In Which the Testimony of a Freshman Leaves Me Struck with Awe

I have these freshman boys…

Last year’s freshmen were slow.  Really slow.  They did not discuss or participate.  This year’s freshmen, at least the ones I have, are reading at or above grade level.  Their problems are more behavioral, as in they cannot be quiet or even sit for long periods of time.  Having said that, though, if you heard what they talk about and apparently think about, you would have hope.

It all started when we read “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury.  This is an adventure story, and since there are ten boys and four girls in our class, the adventure stories go over well. If you haven’t read the story, you really should.  You will see shades of Jurassic Park (the book) and The Butterfly Effect in it.  Bradbury was first.

Anyway…  The story is about time travel and how, if you change something in the past, you might change something in the future, and the change in the future might not necessarily be for the good.  The kids loved it.

In the never-ending search for writing prompts, I shared an idea with the teacher that related to the story.  A long time ago, someone showed me a political cartoon where a man was on his knees, beseeching God to send someone to earth who could cure cancer.  God’s response was that He had sent someone.  However, that someone had been aborted.  Have you seen the cartoon?

The teacher decided that would make a good writing prompt, so the kids have an assignment, due tomorrow, in which they have to pick a decision they have made, real or imaginary, that had or will have far-reaching effects.  The teacher shared that if he had not transferred colleges, he might never have met his wife, had his kids, been their teacher.  They got the idea.

Like I said, “my” boys tend to be, um… boisterous, so they had a quiz after our discussion and I took them out of the room for it.  They were still interested in the discussion, and somehow their conversation segued into religion.  A few of the kids asked me if I believed in God, and I answered that I did.  They told me they understood that I could not talk about it, but if they asked me questions, I could answer. One, the one who became the most vocal later, said he was glad that I had answered because otherwise, that would mean that I was ashamed of my faith.   Four of them revealed that they were Christians, and one boy vehemently announced that there was no God, declaring that he was an atheist.

I listened to the conversation, wondering if I should intervene.  I can’t believe I thought this, but I was wondering if the atheist thought he was being harassed.  He appeared to be holding his own, though so I let things continue.  There was a lot of interplay until the boy who said he was atheist said he didn’t believe there was a hell.

One of the others responded with, “It doesn’t matter what you believe.”

The atheist was irate and said, “What do you mean, it doesn’t matter what I believe?  If it doesn’t matter what I believe, then it doesn’t matter what you believe!”

This answer, which is far more succinct than any many adults would make, was what left me awestruck:”That’s not what I meant.  What I meant was that there is a hell, and if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, you’re going there.  It doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not.”

The boy who says he is atheist said…nothing.

Who says there isn’t Christianity in the public schools?

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1 Response to “In Which the Testimony of a Freshman Leaves Me Struck with Awe”


  1. 1 The Nephew September 12, 2008 at 8:33 am

    I LIKE THAT BOOK TOO. THEY USE THE BASIS OF THE STORY IN MANY MNAY MOVIES AND BOOKS, MORE THAN JUST THE ONES YOU MENTIONED. THEN THEY TRY TO PULL IT OFF AS THERE OWN IDEA. BUT WHO KNOWS MAYBE THEY HAVE NEVER READ IT. I REALLY LIKE HIS FAHRENHEIT 451 TOO. THEY ARE BOTH GREAT.
    MELISSA


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