Friday, October 16, 2009

Convicted by an Atheist

I saw this video (the embedding feature is disabled so click on the link) about a year or so ago on YouTube and thought it was convicting. Recently, we were talking about it in small group and I've seen it mentioned on some blogs I read so, I thought I would post it. Watch the video and read this quote and see if it doesn't make you think. This quote is from Kevin Harney's book Organic Outreach for Ordinary People.

If we believe there is a real heaven and a real hell, we should be moved to evangelize and to reach out in the name of Jesus. If we love people, our hearts should propel us. I heard one of the most convincing arguments for this from an atheist. His name is Penn, the well-known illusionist in the duo Penn and Teller. On his video blog, Penn tells about a man who came to him after a show and gave him a Bible and tried to proselytize him. Here is a portion of his response to that encounter [the rest is Penn telling the story]:

He said, “I’m a businessman. I’m sane; I’m not crazy.” And he looked me right in the eye and did all this. And it was really wonderful. I believe he knew that I was an atheist.

But he was not defensive and he looked me right in the eyes and he was truly complimentary. It did not seem like empty flattery. He was really kind, and nice, and sane, and looked me in the eyes and talked to me. Then he gave me this Bible.

I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward–and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself–how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.


I'm not going to lie to you, I struggle in this area. Partly because my classmates and co-workers are all believers; the current "Christian bubble" I live in forces me to be much more intentional...I rarely am. Pray for me!

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