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breakfast070410A few years ago I had breakfast with an atheist. It turned out to be a most enlightening experience. Although we were meeting for the first time, I immediately came to appreciate his many positive qualities. He was charming, friendly, positive, talkative, and obviously very well-educated. He was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic high school and two excellent Catholic universities. Sometime during his college years, he abandoned not only the Christian faith but his belief in God. He actually converted from Christianity to atheism. He truly believes there is no God. As we talked, he kept emphasizing that only this life has meaning. Since there is no life after death, what we do now becomes vitally important. Heaven for him is just a myth that religious people use to comfort themselves in times of trouble. We had a long talk and I learned a great deal from him. It's always useful to see yourself as others see you.

I came away from our time together with three fundamental observations:

1. How difficult it is to be an atheist.

2. How hard you must work to keep your faith.

3. How careful you must be lest you start believing in God.

Toward the end of our time together, I asked him what he thought about Jesus Christ. He seemed a bit surprised by that question, as if it had no relevance to the question of God's existence. It was my turn to be surprised when he told me that he hadn't thought about Jesus very much one way or the other. He then ventured to say that Jesus was probably a great man and a learned teacher. But he probably never meant to start a religion. That happened after he died and his followers wanted to honor his memory.

Upon hearing that, I decided to press the point. What about his resurrection? What if he really did rise from the dead? My friend stopped for a moment, thought a bit, and then a smile crossed his face. "Well, we'd have a problem then, wouldn't we?" Exactly! If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then He really is the Son of God and God really does exist.

Ray Pritchard, in a sermon preached in September 2009 entitled, "Why I Believe in God."