A tiny nit of a fear assailed Isaac suddenly. What if Christian was planning some kind of religious intervention?
Hoo-boy would there ever be fireworks if he tried something like that! Which is
why the idea receded as fiercely as it had arrived: Christian would never do
that to him.
“C’mon, buddy. Call me.”
“Hah-ha... funny. Not just a few flakes, but a lot of flakes, as in, God-(if he existed)-shaking-out-his-dandruff amounts of flakes."
“Hey! God doesn’t have dandruff. Aside from maybe a few split ends, his hair is perfect. He’s a class act the whole way.”
“Har-dee-har-har. We can joke all night I’m sure, but let’s stay on point. You know I have zero problems hanging with you, but -I mean- 'The Debate'? Really? You’re going to make me risk injury in a storm just to revisit something we’ve argued to death already? And pu-lease don’t tell me you had a vision or something like that. I want to believe you and all but the human ability to employ common sense tells me otherwise."
Nonplussed, Christian answered, "No, no. No visions or anything like that. You know I'm not sure I even believe in those either when I hear them.
No, what I have planned for Friday... well it's... it’s more than that."
Despite himself, Christian snorted. “More than that? As in, more than a vision? As in you-died-saw-heaven-and-came-back more? Now I’m really not coming over!"
"Again, no. Sorry. I wasn't being clear was I; and I know you like clarity. Okay, I’ll try this a second time, though I don’t want to give away too much. Yes, Friday’s get-together is about 'The Debate' buuuttt I've gone above and beyond to make sure I'm approaching it in a way you as an atheist, and soon-to-be lawyer, can respect. You and I are,” Christian deepened his voice in a god-like way, “going to use reason and logic to put your beliefs to the test. Annnnd…" he drum-rolled, “make you rich!”
"Make me rich, huh? Well, I’ve no objection to that. On the other topic: using reason and logic to test my beliefs, that’s another matter entirely. I wish I could believe you old friend. I really do. But, we’ve tried logic, remember? You kept undermining that approach by running back to your staid lines: ‘We see God in everything’, or, ‘That’s the mystery of faith’, and so on.”
Isaac suddenly felt a small knot in his neck. Christian and he shared almost no common ground in this one area. Why bother with it anymore? The idea of an intervention once again crept into view; again, he battled it back.
Christian said, "You’re right. My beliefs don’t mesh well with those who love logic. I’m fine with that. That’s why we’re not going to discuss my side of the ledger, but your side. Right where the intersection of Logic and Reason meet.”
Isaac expelled air into the phone, echoing “…right where the intersection of reason and logic meet…” Still, thinking more aloud to himself than to Christian, he added, “So it would all be on me…”
“That’s correct. All on you. You’re good at that.”
“Yeah, right. Where’s this all coming from, Christian?”
There was a hesitation before Christian said, sheepishly, “I decided a few months ago, after my car accident-”
“-which you survived.”
“-yes, which I survived. Will you let me finish? I decided after my accident, that I needed to do more to bridge our gap. I mean, it really hit me suddenly just how important my faith is to me. It strengthens me in a way you don’t know, a way I need you to know because, aside from my parents, there’s no one else as important to me.
So, knowing that need-is-the-mother-of-invention, I spent my holiday break from work forming a plan. So you’d know it’s as serious as anything I’ve ever done.” Christian went silent, letting the power of the moment hang over them.
“Look, Isaac, I can't believe I'm saying this, but here it is. You may not worry for your eternal soul, but I do. Don't laugh me off either. I've done a lot of thinking on this recently and even more leg-work -as in actual business leg-work- to have my proposal taken seriously by you. So, if you respect me, you'll be there Friday to hear me out."
Isaac, almost never speechless, struggled to say anything.
Christian waited him out, more than a little worried as to what rolled through his friend’s mind during this quiet moment.
Finally, greatly touched by his friend’s concern, Isaac replied, "My soul, huh? Sheesh, could you be any more dramatic? Oh right, you can be. You said you’ve got the ultimate test for me, one that’s logic based. Annnd, you even did some ‘actual business work’ to boot? Well, it all sounds like a hoot to me. The Christian versus the Atheist in a final showdown. One for the ages it is then. Friday night. I'm so there."
“Thank God,” Christian replied, in a highly relieved tone.
Isaac laughed, "Thank God? Are we starting the debate now?”
"On this matter, Christian –Yes. I. Am. You’ll see this bastard on Friday." Isaac disconnected his end of the call.
~excerpted from The Atheist and The Christian by Ralph Lagana, Jr.