"Why do you believe in God?" Ronny asked me. I looked at him over the remains of my definitely not Weight Watchers approved cheese enchiladas.
"I think I've covered this before," I said. Ronny is my so-called atheist friend. "So-called" because he has a tendency to pray to God whenever he's in trouble, but backs right out of it when he's in the free and clear again. Lately he backs right out into the position of claiming the universe is empty, random, and meaningless. He's a lot of fun.
"No, seriously, you're intelligent, almost horribly so," he said. "You love science like it's a hot babe. You don't believe in ghosts, witches, vampires or anything else supernatural, except God. Why is He the exception? I don't understand how you can have that one blind spot. It's not like He talks to you."
I dipped a grease-covered chip into warm cheese sauce and contentedly took a bite.
"Well?" he asked.
I sipped my water, regretting that I hadn't ordered a diet root beer. There's just something about root beer and Mexican food that I find enjoyable. Probably the ability to burp non-stop.
"Why aren't you answering?" he asked.
I looked at him for a moment. "Silence is a form of communication."
"What does that mean?"
I shrugged. "I guess it depends on what you think silence means."
"I don't understand."
I nodded. "Yeah, I get that a lot. I used to think that it was because I was weird, but I've come to realize that everyone else is. That's why I should rule the world."
"You're avoiding the question, too."
"For one thing, we have about 15 minutes left before you have to go back to work," I said. "That isn't enough time to even begin to answer your question. Two, I believe in God because I do. I don't expect anyone else to justify their beliefs and don’t intend to justify mine. It works for me. I believe it. What's the problem? Three, I've discovered that people who aren't spiritual lack a certain depth and perspective. Four, are you going to eat the last corn tortilla?"
"No," he said. "So I lack depth? Then why are we friends?"
"I'm slumming," I said, smearing butter on the corn tortilla.
"Am I a project for you?" he asked. "Is that why we're friend? So you can make me a Christian?"
I sighed. "I'm your friend because I'm your friend. I can't make you into a Christian. Everything is your choice. We've got about five minutes so keep up. I believe in God because He believes in me. I don't know how to make it any simpler than that. In my life I have failed many times at many things. I have lied, cheated, insulted, and hurt people. I have a horrible temper. I've messed up personal relationships. I've broken hearts. I've been cruel. I've been vain. I still struggle with all those things. I over-eat." I frowned at the corn tortilla. "Anyway, my point is I'm not very lovable. But every time I fall, even when friends desert me, God still believes in me. He still thinks I can do better, be more, be happy, be a light unto the world, to quote the Bible. He's my best friend. We may fight sometimes, we may not speak for a few days, but when the chips are down, He's in my corner. That doesn't mean that He's willing to throw lightning bolts at my enemies, although I wish He would consider it. But I know even when I'm at my worse, He's still willing to take me in." I picked up my check and rose. "We'd better go."
"I don't understand about that silence thing," he said, following me.
"I don't, either," I said. "But try it sometime and let me know how it works out for you."
We paid and walked out into the bright sunshine.
"I don't believe in God," he said.
I didn't reply.
We went back to our respective lives.