Perhaps I need to go back a few years to imagine this:
I walk up to a bar at a tavern and wait my turn to order a drink. Behind me five men sit at a table playing cards with some money in the middle, ready to be moved to the player who turn up trumps. A heavy pall of cigarette smoke hangs over the table. These guys look tough. Each wearing a tee-shirt exposing barrel-shaped biceps, as if the result of years of heavy labour. Also beside each one stood an unfinished pint of ale. Not lager, but darker, stronger ale. Eventually I order my drink, and catch the attention of one of them as I turn around, and as a column of smoke drift out of his mouth, his eyes widen and watches me make my way to another table nearby to sit alone to sip at my glass of Babycham, complete with cherry on a stick. In next to no time all five on the other table laugh and guffaw. Why? My Babycham is just as alcoholic, if not more so, than their beer. Then one blows a wolf-whistle and shouts, "Poofter!"
Maybe I alter the story a little. One of then knows me and beckons me over.
"Tomorrow we have our Sunday morning match. The Rugby club is just a mile away from here. Why not give us your support?"
"Er, I can't. I need to go somewhere else."
"C'mon mister, what's all this about?"
"Er...er-hum, I er - I go to church - ahem - on Sundays." I stammered.
The guys slapped their hands on their knees as their united chorus of laughter momentary attracts attention from everyone else in the pub.
I gulped down the last of the Babycham and with the cherry stick protruding out of my mouth like a cigarette, I saunter out and decided to make the trip to the college bar, at the next town a few miles away.
I assume the better educated will be much more tolerant. After all. the majority at my fellowship are middle class and hold professional jobs.
As I sat in the bus, I couldn't help ponder...tough guys?
I wondered whether any of them would with determination make his way to a city knowing full well that once there, he would be falsely accused, stand at a sham trial and then executed - put to death, not by lethal injection but by hanging for hours on end, nailed to a cross. Yet he pressed on, even as his best friend pleaded with him not to go there. He also knew that he must refuse any sedative, and bear the full brunt of his pain. And on top of this, endure the cruel teasing and mockery from the baying crowd surrounding him. He knew all that lay ahead, yet he pressed on, determined to get to Jerusalem and face the ordeal.
Yet I bet none at that table were half as brave or determined as this Jesus of Nazareth. Sure, they might join the army and train to fight, but that is more for adventure, with the added flavour of the risk to die for the country. But all this is heroism, a form of self-worship. Jesus of Nazareth marched to Jerusalem to die a criminal's death, not an heroic one.
I got off the bus and made for the college bar. I have a friend who attends this college and he has given me a special pass, to allow me to use their bar. I ordered another drink, a Coke this time, and sat at a table among a group of chatting students, some aspiring to graduate as medical doctors.
"Yes, I go to Church on Sundays - " I replied with much more ease than at the tavern earlier that evening.
"Oh, for heaven's sake, we have a Creationist here among us!" One of the students exclaimed.
"So you believe in Evolution?" I asked.
Of course we believe in evolution! Charles Darwin as PROVED that Creationism is bunkum. Look there is his mugshot:"
"Okay," I said. "But wasn't there a possibility that he could have been mistaken?"
"Oh come on now! People like you are still living in the Dark Ages. It's about time you caught up with our scientific facts borne out by years of research."
Another student piped up,
"One of our top evolutionists is Professor Richard Dawkins, a disciple of Charles Darwin."
"The atheist who wrote the book The God Delusion?"
"He's the one. Such a researcher! He has ripped all false belief systems to shreds, especially Christianity."
"And now this whole nation is moving away from such falsehood through him. He is our Great Enlighten-er. It's a matter of time now before all churches will eventually close down, and all this ridiculousness will be thrown into the bin for good. Then the nation and the Western World will live in the enlightened era of science!"
All the students present looked triumphant. They all knew I was outwitted.
"Okay," I concluded, "but I believe the hospitals will soon burst at the seams with a greater influx of patients."
"Because Jesus Christ of Nazareth said before he was crucified,
'Do not worry what you shall eat or what you shall drink or what you should wear... For your Heavenly Father knows you need these things...Look at the birds, you are worth much more than them, yet your Father feeds them...but you seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you...'"
"But what has this got to do with our discussion? We are talking about Dawkins here."
"Aren't some of you aspiring to become doctors?" I asked.
"Then any doctor will tell you that WORRY is the main underlying cause of most illnesses and diseases. Didn't you know that his advice I just quoted PREVENTS much of these ailments? And he was a firm Creationist!"
Leaving the bar I took the last bus home.