An avowed atheist was paired with a megachurch pastor in a charity golfing event. No one knows if it was done as a joke or if it simply just happened to work out like it did. Either way, everyone figured there would be some kind of conflict.
Sure enough, while waiting for the pair in front of them, the confident atheist decided to take the conversation beyond the surface. He began subtly with, “So you’re a preacher,” but quickly launched into his questions. These were very pointed questions, designed to attack God, Jesus and the Bible. Even so, they were hard questions — ones that actually seemed legitimate and well-thought.
The pastor listened, and they moved on to continue golfing. To the atheist it appeared the preacher was avoiding the questions as he launched one after another. After all, the preacher only replied with statements like, “That’s a good question,” and, “I’ve never thought of it like that.”
Frustrated, the atheist began to persist in getting answers to his questions, and wanted them right then and there. The megachurch preacher said something like, “I understand your frustration … but do you mind if we just golf?” The atheist recognized the pastor didn’t want to have a debate, but just wanted to enjoy the moment instead. So, they agreed to just golf.
From then on it was just small talk. The two got to know each other better and both sincerely enjoyed the game and the comradery. As a result of that first charity game, the two began a friendship. They golfed more, hung out more and even got to know each others’ families.
After a few years, the atheist decided to check out his friend’s megachurch. It didn’t take long for him and his family to embrace Christianity as their newfound faith. Not only that, the former atheist actually found himself actively volunteering in the church on a regular basis.
One day the two were hanging out, casually, and a thought popped into the preacher’s head, so he changed the conversation, “Hey, do you remember that first time we met at that charity golf thing?”
“Yes. Yes, I do. How could I forget?” he replied.
The pastor continued, “Did you ever get those questions answered?”
After a slight pause, the former atheist said, “No, I never did.”
Wanting to try to resolve those questions, the pastor continued, “Do you want me to try to help you get those answers?”
The former atheist looked at his friend, thought for a minute and said, “No. No, it doesn’t really matter.”
You see, sometimes people have questions because they really do want to know the answers. Other times they are simply using whatever means they can to avoid dealing with or seeing the reality as it stares them in the face.
If you’re one, reading this weekly Christian column and feel frustrated because it’s from a Christian perspective, consider asking yourself why you chose to read it after you knew it was Christian. If you’re so bothered by Christian things, why not stop reading once you realize what this is? Consider not reading things that bother you. Then again, maybe there’s a reason you persist.
If you legitimately have questions, talk to a true thinker from a local church who might be able to help you find the answers (reference material will be in the field of apologetics). Personally, I enjoy those kinds of challenges. Otherwise, enjoy the moment. There’s no reason to choose to be miserable, bitter, or frustrated.
“I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.” – 1 Corinthians 10:15
Jeff Adams is pastor for Paramount Christian Church. His column appears weekly in the Nisqually Valley News. Email him at email@example.com.