An atheist troll at 30 thousand feet


During a recent flight, this happened.

Passenger: “Oh God, you aren’t going to preach to me for the whole flight, are you?”

Me: “Why would you assume I was?”

Passenger: “You have a Bible in your lap, that’s often how it goes with people like you.”

Me: “So you fly often, and often get preached to for entire flights?”

Passenger: “It happens.”

Me: “Often?”

Passenger: “OK, no. But it has happened.”

Me: “So what do you have against preaching?”

Passenger: “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Me: “How so?”

Passenger: “Trying to force people to believe in something from a book of myths? What sense does it make?”

Me: So were the dozens of people who preached to you for entire flights trying to force a belief on you?”

Passenger: “OK, maybe force isn’t the right word but they were definitely trying to talk me into something.”

Me: “Were they? Or, were they just giving reasons for the hope that they have? You do know that Christians are supposed to share the Gospel with people, right?”

Passenger: “Yes, I know but why do they waste their time when they know it won’t do any good?”

Me: “Why do you say it won’t do any good?”

Passenger: “I guess it works sometimes but it won’t work on me.”

Me: “What won’t work on you?”

Passenger: “The sales pitch. I’ve heard it all before and I don’t believe any of it.”

Me: “OK then. Maybe I will just put on my headphones and try to get some sleep.”

Passenger: “So, that’s it?”

Me: “That’s what?”

Passenger: “You’re not going to preach to me?”

Me: “Nope. You made it pretty clear that isn’t what you wanted.”

Passenger: “True, but most people don’t give up that easily.”

Me: “Are you familiar with the Bible?”

Passenger: “Of course, probably more familiar than you are.”

Me: “Why would you assume that? Do you know that I am not a preacher? Do you know that I haven’t been to a seminary? Do you randomly assume you know more about the Bible than everyone you see reading one?”

Passenger: “I don’t think it’s a random assumption at all, I have talked to a lot of fundamentalists and have done a lot of research.”

Me: “So you consider yourself an expert?”

Passenger: “An expert of sorts, yes.”

Me: “So you will not welcome me or listen to my words?”

Passenger: “What on Earth are you talking about?”

Me: The Bible says, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

Passenger: “So, when you are talking to someone you can’t win an argument with, you are supposed to just give up?”

Me: “Is that was this is about to you, winning arguments?”

Passenger: “Not just to me, that’s what it IS about.”

Me: “So you expect me to argue you into faith? It doesn’t work that way.”

Passenger: “Sure it does. You give me some convincing proof, I will consider belief.”

Me: “Are you familiar with the book of Acts?”

Passenger: “Of course.”

Me: “A multitude of people had gathered. Peter had preached a powerful sermon and, when they heard his words, they were ‘cut to the heart’ and asked how they should respond.

Peter answered them with ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

Since you know the Bible better than I do, perhaps you could tell me what convincing proof Peter offered.

Passenger: “I’m not sure what you’re asking.”

Me: “Simple. Were the multitudes of people Peter was preaching to ‘cut to the heart’ because they heard convincing proof?”

Passenger: “I’m not looking at that passage now so I can’t say for sure what exactly Peter said.”

Me: “Hmmm, I thought you said you were an expert. Would you say Peter was a preacher or a Christian apologist?”

Passenger: “Preacher, I guess.”

Me: “So the multitudes were moved to respond to simple preaching while you require convincing evidence? What makes you different from the multitudes?

Passenger: “Maybe they were just gullible. Maybe they were swept up in the moment. Maybe they just weren’t smart enough to know better.”

Me: “Smart enough to know better? Like you?”

Passenger: “Well yes, I’ve done my homework, I know better.”

Me: “So would you say you are smarter than every single Christian who has ever lived?”

Passenger: “Well I don’t think I would go that far but I’m not dumb enough to believe in a fairy tale.”

Me: “So you’re smarter than all of us who do believe in the fairy tale? That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?”

Passenger: “No.”

Me: “Sure it is. On some level, you think you are just too damned smart to have faith in Christ.”

Passenger: “That’s not it at all.”

Me: “Then what is it?”

Passenger: “I have done a lot of research and have happily reached the conclusion that religion is nonsense no one in their right mind could believe.”

Me: “So it’s not about intelligence at all, people have to be a little bit out of their minds in order to believe?”

Passenger: “That’s not what I’m saying.”

Me: “Really? Then what do you mean when you say no one in their right mind could believe? Doesn’t this imply that all believers are a little off somehow?”

And that’s where the conversation ended. My fellow passenger put on his headphones, closed his eyes, and didn’t say another word to me for the rest of the flight.


Categories: Christianity

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43 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Chaplain + Entrepreneur = Chaplapreneur and commented:

    Great story James.
    I am convinced people make heart decisions. They might make it about proof because that makes them feel better, but many are too smart for Jesus until they go through something hard. When he does that guy will have a different conversation on the next plane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Psychologists know quite well that people believe what they believe for a variety of reasons, a majority of which have nothing to do with “logic”, “rationality”, or “convincing proof”. Rather, the basis for most human acceptance of any idea is a combination of emotion, personal experience and cultural milieu. Reason is called upon afterwards, usually merely to justify the already -accepted belief.

      Since atheism is quite fashionable in the modern western world, it is not surprising that many atheists assume that it must be the most rational opinion, also the only one predicated upon “convincing proof”. Show them that they are mistaken about these presuppositions, and they are likely to get angry or quickly disengage. Cognitive dissonance is as painful for atheists as it is for everyone else.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Circular reasoning that swirls and goes right down the drain. We just can’t reach God by human reason, it requires receiving the gift of faith. Punto!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The cross, to those of us being saved, is the power of God. TYJ for that power to be able to have this kind of conversation with non believers.
    God Bless…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing! Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My money would be on that having never happened. The atheist character in the story is too conveniently moronic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Actually, I was the guy who carried his bible and tracts everywhere, looking for opportunities to share christ. Used to think of myself as always on mission, ready and willing.
    I would have been the guy in the plane bugging the atheist for the next 300 miles until we landed.
    Not calling you a liar, but this narrative sounds more fictional than real life. I think you may have had a similar experience and just embellished the dialogue for the sake of the post. Fess up


  7. Reblogged this on PureDisciple and commented:
    I have to confess, I spent several hours last night trying to put together a coherent article on why I am terrified to share my faith publicly.

    And then this.

    I love the highlight that Peter was a simple preacher whose message was was still compelling enough to reach ordinary people.

    Like many others, I suffer from the delusion that it’s my fault if I fail to reach someone so that they are “cut to the heart”. But I don’t have to be an apologist. Some people are gifted with that talent. I’m not. And that’s okay.


    At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!

    Matthew 11:25-26



  8. Nice. I wonder what the fellow is thinking now? What strikes me is that you were just sitting, reading and had your Bible simply visible…just who approached who here? Curious to say the least. I guess even laying a Bible on a lap is somehow imposing oneself on people.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. That was an interesting dialogue. Funny how some presume what Christians will do and what Christianity is all about…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You could have ended it with, “No. Are you going to preach to me?” Heathens think they are the best preachers of why there is no God. 😉

    Liked by 2 people


  1. An atheist troll at 30 thousand feet | Ryan Mijumbi's Blog

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