I had an incredible time ministering at First Fridays in Phoenix Arizona. This time even included the opportunity to street preach, which is something that I have not been able to do for a long time. I also had a run-in with one of the toughest atheists on the street. I must admit that I was not prepared as much as I would have liked to have been for that specific level of battle. His tactic was simple, and I should have spotted the very clever trick he was using - his approach made use of making assertions in an indirect or implicit way. This tactic made it appear as if he was not making assertions, and masked his original premise (assumption) in such a way that I did not see what was happening. He would ask questions that were in themselves assertions, while claiming to make no assertion, to place the burden of proof on me continuously. A clear assertion I would have easily spotted, but these specific, embedded assertions were trickier to spot.
So, perhaps it is time to tell the story, “Frogs with No Legs Cannot Hear.” Once upon a time, there was a Polish scientist who decided to see how far frogs with no legs could jump. He started with a baseline and told the frog to jump forward. It jumped 12 feet. He then cut one leg off the frog and said, “Jump.” The frog only jumped 10 feet. He continued by cutting off another leg and saying, “Jump” to the frog. This time the frog only jumped 8 feet. He then cut off another leg and said, “Jump,” and the frog only jumped 3 feet. He cut off the final leg of the frog and said jump. However, the frog did not move at all. He repeated the commands to the frog and said, “Jump.” Again, the frog did not move at all. He concluded scientifically that frogs with no legs cannot hear. If you begin with a wrong premise, you always logically arrive at the wrong conclusion. The gentleman who accosted me believed two false things: first, that Godhead could be provable according to his criteria. The second faulty piece of reasoning was that God had to demonstrate Himself to this gentleman in order to exist. I pointed out to him that God had no interest in forcing him to believe or choose to worship. I put it this way: forced love is rape and God is not a divine rapist. C.S. Lewis put it a better way when he stated that God was too much of a gentleman to force himself upon anybody. Yes, there are sound reasons to believe, and practicing apologetics is to create a winsome case for our worldview, but belief must remain a choice at some level, and faith by nature cannot be imposed and still remain faith.