I just had a telephone call from a Christian who wanted to talk to me about the role god plays in my life. This is the first time I've had a proselytiser call me on the telephone so I decided to list the main points of our conversation here while they are still fresh in my mind.
I asked him to describe god otherwise we wouldn't know what we were talking about.
He said things like god is perfect, righteous, just, kind, loving, etcetera.
I said that was interesting but how would I recognise god if I saw him.
The Christian said it doesn't work that way. He said god is invisible.
I pointed out that god "spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend".
I forget exactly what the Christian said but it was something about the bible having many things to say and it is unfair to pick out just one verse at a time.
I pointed out he had done exactly the same thing to me - quoted a single verse that says god is invisible!
He implied that Christians can do that because they understand the subject better than non-Christians.
Then I told him I wasn't relying on just one verse because Jacob had also said, "I have seen god face to face and my life is preserved."
From his tone of voice I got the impression that he thought I was making it up so he tried to trip me up by asking where that text appears in the bible - book, chapter, and verse.
I told him I didn't know for sure but suggested he could find it easily enough. "Have you got a Concordance," I asked him.
There was a short hesitation and then a very cautious, "yes." (I don't think he even knew what a Concordance was.)
So I told him to look up the word "Jacob" and that would take him directly to the verse.
But he never did find it - so I found it for him because I actually have a Concordance. [Genesis 32:30]
Again I've forgotten his exact words, but he started pushing the idea that I had taken the verse out of context.
That's the thing that really irks me about Christians: this guy had obviously never heard about Jacob seeing god face to face until I mentioned it, and now he was trying to tell me that I had it wrong and he knew what it really meant!
As it happens he never did get around to explaining the context and the conversation ended not long afterwards.
I have a feeling he quickly went to a dictionary to look up "Concordance". I wouldn't mind betting that he thought it was some sort of diabolical anti-Christian device invented by the devil and used by atheists to annoy believers. If so, he will be in for a surprise when he learns the truth.
After I hung up the telephone, this old song popped into my head
(written by Frederick Lehman, 1919)
(recorded by Jimmy Little, 1963)
Telephone to glory, oh, what joy divine!
I can feel the current moving on the line.
Made by God the Father for His very own,
You may talk to Jesus on this royal telephone.
Central's never busy, always on the line,
You can hear from heaven almost any time.
'Tis a royal service, built for one and all,
When you get in trouble, give this royal line a call.