1. Lauren Lynch says:

    I LOVE that you gave a group of atheist protestors a tour! How did they respond?

    • Tim Chaffey says:

      Hi Lauren, thanks for the question. At the protest itself, held at the I-75 off ramp, many of the protesters were fairly obnoxious (as were a couple of Christians holding up signs that merely produced shouting matches), although there were plenty of protesters who were open to civil discussions. Of the roughly 20 protesters who toured with us, only one of them was rude during the tour. This particular person kept making snide comments and personally attacking me. At one point, the individual gave me a perfect opportunity to deliver a zinger, so I did, and he/she didn’t speak up again. Several folks in the group thanked me for it because he/she was making them all look bad. The rest of them were very respectful throughout the tour and had some good questions. Of course, we anticipated most of them and had already installed signage to address the objections, so I could simply say, “That’s a great question, here’s a sign that deals with this idea.” They were very impressed with the structure itself even though they obviously didn’t agree with our message. About half the group needed to leave after the Q&A, but the other half stuck around, and I talked with a couple guys for at least another hour.
      In the days that followed, many of them blogged about the experience, and the one common theme that kept coming up is that they were pleasantly surprised by the genuine conversations that they had with some of the Christians who came to witness to them. One person made the remark that I’m no fake — that I really do believe what I’m teaching. That might seem strange to people since it should be rather obvious, but some of these people never or rarely go outside of their atheist bubbles or huddles. They tend to think that all Christians act like the despicable folks from Westboro Baptist or that we are just in ministry for the money (that’s pretty funny, I know, but they see the televangelists so I guess there’s a little bit of basis for the stereotype). Sadly, many Christians do something similar by thinking that all atheists act like Richard Dawkins. But both views are destructive. We need to look past those stereotypes and deal with the person. In reality, we are all people made in the image of God, and I believe those people are worth going after.
      I have so many memories from that day that I will always cherish, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I would be willing to do that every day. It really was an incredible opportunity and made the Ark’s opening day far better than I ever imagined it would be.

What do you think?