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Defending the Faith: Try to imagine why others believe what they believe

Years ago, while doing graduate studies in Egypt, I was introduced by an Egyptian friend to a chemistry professor at the University of Cairo. After a pleasant conversation, the professor wondered aloud what an American was doing in Egypt, studying Arabic and Islam. "Are you a Muslim?" he inquired. When I answered that no, I wasn't, he asked, "Why not?"

Such a question is, of course, a bit sensitive and difficult for anyone to answer who hopes to avoid offense or argument. So I answered, simply, "I'm a Christian."

"Really?" replied the professor. "You believe that God has a son (which, of course, everybody knows is completely impossible), and that he sent his son to earth and arranged to have that son killed in order to buy himself off?" I replied that, while that wasn't exactly how I would have phrased it, I do in fact believe something along those lines. "Amazing!" exclaimed the professor. "How can any intelligent person possibly believe anything so obviously crazy?"

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