Woman: Do you think God loves you?
Man: I don't believe in God. So your question has no meaning. Okay, I'll be honest. He may exist or he might not exist, but either way, I don't think he cares. Why trouble yourself asking me, anyway? How does it help you whether I care or not if he loves me. Besides, if he exists, he's awfully far away and could probably care less what happens to me.
Woman: That's where you're wrong, if you don't mind me saying so.
Man: Go ahead; it's a free country, as they say. We don't have to agree about most things, anyway. But, really, why do you care? I'm fine like I am. I never give God much thought, anyway.
Woman: Perhaps, you don't think he loves you or cares about you, so automatically you may be thinking, "why should I care?" But maybe, if he did exist, and you felt that he didn't care about you, that doesn't sound like what God should be like? Or am I offending you by reading things into your answers?
Man: I like you, so I'm putting up with this just to be nice, but, really, it's kind of funny that you Christians are so preoccupied whether others think God loves them or not, or whether we think he cares or doesn't care about us. I have other things to keep me busy, like how I'm going to buy a new car after the last one got banged up badly by some nut on the midnight express lane.
Woman: Yeah, it must seem funny to some people, but the reason I ask, is because God means a lot to me. I've been around talk about God since I was a little girl, and though at times I was more afraid or disinterested in him, most of the time, I sensed that he really did love me and cared about what happened to me, the good and bad things I went through all my life.
Man: Well, I guess we were brought up differently. My family was not religious; they were artsy people--always going to museums and the opera, and stuff like that. There really was no need or time for God in my family. It wasn't even talked about. I got what little information I did get about God from standing on street corners when some lunchtime christians would give their talk about what Christ had done for them. It always used to perplex me why they bothered as very few people seemed to pay them any attention, or had anything nice to say about them anyway. It even annoyed me, when one woman in particular came to the mike and said "Every knee shall bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.' Or something like that. I probably got the words wrong. But it bothered me that she was so arrogant in saying that every knee was going to bow, as if Christ were the only God around. How about Buddah, and all those other religions or deities that people believed in? What made Christ so special that she insisted that every knee was going to bow, whether they wanted to or not? I thought, "boy, is she ever going to be surprised when that never happens in human history," but, of course, how would she ever know if it happend or not?
Woman: Wow, and I thought I was going to be the one to, ahem, do the talking. I guess you've said more than I ever would have had courage to say. But, I'm glad you're being so candid. I wish I felt at ease to be as candid as you seem to be. It sounds to me that you've thought about this question or issue at least a bit, or used to anyway. Otherwise, why would you even stand and shake your head at that lunchtime crowd of street evangelists as opposed to crossing the street so you didn't have to hear them?
Man: When you're in New York City on your lunch break, there's an element of boredom or rush or both, and that crowd always made me laugh, of course, when they didn't get under my skin. I always expected them to start jumping up and down, but, unfortunately, I never saw them do that.
Woman: So you stood there to laugh at them?
Man: Hey, sorry, I'm just being honest. At least I stood there. Most people would have crossed the street or rolled their eyes and kept on going--oblivious to the fact that those street talkers were even there every lunch hour, even in winter.
Woman: Did you stop to think of why they thought it important to be there every day? Some of them probably skipped lunch to be out there every day in the the middle of the work day? Was that in Rockeffer Center where you used to work when you lived in Manhattan?
Man: Look, I see you've getting very defensive or protective about these people that you've never met and, probably, they're not even of your own denomination, so why should you care so much. It sounds like you care more about their feelings than mine.
Woman: I care because I know why they were out there every lunch hour. I would have joined them even if we didn't see eye to eye on every point.
Man: Ok, you've made your point. Let's have a bite to eat. You can tell me more some other time when my stomach is not growling so much.
Woman: Yes, let's do that. I wouldnt want my agnostic friend fainting from hunger on the boulevard in front of the Ritz Carlton.