7/13/12 Phil and Pat, both about 60
After using a million dollar gospel tract to start a conversation with a couple whom I found hanging out near the beach, we chatted about non-spiritual things for a while. Pat and Phil were in town to show their '68 Corvette at a nearby car show the next day. After 10 minutes or so it was easy to switch back to the conversation about spiritual things simply because that's how it started in the first place, and they expected me to. Phil told me he expects he will go to heaven. How? "Well, you got to be born again" he told me. I've learned that people have different ideas about religious terms like this so I asked what it meant to him. "Well it means you go to church and try to do the best you can, but you can never really know either way" However, neither Pat nor Phil even meet their own standard. They don't attend church or read the Bible. They simply think being a friendly and courteous person will save them. Many people feel this way because they see God in human terms - like a friendly and courteous old man who would never judge people nor punish sin. People love thoughts of God's goodness, but refuse to consider that the fact of His goodness means that He hates sin and demands justice. But refusing to accept any difficult truths about God and making up their own to replace them is only wishful thinking. After I figured out that Pat and Phil had no idea what the biblical phrase "born again" meant, they appreciated a clear explanation of the way of salvation. I usually don't like to hear the confused and unbiblical answers people give when explaining the religious-sounding terms they use, but I'm always glad I asked.