I think a lot of us have been in this situation before: you’re walking around a college campus and a Christian preacher hands you a Chick tract or some other pamphlet. Perhaps you take it, but you laugh it off. What a horrible way to try and convert me, you think.
Nick, The Hopeful Skeptic, doesn’t understand that tactic either. After one preacher tried to give him a useless tract, Nick had a brief conversation with him:
When I asked him why I needed to take it, he responded that Jesus was the most important thing in his life and he wanted me to know about him by handing me a gift.
I paused for a moment and asked, “If you wanted to give me something to get my attention about the most important thing in your life, then why did you hand me something so unimportant?”
Essentially, Nick argued, these things that supposedly matter so much to the person handing them out are barely worth a cent or two apiece.
If a preacher really wanted someone to take his tracts seriously, he would need to show Nick he put an investment into what he was handing out — he would need to show Nick he really meant business.
On his blog, Nick makes an offer to any Christian who wants him to convert:
For the $500 it takes to get an iPad I will commit to these 5 things
1. Attending a church or Bible Study in my area for 10 weeks. (You choose which)
2. Blogging and podcasting about my experiences once a week, all the while giving you or your organization the plug for returning me to the fold
3. Using the iPad as my main tool for experiencing Christianity, using podcasts, audio books, iBooks, Bible Applications and the Internet to immerse myself in the suggestions of the buyer.
4. I will interview you, the buyer, on my podcast and give you the chance to make arguments for the faith, for going to church, to tell me about your church or your organization and why I would do well in an environment like that.
5. I will send the buyer a copy of my book so that you can learn more about my journey and we can enter into authentic discussion about faith.
Whether or not anyone takes him up on it, the sentiment makes sense: If you really want me to take your beliefs seriously, I need you to take me seriously. I need to know you are willing to put your money where your mouth is. Offer me something that is of value to me and I’ll seriously consider what you have to say.
I don’t know if it’ll work, but I think the idea is amusing.
If it does work, though, Nick is a genius.