5/2/13 Ramone 25
One defensive mechanism some people use against the Gospel when I am sharing it on the street is the “filibuster”. To filibuster is to talk at such length as to prevent someone with a different opinion from getting a word in edgewise. That’s what a man named Ramone did last night when I started a conversation with him about his spiritual beliefs. Ramone told me about his atheistic beliefs and with his “gift of gab” he went on and on about the various religious people who have argued for their own beliefs, especially during his philosophy class at Purdue University, which usually turned bitter. He said he can’t stand people who try to force their beliefs on others, and claimed to be happy to just allow others to believe what they want. When I did get a chance to begin to question him about some inconsistencies in his beliefs, he would change the subject before I could put together a logical line of thought. The Gospel is not designed to be shared in sound bites; there are some basic premises one must accept or at least begin to understand before they can understand any more abstract concepts of faith. People like Ramone often complain that the Bible is hard to understand, yet they don’t give the time to try to understand it. I listened as he went on and on for 20 or 30 minutes, displaying a level of knowledge about various religions that showed me it is a subject he simply cannot leave alone. He had some misconceptions about the biblical Gospel, but his filibuster prevented me from correcting them. What could I do? How could I share the Gospel without “pushing my beliefs” on him? One thing I did is to explain my perspective as a Christian who truly believes there is a God whom we have rebelled against, that we are condemned not primarily for “not believing the right thing”, but for breaking God’s basic moral laws. I explained that if I truly believe there is a way to avoid the punishment of hell, then I would be a horrible person for keeping it from others. In the end, I may even find out none of it is true, (I don’t think so!) but if I truly believe what Christians believe, then it is only right that I try to share that knowledge with others. Especially after I had spent so much time patiently listening to Ramone, he really couldn’t argue against this logic. He appreciated my solid Christian faith without the bitter arguing he was used to. I carry a “witnessing backpack” that has a variety of written materials, and he gladly took what I gave him. With his interest in religion despite his atheism, I really believe – and pray – that he will read it. Please pray he does!