I kept a relaxed face as the man next to me contorted his face in anger.
“But you don’t understand!” he said. “There is no possibility for a life after death!” He was yelling. His escalated tone wasn’t personally upsetting, but the fact we were in a library adds a bit of humor to the situation. I had struck up a conversation with the man only a few minutes earlier. I was doing a school project, and I had to ask ten people a question about joy. I modified the question to allow the respondent a chance to discuss his or her religion.
When I first approached the man, he smiled warmly at me, expressing that he was willing to help me with my project. I asked him my question. He was excited at the chance to express his extensive knowledge on religion. He answered along the lines of “Joy is found in living a good life and helping others.” He then told me that he was an atheist and had traveled the world to study religion only to come to the conclusion that there was no God. He tried to express his “open mindedness” to me as he quoted memorization’s from the Bible. I, however, had one more question for the man.
“Let’s say, rhetorically speaking, that there is a life after death. Where do you think you would go?”
“There is no life after death. It is as simple as that.”
“But let’s suppose there was, where would you end up?”
“There is no heaven or hell. It is all an illusion to give humanity hope.”
“Yes, sir, I understand you believe that, but, let’s just say for a minute there is a heaven and a hell. To which would you be sent?”
“But you don’t understand!” he said. “There is no possibility for a life after death!” The man was yelling. At this point my mother walked up to inform me that it was time to leave. I excused myself as the man checked his anger and said a pleasant “Goodbye.”
I was fifteen. This encounter got me thinking seriously about what I believed and why I believed what I did. The man I had spoken with seemed to know more about the Bible and the religions of the world than I had ever been exposed to, yet, he did not believe in the mere existence of a God. On that day I resolved to find the truth, even if that meant abandoning the religion I was raised to accept.
I want my readers to understand I do not follow my current faith blindly. I have explored many options of religion, philosophy, and belief, and have established for myself what I now believe to be truth. Truth. The absolute existence of truth I am sure of. Truth exists. One Truth. The ultimate truth. Truth is not subjective. “Whatever works for you,” is an answer that I often stumbled upon, but have found insufficient.
If there is no ultimate truth, then why are certain paths designated in creation? In other words, why is there a definite way for a fetus to develop or for a math equation to be solved? If “small” things such as these have a method and a “truth,” wouldn’t the thing behind all existence have a path designated unto itself?
I found truth in Christ. I found Christ in the Bible. I found the Bible to be the word of God. I found Christ to be God Himself. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the thing which gives me hope daily. I am not ashamed of the label it gives me: a stupid individual who needs religion as a crutch. Simply put, that statement defines me perfectly.I am a broken, weak, unresponsive, irresponsible individual. But the power and strength that are mine in Christ show testament of the power of my said religion. Therefore, I will never be ashamed of the source of that power: the gospel of Christ. The fact that I am who I am bears testament to the work that Christ has done.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”