or another) and I explained why in this case claiming ignorance is actually the more intelligent position of the two. To claim that God does not exist is to also claim that one has absolute knowledge of everything in the universe, a very foolish position to take. I wanted to help Cheryl see that atheism actually requires more faith in what one cannot see than belief in God does, but it was time for her to go back to work. I carry an assortment of tracts and booklets with me, so I gave her Mark Cahill's "One Second After You... Die", which gives much evidence to refute atheism. "This is perfect!" Cheryl said. "My boyfriend has me reading all his books, so its about time I gave him one to read in return!"