From: Darwin Bedford <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: "Some questions for the Believer"
Here is some coorespondence on this that will explain things.
From: Darwin Bedford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: handed pamphlets to Bellingham church goers
Today I drove to Bellingham, Washington to hand out pamphlets to the congregation of an American church (Hillcrest Chapel http://www.hillcrestchapel.com/chapel/ ). I stood on the sidewalk directly outside the main doors wearing my man-throwing-a-cross-away T-shirt and a Humanist Association cap. The pamphlets contained the "Some Questions for the Believer" list from Atheists United along with my email address and Web site URL after the credits.
Immediately a senior staff member of the church freaked and told me that I would not be permitted to hand out the pamphlets on or near church property. He asked me to leave and said he would call the police if I did not do so. As I handed the pamphlets out to people he was telling people that I was an atheist and not to take the pamphlets. He went so far as to grab them back from people. I reminded him that the sidewalk was not church property and he would have to call the police to have me move further away from the church. By the time the police arrived (which was not very long at all), he and others had invited me to attend the service. When the policeman explained to me that I could hand pamphlets out on the sidewalk but could not go onto any of the church grounds, I told him that they had already invited me to attend the service. He turned to them and said, "Well there is nothing I can do then." The policeman asked for my name, address, and phone number because he had to write a report on the call.
Some members of the congregation tried to physically block my access to the sidewalk area in front of the church doors, but after a while people were going out of their way to get a copy (or two) of what I was handing out. One man stared into my eyes like he had never seen an atheist before in his life. I don't know what he was expecting, but he must have been thinking that I seemed like an ordinary person!
I was there from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. I handed out 125 pamphlets to two congregations. The whole time I was there were people escorting me, asking me why I was doing it, and trying to get me to accept Jesus.
They were impressed that I drove all the way from Burnaby, BC to their church. I told them that their Web site contained a map to the church, the time of the services, and enough information for me to tell that their church was well attended. However, a few of them were convinced that God had sent me to their church.
P.S., Below is the e-mail that I have received from them today.
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 14:24:52 EDT
Subject: Re: "Some Questions for the Believer"
Thank you for taking the time to pass out your pamphlet to Hillcrest
Chapel this morning. I was not in attendance today, as I was sick, but my
brother brought it home and showed me. It is good to discuss these things.
You're right. If the God of the Bible cannot stand up to questions
of His existence, then He is not worth following. But He can.
I will only respond to question 19 this morning ("What would it take
to convince you that you are wrong?"), and I have a few questions for you....
My response: Prove to me that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. If
He did not, then He was not God, as He said. If He did not, Christianity
crumbles for lack of a foundation. If He did not, the Bible is not
trustworthy. If He did not, then there is no reason for me to follow Him.
A few questions:
*Have you read the Bible? (Old and New Testaments)
*Do you believe that the God of the Bible exists? Why or why not?
Thanks in advance for your time, and your reply.
From: "Dean Hatcher" <email@example.com>
Subject: God loves you!
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 13:55:40 -0700
It was a pleasure meeting you this morning at Hillcrest Chapel. I would like to invite you back to listen to one of our services I think you would enjoy. I looked for a long time to find peace in things of this world it never lasted. When I asked Jesus into my heart and made him Lord of my life I found a peace that is not like anything I have ever experienced, don't get me wrong I still have those days but I Know that God will always be there for me.We all have our stories I know this that God brought you to our service this morning for a reason. I want you to know you are always welcome and would like to talk more with you.
God loves you!