2/19/15 Ala about 23
We just finished a wonderful hour-long coffee shop conversation with Ala (English spelling), an engineering student from Syria whose family fled to Turkey during the recent civil war. Ala said he is “90% Muslim” but has had many questions recently and wonders about other religions. We talked about the difference between being “culturally” Muslim because of his upbringing, and choosing to be spiritually Muslim as a religion. He agreed that he and many of his friends and family were only Muslim as a matter of culture, and I explained that the same thing happens in our churches – many who call themselves “Christian” in this country are really only culturally Christian and really aren’t sure what they believe. This was very helpful later on in our conversation as he confronted many of the inconsistencies one would see in American “churchianity”. Ala was truly one of the more sincere seekers I have met, and though he’s had little exposure to Christianity he had quite a list of insightful questions for me, like “Why wouldn’t a good person who is nonetheless an unbeliever go to heaven?” “What is the Trinity?” “Why wouldn’t someone just keep on sinning if they are forgiven?” “Does God need us?” “What was God’s purpose for creation?” “Why do you believe Jesus is the Son of God” “Is it okay to test God?” and – this question really stood out to me – “As someone who has barely heard anything about Jesus, why should I believe in him when some of the people I talk to have heard about him all their lives but have turned to atheism?” These questions were not just brought up as part of our conversation but were asked independently, like they are part of a list Ala has formed in his thinking. David and I ended our conversation with Ala by praying for him – which he welcomed – that God would bless his search for truth and give him the answers to his sincere questions. He has my church and contact info as well – please pray for him, God is clearly at work in his life!