My Friend, the Atheist, Didn't Show
A surprising call
Several months ago I got a surprising but very welcome call from an atheist. I had never heard of him, but he had come across some of my hubs and thought he'd ring me up. I had a very pleasant chat with Bob (not his real name) who told me he thought I'd be interested in his proposal. "You seem to be the kind of guy a person can talk to," he said. "How would you like to interview me and write it up as a hub?" I'd never had an offer like that and must admit I wondered if he had some trick up his sleeve. "Let me think about it," I responded. We said good-bye. A few days later I heard from Bob again. He wanted me to understand that he was not just any ordinary atheist. He was the chairman of his state's Atheist Society. I asked what purpose he had for such an interview. "Simply to promote mutual understanding," was his reply. Well, I couldn't quarrel with that. I promised to write up some questions and email them to him. Actually I wrote something of a counter proposal of my own. This is what Bob got from me on or about October 23, 2012.
Agreement on an interview of Bob by Frank - October 21,2012
It is understood that Bob, an atheist, has suggested that Frank, a retired Christian pastor, interview him for the purpose of encouraging mutual understanding between their respective camps. Frank agrees to this suggestion upon the following conditions.
- Questions are placed and answered in writing via email.
- All communication will reflect our own convictions and be tendered with respect and mutual appreciation.
- Frank will write introductory paragraphs which set the table for the interview and concluding paragraphs offering his own take on Bob's answers.
- Bob, if he chooses to do so, may write final paragraphs offering his take on the interview and my concluding paragraphs.
- Obviously, the above assumes Bob will see the final product before it is published on HubPages.
- The final decision as to whether or not to publish is Frank’s
Assuming agreement to the above conditions, I propose the following questions. Be brief and concise as the entire hub should not exceed 1500 words.
- What are the main factors which caused you to conclude that there is no God?
- How would you define the term “God” as used in your answer to #1?
- What do you think of Jesus Christ?
- What or who is the final authority in your life? Put differently, by what means do you determine what is true or false?
- What is the mission of the atheist movement?
- Atheists desire peace and justice and long for personal joy and fulfillment. What brings these about and how do you experience them?
- What offers you confidence in the face of the death we shall all experience?
It's been three months
Apparently Bob has lost interest in the project he suggested to me or maybe he's still thinking about the questions. I think you'll agree that they are honest questions that would encourage continued dialogue. I'm not interested in any gotchas going either way.
It's not for me to judge Bob for his no show. But I admit to some disappointment. So I'm writing this up as a hub to see if any atheists or agnostics reading this might want to engage me as Bob had suggested. Same deal applies. Just let me know. Send me an email through the normal HP channels.
Update since first published
Indeed I was pleased to get a response to my proposal within a few days. Olivia, a delightful young woman, offered to take up the challenge. She asked to write an opening paragraph to explain that she wrote for herself, not all atheist. The resulting hub has attracted a bit of attention - "A Christian Pastor Interviews an Atheist... and they like each other"