An old man walked into my barbershop the other day. He sat down and started to talk to the guy cutting his hair and he offered up a bit of personal information, namely that he was an atheist. My coworker is a believer as well so he started in on the guy. He shared the gospel with him and tried a few apologetic arguments. I just kept on cutting my client and listening in on their conversation.
The older gentleman stated several times that he envied my coworker’s faith and wish he could believe, but he’s seen too many atrocities (he’s a Vietnam vet) to believe that God exists. He kept saying that if God is real then he should fix the world’s problems. I chimed in and told him to be patient. Everything he’s asking for will happen, just not right now. He repeatedly said that if he was God he’d do things differently and fix all the world’s ills.
I chimed in again and told him that it didn’t sound so much like he didn’t believe in God, but rather that he did believe and was just angry at him. I thought about Doug Wilson’s two tenets of atheism: 1) There is no God; 2) I hate him. Throughout the course of the haircut the guy never got belligerent with us; he didn’t exhibit anger toward us; and yet his hostility toward God was palpable.
When he was done with the cut he got up, paid for the service, had a couple of cookies, and said goodbye. I left him with this food for thought; I said, “You keep talking about what’s wrong with the world and how God should fix it if he’s real. You keep appealing to these things as if we should somehow know why they’re wrong and instinctively agree with you. And we do, but only because there is a standard outside of ourselves that we can appeal to to know what’s right and wrong. I want you to ponder what that standard is and why you keep appealing to it.”
This guy will definitely be back and when he is I can’t wait to have a deeper conversation with him.