Planting Seeds on a Tuesday

Yesterday Mike Pizzolato of Pizzolato Video Services and I went onto the university campus to survey students in the hope that some students would allow us to video record our discussion.  We explained that we wanted to make a training video to teach others how to conduct the survey.

Only one student agreed to be video recorded.  Open-air conditions are sometimes difficult because of background noise and other factors. I hope to post the video here if the quality is good.

We surveyed five students and gave away four booklets.  Here are the answers given and the highlights of our discussions for three of those students.

To see the Survey questions, click the Survey page.

Legend- Y=Yes, LY=Leans Yes, NoO=No Opinion, LN=Leans No, N=No

Undergraduate Psychology Student

I will call this young woman Marcia.  She’s an atheist.  Her answers:

  1. N
  2. Y
  3. NoO
  4. NoO
  5. N
  6. N
  7. Y
  8. N
  9. N
  10. LN
  11. LY

Me: Did you find the questions interesting?

Marcia: Yes, I’ve never heard anyone put the Big Bang and God together in the same sentence before. The question surprised me.

Me: I understand. But it’s interesting because several scientists have become Christians because of the Big Bang.

Marcia: Really?

Me: Well, actually, the Big Bang put them on a spiritual journey that resulted in them following Jesus.

Marcia: I’ve never heard of that before.  Have you ever seen the documentary Religulous?  It was done by that comedian… what’s his name?

Me: I don’t know.  Are you sure it was a comedian and not a magician?

Marcia: (looking it up on her phone) No, he’s a comedian…  Here it is. Bill Maher.

Me: I’ve heard of Bill Maher before.

Marcia: Anyway, that documentary represents what I believe.

Me: Well, thank you! I will be sure to watch it.  Are you interested to know why the Big Bang convinced scientists that God existed?

Marcia:  Yes, I can’t imagine how that would happen.

Me: Scientists became convinced the Big Bang only happened once. In physics, one-time events are known as miracles.  If the creation of the universe is a miracle, then God must exist.

Marcia: Interesting.

Later, I gave her a copy of my booklet and she promised to read it.  Please pray for her because I think a gospel seed was planted here. Pray she meets other Christians who can help her on her journey.

Muslim Undergrad Majoring in Electrical Engineering

While this young man is from the Middle East, I will call him Bill.  He was quite friendly and respectful.  Here are his answers to the Survey questions:

  1. N
  2. Y
  3. Y
  4. Y
  5. NoO
  6. N
  7. Y
  8. NoO
  9. N
  10. NoO
  11. NoO

Me: Did you find the questions interesting?

Bill: Kind of. You guys are Christians, right?

Me: Yes.

Bill:  I’m a Muslim.  Our religions are very similar. We both believe in one God and we have similar ethics.  But there is one thing I cannot believe that both Muslims and Christians teach.

Me: What’s that?

Bill: Adam and Eve.  How could so many different breeds of people come from just two people?  If that was true, then you would have to believe in evolution!

Me: By “breeds” you mean “races”, right?

Bill: Same thing, isn’t it?

Me: I don’t know. I’ve never considered it before.  Let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of Muslims having dreams about Jesus?

Bill: No, but it makes sense thought, right? Muslims believe Jesus is a prophet and he’s still alive so it’s certainly possible.  Why do you ask?

Me: In November I met a man named Tom Doyle.  (Note: Tom Doyle is the author of the book Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?)  Tom used to live in the Middle East and he told me he met a number of Muslims who were meeting Jesus in their dreams.  So I went to youtube and search “muslims jesus dreams” and there were a bunch of videos about it.  That just made me wonder if you had ever met a Muslim who had a Jesus dream.

Bill:  No, I haven’t but that’s very interesting.

Please pray for Bill.  I did not offer him a booklet it has “Christianity” in the title and I did not want to offend him.  I’m just planting seeds here.  I think he will go to youtube and watch some of these videos. Perhaps it will launch him on his own spiritual journey toward Jesus.

Undergraduate Pre-Nursing Major

I will call this young man David.  He’s an African-American who was raised in a Christian home.  While he is dealing with intellectual doubts (notice the fact he’s not convinced Jesus rose from the dead physically), he is not facing those doubts head on.

Here are his answers to the Survey questions:

  1. Y
  2. Y
  3. LN
  4. NoO
  5. Y
  6. Y
  7. Y
  8. NoO
  9. Y
  10. LY
  11. Y

When surveying Christians, I try to ask them to answer the last two questions as if they had not yet become Christians. I want to know which of these two things motivate people to make a decision for Christ more often.  David’s answers indicate it’s more likely he would have been motivated more by added meaning and purpose than by strong historical evidence for the resurrection.

Me: Did you find the questions interesting?

David: Kind of.

Me: Were you raised in a Christian home?

David: Yes, I was.

Me:  Have you had any challenges to your faith because of your course work here?

David: Not really. If your faith is strong you should be able to work through it.

Me: Can you give me an example of something you had to work through and how you worked through it?

David: Taking evolution as an example, you can pass the class and when you leave you still know God created life.

Me: That’s interesting.

After chatting a bit more, I told him about why I was doing the survey and about the booklet I wrote. I explained that the booklet can open non-Christians eyes to the fact Christianity is a reasonable faith but it can also help to strengthen the faith of Christian students who need to know that science and the Bible are not in conflict when both are rightly understood.  He thanked me for the booklet and promised to read it.

Please pray for David. There are doubts brewing inside him that he is not facing.  It’s possible they will never cause him to stop going to church, but it’s also possible the may grow into a faith crisis.

What do you think?  Would you have handled these conversations differently?

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