Anyone who has been doing outreach in Arizona sooner or later figures out that you never know who you are going to meet. In fact, while seeking to target one group, you may be surprised at the other individuals with whom you end up speaking. Such was the case of the weekend of April 21st and 22nd. I was doing outreach from roughly two in the afternoon to six in the evening at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix, Arizona, which had provided the venue for a very large event, the annual Arab American Festival. You would be amazed at how diverse types of people from Phoenix go to the event.
One of the strangest encounters that I had over the weekend was a group of young Arab boys who were enthralled with evolution, which they were being taught in school. One of the boys, who is of high school age, has not told his parents that he considers himself an agnostic. You must understand that in an observant Muslim family, such a position is unacceptable. Certainly, not believing in God, or rather Allah, is contrary to the Shahadah. This Shahadah reads, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” In fact, one might say that the Shahadah is to the Muslim what the Shema is to the Jew - and this is not just true of the observant rabbinical Jew. My children heard the Shema from the cradle. Hence, you could understand my shock to hear this statement from a Muslim boy. I thought about how our secular school system had caused these boys to exchange one error for another. Although they were not following the dictates of Islam closely, they were no closer to the truth. In fact, since those who come to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), they had in a sense put themselves into a worse position, for instead of having the wrong God they now were not seeking any God.