Tyler, TX. The Tyler St. Paul Street Evangelization Team went out to a local park that was hosting a fun day for children with a craft bazaar as well. If you do not live in the south you may find this quite strange, but once a year the city of Tyler has a “snow day in the park” for children. Yes, it is fake snow, with a sled hill and an area to have snow ball fights! With those of us here in Tyler, we may have 1-2 days a year at most with snow so this event is a big hit! The weather was beautiful and 73 degrees but the children and families came out en masse! We had large numbers of people stop by, and we gave them rosaries and as often as possible various education pamphlets. Pictured here is Pete with some children getting rosaries.
During this time in the park, a young woman named Leah stopped by. She is agnostic, though she grew up Southern Baptist. She says that despite her family regularly attending services and her even going to South America for mission trips, in college she became an agnostic. She says that she left the church and all religion because she hated “all of the fire and brimstone” talk. She said that her family also held Calvinistic views, including “double predestination,” and she rejected this idea. She says that she is uncertain about God but believes that, if He exists, He must be benevolent and, if that is the case, the idea of God predestining her or someone else to hell regardless of anything that they did was unreasonable. Plus, she could not imagine God wanting His people to always be shouting about judgment and telling people they were going to hell.
We first discussed the existence of God. Evangelist Allison, who is a medical physician, discussed how throughout her time in medical education, the complexities of the human body only strengthened her belief in God. The intricacies of cellular biology, embryology and physiology were such that the idea of this all developing by chance were improbable. … Everything in creation, including the human body, reveals to us that there is order and design, which leads to the recognition of a Creator – a Supreme Being, God.
We also discussed the afterlife. Leah said that she felt that we were made up of some type of “energy” that would continue to exist after this life but she did not know if the energy maybe transformed into something else. … We discussed that this energy she is speaking of is what we call the soul. The soul is the life principle of the body. The body without the soul is dead. Each individual soul is created by God and at the moment of conception is infused into each human body. The soul is spiritual not material and as such cannot be destroyed – it is immortal.
Finally, we emphasized to Leah that as Catholics, we understand as she does that God IS benevolent. He is love itself. And in this love, God does not predestine a person to hell, as that is unloving and contrary to who God is. Hell is a reality, but in sharing the faith, God wants us to know His love. Allison, together with evangelist Pete emphasized to her that in God’s love, He wants her to come to know Him. He wants her to know Him in creation as well as in reason. But God also realizes that these sources of knowledge are limited so, because of love, God has also revealed Himself to us in others ways – most fully in Jesus Christ, who is God become man, but also in the Bible. We encouraged Leah to pray asking God to continue to give her the grace to know Him more, … to read the Bible seeing it as a source of God’s love revealed to us in the written form, and to learn more about Jesus Christ and … the Catholic Church – the one true Church that Jesus Christ established to help the world know God’s truth, and especially His love, in its fullness.
Please keep Leah, the many others we met today and all of our Tyler evangelization team in your prayers!