On Providence and Atheism...
One of my friends at church recently had an opportunity to "stumble" upon an atheist convention. Keep reading to find out what happened, in his own words!:
My family was finishing up lunch at Panera (on Westown Parkway), when a man approached us and asked us a very surprising question, "Excuse me," he said, "Are you here for the IAF meeting?"
"IAF?" we asked.
"Yes, the Iowa Atheist and Freethinkers." he responded.
"No," my brother, the very zealous believer said, "not over here, sir."
And the man continued on, sure that he had just encountered a group of discouraging everyday church goers.
But, being the kind of person who searches for God's hand in everything and takes pleasure in the intricacies of His plans, I knew that this was supposed to be much more than just a casual encounter. Feeling a burden on my heart, after practically being asked to share my faith.
So I prayed with my mother, they left, and I began to build up my courage. But I was strictly going off of my own power, and the reservoir of which dried up rather quickly... this became apparent when I strolled into the back room of the restaurant through one door... and out through the other.
So I scurried to the bathroom and did what every believer does when they realize that their own foolish, frail plans have been foiled and need help- prayed. With the new courage that filled me, I walked into the lions den.
I entered the room and began talking with the first man I could, starting off innocently- with a hint of curiosity, "So I couldn't help but overhear and wonder," I said, "what unites your group?"
We began to talk, at first about the groups unifying qualities, but soon enough about the ridiculous aspects of evolution, and things that seem to lead directly to a creator (thank you Strobel), and how miracles are outside of the realm of science and cannot be simply explained away (This was particularly convicting for him due to the fact that he was not only a former believer, but a pastor!). He attacked me with accusations that creationism isn't science, that I cannot prove without a doubt that God exists (at which I agreed, but he couldn't find a way to disprove His existence either...), and that it is hard to take as a fact that Jesus even lived (I used Josephus as outside evidence, but he considered what Josephus said to be "vague"). Throughout our conversation, other atheists tried to discourage me, but I would always reply with a loving rebuttal.
As time rolled on, more and more atheists filled the tiny room. And soon enough, the meeting began. They introduced the newbies to the group and even asked me to introduce myself. I realized that my time speaking with this group had come to a close. I thanked the man for his time, and even surprised him by finishing the whole conversation with a rather resounding, "I'll be praying for you."