Yesterday I was in a "discussion" with someone who was an atheist about my faith in Christ (It was actually more of this person raving loud and and long, not wanting to let me get a word in edgewise.) I've never understood why anyone thinks they are "winning" a debate just because they get loud and abusive with their language. It's as if by speaking 90 miles an hour and they hurl a ton of childish insults, somehow they think they are better. In my view, they just prove the fact of their lack of argument because they have nothing intelligent to add to the conversation, so they refuse to let you speak. For instance, when Geraldo Rivera went to Wall Street to broadcast from the protest, the protesters beat drums and chanted en masse, preventing him from broadcasting. How foolish. If they really had something to say, this was the perfect opportunity, as the #1 rated news network was there to broadcast their story. They proved they really have nothing to say, but rather used the bully effort that is so often used by those who are ignorant of the facts. I'm convinced that those who want to push their weight around, scream, curse, threaten and otherwise kept the opposition from speaking are actually operating from absolute fear because they know they don't have a leg to stand on factually, so they simply do all they can to prevent the other person(s) from speaking their mind.
Anyway... back to my story...
This atheist kept screaming about how ignorant I was to believe in a God and, as he put it, "a fairytale land in the sky" (with a few other words mixed in there which I will not repeat.) He kept challenging me with the question, (again leaving out his colorful language) "what if when you die, you rot in the grave and there is no life after death? What if there is no heaven? Then you've wasted your life?" I simply sat there at let him rant for the longest time without saying a word back, until he finally screamed to the crowd of on-lookers that had gathered to watch, "See, the preacher man has nothing to combat that with." I held up my hand to him and he finally stopped his tirade long enough to say, "What?" And I turned to the crowd and I said, "He has ranted without interruption, for several minutes now; do I deserve just 60 seconds to speak without him opening his mouth?" The crowd cheered and he turned beat red. I turned back to him and said these words (as best I remember them):
"You've ranted and raved about how I have wasted my life if there is no Heaven. My question to you is, 'How?' Before I found Jesus, my life was racked with pain and depression and suicide attempts. I was completely controlled by alcohol and drugs and I was living a life that sent me to prison for almost 3 years of my life. Since I found Jesus, I've been completely free from alcohol and drugs, I've not been suicidal, I actually have a life that I can be proud of and I am happy. You ask me, 'What if there is no Heaven?' I say, 'So what?' If I am wrong and there is no Heaven, who cares? My life is far better because of my faith in Christ, and if I am wrong and there is no Heaven, then I win because my life has been transformed and it's been worth it! But my question to you is, 'What if I am right? What if there is a Heaven... and therefore there is a Hell... What then?"
He began cursing me, until one of the crowd started yelling: "What if there is a Hell?" He was getting more and more agitated and screamed more and more profanities at me and the crowd... until a young woman walked closer to us and said, "If his life is better because of his faith, what do you care? Isn't he better off now? But answer his question, what if there is a heaven? What if there is a hell?" He screamed, "Then I guess I'll burn in Hell with the rest of you losers!" With that, he turned and literally ran off across the campus. The young woman said to me, "you've given me a lot to think about." And she turned and walked away.
I've been thinking about this now for almost 20 hours, and reflecting on how Christ had made a difference in my life. Let me say clearly, I have no doubt that Heaven and Hell are real. But what if? What if there were no Heaven or Hell? No consequence or no reward? How would that alter your life? For me, I don't believe it would change anything. I've tried it both ways... and this way is FAR better. I'm glad that there is a Heaven... but if there were not, it's been worth having the Lord in my life!