G.K. Chesterton once commented that people without religion do not end up believing nothing. They believe everything.
I was thinking about that from a conversation I had with a tour guide on the island of Santorini. He was a man from Montreal, of Greek ancestry, who had ended up on the island of his dreams. He was remarkably candid about his life. He had unpaid bills in Canada, and felt he could not go back for fear of his creditors. He spoke of his divorce and the man who was now living with his former wife. He claimed it was a happy relationship, but I doubted it.
At one point, I stopped to have coffee with him, and we chatted for a little over a half an hour. I told him that I had noticed his earlier comment when he said he had a tattoo of a Greek god on his forearm. Even though he was raised Catholic, he wanted to cover all his bases. I asked him to tell me of his Greek deity and how it helped him cover his bases. To my surprise, he showed me his other arm, depicting yet another Greek deity. Clearly he was covering as many bases as possible.
I then asked him about his Catholic upbringing. He told me he no longer believed what the priests had taught him. I asked him if he might tell me specifically what it is that he had rejected. Instead of telling me, he told me that he had heard of the gospel of Judas, and so clearly there were more stories of Jesus than the church had mentioned. I asked him what he knew about the gospel of Judas, and it turns out he knew very little. I asked him if he knew the difference between an eye-witness historical account, and an account written hundreds of years later. At that moment, we suddenly came to the heart of the matter. He told me, “Who knows what the truth is?”
In the process of that short conversation, my Canadian guide in Santorini told me that aliens had built the pyramids. Again I asked him how he knew that, since a great many archeological digs have been done to establish not only how, but who built the pyramids. His answer came back to the same rehearsed line. “Who knows what the truth is?”
I have reflected upon our short conversation. In the process, I did tell him why Jesus came, why He died, and what claim He made on his life. But, you guessed it, “Who knows what the truth is?” And all of that told me why he was covering as many bases as he possibly could.
As odd and as outlandish as a part of that conversation was, it did get me thinking. How does any human being come to the place where they both disbelieve everything, even while they also believe everything at the same time? What was also fascinating is that my guide didn’t present himself to me as a man who was confused, but rather a man who possessed great uncertainty.
I couldn’t help but remember Romans 1:22. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Needless to say, I made very little progress in sharing the gospel.