Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lunch with a Christian

I noticed that one or two cynically said that they would like to see the atheist's perspective of our lunch. So here it is:

Had a good lunch today with Ray Comfort. Why do you ask would I consider spending an hour with an evangelical Christian preacher saving souls through open-air preaching? Isn't he the 'enemy'? Previously, we spoke to each other at the pier, and even though we have several major disagreements, we also exchanged some thoughts on what we do agree on. I thought it was a worthwhile venture -- and it was.

Ray generally thinks most atheists are like the ones he debates on national TV. Of course, those atheist debaters pull no punches and let Ray have it -- and sometimes not in a nice, gentle way! I wanted to let him know that most unreligious people and atheists are just like him, you and me -- trying to make a living and stay afloat while seeking their own truth about our natural world.

Ray introduced me to his wife, his CFO, and all the other employees of his 'Living [Waters] Ministries' non-profit center in Bellflower, CA. Even though I introduced myself as "Bruce -- the good atheist" everyone was friendly and even chuckled a bit at the obvious ironic intro (an atheist visiting an all-Jesus-loving, bible-thumping ministry).

Before lunch, Ray showed me his bicycle he rides to work every day. I learned he doesn’t own a car, but borrows his wife's car when he needs to. He doesn't like faith healers (a common opinion with me) and doesn't like the Catholic church's spending policies. In a short recorded interview after lunch, he said he doesn't consider himself 'religious' -- meaning he is trying to save souls through his ministry and doesn't belong to any [particular] Christian denomination. His ministry is a 501C3 non-profit group and his income is listed for the public to see. He owns the same $195,000 house that he purchased 19 [13] years ago. He flys coach everywhere he goes, and doesn't ask for any fee for speaking -- only if the congregation takes a collection does he get paid. He does ask for 1000 in attendance due to some previously low-attended seminars he went to somewhere in Idaho, far from any airport or major city.

Even though we are worlds apart theoletically, Ray impressed me with many humorous and sometimes corny jokes and gags around his office, was genuinely friendly, humble and honest. I hope he learned from our lunch that all atheists are not like the one's on TV. I learned that all preachers on TV are not like the one's -- well, on TV!

This blog entry proves that some ideas can be agreed upon -- even with the widest separation of ideologies. Maybe it could be a lesson for other extreme thinkers.