Praying to an invisible man in the sky
“Come on Tommy, we’re going out for a party. Put that thing away in your bottom drawer. I’ll remind you to take it out when your mom visits.”
Tommy looked up from his Bible at his friend Ron, standing in the doorway. “I promised my parents I would take time to read it. You know my dad is a pastor and I grew up in the church. They believe this stuff is true.”
“What do they really know about truth? Truth is whatever you believe is true, right? So if they want to believe it, let them. But you don’t need to, just because they do. You have your own mind don’t you?
“Let me ask you a question.”
Tommy set the Bible down on his desk and looked at Ron. “Okay.”
“Why are you in college?”
“To learn the truth.”
“But if your parents know so much, why not just stay home instead of coming to Iowa State University?”
Tommy shrugged and leaned back in his chair. “Well…I didn’t say they know everything. But they are pretty smart.”
Ron's eyebrows arched. “Smarter than the head of the religious studies department at this very University?”
Tommy laughed. “Okay, maybe not that smart. I mean Professor Avalos must know a lot to be the head of the department.’
“Did you know he is a vocal atheist?”
“No way. This is solid Midwest ground, not California.” Tommy leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees.
Ron leaned against the door frame and crossed his arms. “Seriously. He really is a very vocal atheist, as many of the professors are—here at this University and many Colleges across the country. That’s why you see all of your church buddies ditching that religion stuff. It is a joke, Tom.”
Tommy’s brow creased. “No, I don’t think it’s a joke.”
Ron shook his head and sighed. “Okay, give me one shred of evidence that God does exist and I will leave you alone.”
Tommy thought for a moment, then shrugged. “Well, the Bible says so. That’s good enough for me.”
Ron rolled his eyes. “’The Bible says so and that is good enough for me.’ Sounds like they programmed you pretty good. Who wrote the Bible? Why is it filled with so many contradictions?”
“Well, people wrote the Bible, but God inspired their words. So basically, God wrote it. I just know it’s true in my heart.”
“That foreign exchange student, Mohammad, says the same thing about the Quran. So you’re right and he’s wrong?”
“I wouldn’t say he’s wrong.” Tommy leaned back in his chair and ran a hand through his hair. “I mean, I don’t know. He has his God, I have mine. We’re all okay, I guess.”
“What about me? I don’t claim a God at all anymore. I just believe in one less God than you.”
“That’s funny, Ron.”
“So do you honestly think I am going to hell when I die?”
Tommy laughed. “Okay, okay, maybe I don’t believe all of what the Bible teaches. I’m not that stupid, you know.”
“Come on, man. You just need get rid of that one God like me, and have some fun. The ladies don’t like guys who are members of the fun police. You do want a girlfriend one day, don’t you?”
“You know I do. And this college sure does have some pretty ladies.” Tommy stood. “Maybe you’re right. My pastor and my parents just told me it was true and to believe. They never showed me anything solid, never gave me any evidence. They always said I just needed faith.” He picked up the Bible. “Where did you say I should stash this?”
Ron smiled. “Now you’re talking, dude. Let’s go to that party.”
Christianity is really true, but that truth is based on facts. In our story, Tom did not know the facts, so he walked away. Do you know the facts? Can you defend your faith?
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