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Godless - From Evangelical Preacher to Atheist by ProQuest


One Saturday morning, a nice sunny day, we went out into a park, and there were these high schoolers standing behind me, watching how to win people to Christ. They were kind of timid. I went up to this guy who was riding his bike across die park, and I said, "Excuse me! I came here from California to talk to you about [Jesus Christ]." He stopped and looked at me, and I said, "Are you a Christian?" And he said, "No, I'm a Catholic." He's spinning the pedal of his bike like, you know, "What is this?" But he didn't leave, so I said, "If you were to die right now, would you go to heaven or would you go to hell?" "I don't know," he said. "I hope I would go to heaven." "Aha!" I said. "Then if you don't know, you don't know! You can know, if you accept Jesus into your heart. Do you want to know if you're going to heaven?"The middle two sections of Godless are "Why I Am An Atheist" - that's the philosophy, and "What's Wrong With Christianity" - bible criticism, the resurrection and that kind of thing, which is useful ammunition against the fundamentalists who believe the bible is literally true. Hardly anybody in the church pews knows anything about the bible. They're surprised when you tell them things, and they'll say, "That's not in the bible! What bible are you reading?" And I say, "What bible are you not reading? Because look at it; it's right there."Just before my book went to press - I don't know if this is a miracle or not - I got a phone call from a former imam, a Muslim, who is now an athe- ist/agnostic. He lives in the United Kingdom and didn't want to give me his name. He said, 'You can just call me Ali." But he told me his story, which I summarize briefly. "It's so nice," he said, "to be talking with you. You're the guy that I was supposed to hate so much. It's so refreshing to just be a human being and take down these walls that divide people. Religion is so divisive." It was almost a tearful phone call.

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