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What Is Truth?
April 13, 2020
Hank, an atheist, has been greatly infected by the culture of death. He is a lost soul like many on college campuses today. But he's reaching out for something this day to Clarence and Cathy, two St. Paul Street Evangelists from the Atlanta team. There must be a searching deep within his soul, and hopefully, God will win the day. Here's what happens when they meet:
So, Clarence asks Hank, "What is Cathy my fellow evangelist, telling you?" Hank replies, "About how we choose to go to hell."
"Oh," said Clarence. "I don’t want to go there."
"I know right? It doesn’t sound too great," Hank said.
Well, Clarence asked, "How DO you go to heaven? Did she tell you?"
"No," said Hank. "Not yet."
"Well," said Clarence, "she should."
And so they did. Clarence and Cathy witnessed to Hank about Jesus' death on the cross for mankind's salvation, of the need for a deep, loving relationship with Christ. "Take up your cross and follow Him. He is the narrow gate," Cathy said. Added Clarence: "We want to follow our own will, but that is not the way ... Jesus showed us on the cross what love is."
Silently, the two evangelists are praying, sensing Hank's resistance.
Hank stiffened, then declared: "I don’t believe that God exists."
"You don't?" asked Clarence.
"No," he said.
"Oh no," Clarence said. "There's a lot of evidence God exists. I have an idea: Ask Mary, the Mother of Jesus if she will show you that God exists _ the God you don’t believe in. Ask her if God exists, then somehow show you. Then see what happens."
The evangelists offer Hank a Miraculous Medal, explaining its divine origins and the many miracles associated with it __ even how a bullet was deflected by the medal Pope John Paul II was wearing the day a gunman attacked him on St. Peter's Square. It saved the now canonized saint from certain death.
Hank listens, but without understanding. And he poses virtually the same question Pontius Pilate asked Jesus some 2,000 years ago before condemning Him to death: "What is truth?"
Hank notes many religions claim to have the truth, but he says it could be hidden down any rabbit hole _ many _ or in his case, none. He's heard some Islamic teachings. "Maybe that's true," he muses. And he talks about Judaism. Even Scientologists, he notes, consider their beliefs true and most religions "all hold their prayers are true."
What's more, Hank adds, "I see no evidence for a soul." Cathy responds to his secular, material worldview: "You won't see physical evidence for a soul because it is immaterial."
Clarence tries talking about Jesus' death and Resurrection and how the crucifixion was a historical event. It really happened. But Hank asks: "How do we know after the fact that it's true? I don't buy that."
Nothing seems to connect.
Furthermore, Hank offers what he thinks is a big problem with Christianity: When Christians link romantic love with sexual interest _ Hank asserts _ "you end up creating unhealthy behaviors towards sex." Says Hank, "sex is pleasurable." And, he sees nothing wrong with pursuing it with anyone.
By now the evangelists are thinking "Not so!"
"You're getting things backwards," says Clarence. Patiently, he and Cathy explain the Christian foundations of love, marriage and sex __ how Christians who are dating seek to remain chaste before marriage, expect to keep sex exclusively to marriage, and are very much committed to each other in love.
"But I feel like you are putting sex on way too high a pedestal," Hank objects. "Oh?" said Clarence. "It's God's pedestal. Actually that high pedestal is a wonderful thing. It brings true peace and joy in the heart."
Somewhere along the way, Hank's God-given conscience has been deformed, twisted by Hollywood or TV sitcom lies about sex, or by the hookup culture today that drives young people to sate their desires first.
They can't go on. Hank has class now and says goodbye, fading into a crowd of young people all seeking a higher education.
But today, two St. Paul Street Evangelists have sought to give him the highest education of all, to love and serve God with all his heart, mind and soul.
"There is some reason that Hank came to us," Clarence muses to Cathy afterward. "He must be searching. What he heard from us should give him a choice to choose God or not." Cathy agrees and they pray for Hank, hoping one day God will find he who is lost _ as in Luke, chapter 15: "`Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' " I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."