Sometime early this year on a bus, I sat next to an English man who could have been in his early fifties of age. I offered to pay his bus fare but he strongly declined and advised me to help out a needier person than he and I could not insist anymore. The traffic flow was quiet slow and so instead of letting my mind wander about the nothings of this life, I decided to engage the white man in religious conversations. I asked the man whether he was a Christian and to my amazement, he thoughtlessly said no and told me he was an atheist.
I only read about it in books and heard people talk about it but there I was, face to face with a man who never believed in the existence of God. Deep inside I was wondering how such a seemly dignified man could not believe in the existence of God. I reacted by telling him how interesting it was to me that he chose to believe there is no God. That, the existence of a God is an illusion and he seemed comfortable with my sentiments. Later I asked him why he chose to be an atheist and he told me that all that the Christians talk about was nothing but a bunch of lies that only fools would believe. I then asked him what he thought of miracles and he told me he never believed they were true. So I gave him a personal testimony on how the God he never believed exists healed me of a strange rush on my body and what his take was. He responded indifferently saying it could have happened coincidentally but probably the healing could not be attributed to a God. I then cited many other personal testimonies of the goodness of God and the testimonies of others and he simply still responded with an indifferent attitude.
As our conversation intensified, I asked him what he thought of good and evil. I explained to him that for ‘good’ to be seen as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ as ‘evil’ there must be a standard that should be used to determine good or evil. This logical thought got him thinking for seconds and he then told him he believed the determinant of good or bad is inherent in mankind; it happens naturally. I then asked him about what he knew about the law of CAUSE and EFFECT and he responded affirmatively that he knew something about it. The law of cause and effect simply put says “there is nothing that comes from nothing.” So all the good or evil that mankind can ever do should have a source. It just can’t happen. That provoked his mental faculty to think about his atheistic beliefs; whether they were truth or not. I continued to explain to him that there must be an origin of both good and evil and that God is the standard that determines what is good and evil.
I continued in my endeavour to help the helpless and deceived soul to realize that he was lost and needed to know the truth. I told him about hell and heaven. I gave him a benefit of doubt by agreeing with him that all this idea of the existence of a God, heaven and hell could be a lie but then I appealed to his thoughts by asking him what he could do if he discovered it is all true but too late to believe; burning in the fires of hell. He responded with his consistent indifferent attitude and told me he could do nothing about it.
Well my thoughtful explanation of the Christian faith to the man got him thinking hard. He finally told me he didn’t believe in the bible because the God of the old testament was too cruel to non Jews; he said the old testament God was wrathful and was so strict with the dos and don’ts and never gave man the freedom to live his life. Then he said something interesting, he said he was okay with the God of the New Testament because he depicted love and kindness. That got me interested because there was an atheist acknowledging a god. He assumed the God of the New Testament was different from that of the old testament. I responded by telling him that if I had a choice, I would have preferred to live in the days of the God of the Old testament because he just punished people for their sins physically but the one in the New Testament, promised to throw those that would not believe in him in the eternal fires of hell. I deliberately said this so that he could not use what he said as reason for not believing in God.
I could no longer continue with the discussion because I reached my destination and he was going further. I was so fulfilled that I had such a talk with a person professing atheism and I am hopeful that I planted the good seed of the truth that everyone should know- the existence of God.
I hope this narrative has inspired you to think through you belief about your existence of God; Whether to consolidate it or to join the English man who at that time seemed to be comfortable with being an atheist but later affirmed the existence of the existence of the god of the New Testament.
Psalm 14:1 says; “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’”