4/15/15 Saul late 20’s
After our early morning Bible study at a Dunkin’ Donuts I had a little time so I reached out to another customer – Saul - enjoying his coffee at another table. To my usual question about what happens after eternity he replied “Well, I’m Jewish so no, I don’t believe we will exist after we die.” “How do you feel about that, do you wish there was more life to look forward to?” I asked. “No, in fact, it makes this life even more important to me” he answered. “Well, I’m sure you are aware that most religions teach that there is another life to come, and that many such as Christianity teach that there will be a day of judgment and we will be held accountable before God. If you died and woke up to find that is true, that you are standing before God to be judged, how would He judge you? “Well, I think he would say I am a very good person” Saul said. “So, maybe one reason you don’t worry much about an afterlife is that if you found out that there is one after all, you believe you would be okay on judgment day?” “Yes, I guess so” This led to a discussion of who is truly “good” before God, using the Ten Commandments as our standard for comparison. Problem was, Saul not only does not believe in an afterlife, he doesn’t even believe in God. He is a secular Jew, by ethnic background, rather than Jewish by religious belief. Distinctions like this have helped me understand the importance of clarifying questions – understanding where people are coming from in their faith before assuming any belief or unbelief. Saul may claim a “faith” – Judaism, but what is his faith in? Hebrews 11 says we at least need a basic belief in God: “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Saul’s brand of Judaism, rather than just rejecting Jesus as their Messiah or Savior, now chooses to believe we don’t need God or a Savior after all.