At least one Sunday a month we have “Come in, go out”-meetings in my house church, where we firstly gather in my living room for some worship, prayer and Bible study, and then we go out on the streets of Uppsala to hand out coffee and evangelize. Yesterday, we had two remarkable encounters during the outreach phase.
A Kurdish man came, received a cup of coffee and then loudly announced “I don’t believe in religion! Not in Islam, Christianity or anything else!” Thinking that this was an atheist, I started to bring up some apologetic arguments for God’s existence, but they fell flat to the ground. “I do believe in a creator! But not in religion! It is impossible for humans to understand God and to have contact with him!”
Oh, so it’s a deist then, I thought. My friend Tryggve and I then started to question him on how the Creator is able to create an entire universe without being able to cure a disease or talk to those that He has created, but our attempts were unsuccesful as the man repeatedly just stated “It’s impossible! It’s impossible! You don’t understand!” I then started to testify about miracles that I have witnessed and how Jesus revealed Himself to me, but I could hardly finish a sentence before the man shouted “No! Those are just illusions! You don’t understand the truth!”
The man furthermore claimed that we all believe what we believe because of our upbringing, whereas I told him about the amazing church growth in Nepal, where millions have converted to Christianity during the last 30 years mainly due to visions, healings, signs and wonders. Again, his response was that it was impossible. I asked him how he knew that it was impossible, and he claimed that “everybody” knew miracles are impossible. When I pointed out that this was a lie since we Christians know that miracles exist, he again said that miracles are impossible and that God does not reveal Himself to people.
Later during our outreach, a woman came to us. She said that she believe in ghosts, spirits and forefathers, but not in God. “I will never believe in God”, she said. I guess one can describe her as a new age atheist. I tried to use the cosmological argument for God’s existence, asking her from what everything comes from. “The fish!” was her response, which of course perplexed me until I realized that she thought that I had asked her where people come from, and she had been referring to evolution. “But why did the big bang occur? What lies behind the physical world as well as the spiritual?” – “Well, it’s surely not God!” she said.
Our church member Henrik testified how he had been involved in new age previously, and how Jesus not only had been the only one who was able to give Him peace, but also was the most powerful and gracious of all spiritual powers he had ever encountered. “I’m glad Jesus works for you”, she replied, “for me, Jesus is whatever gives us peace, and God is a category of everything that we don’t understand and the life that is to come. But God isn’t a person.”
I asked both the man and the woman what the sources of their religious beliefs were. We charismatic Christians refer to the Bible which in turn is verified by miracles and revelations that God gives to us personally. However, both the deist and the new age atheist didn’t think that an external source was necessary. Both were fundamentalists in that sense – the woman even said that “nothing you say will ever rock my fundament!”
It was obvious that neither of them were interested in logic, or a rational discussion. Which was why we prayed for them, treated them with respect and encouraged them to try to seek God whenever they felt that they current beliefs didn’t work. Of course, both of them immediately rejected the latter proposal, but we pray that they indeed will remember it when such times comes. Apologetics is awesome, but for some it is meaningless. Some just need love and the Holy Spirit to find Christ.