Late in 2007, a courageous Christian dropped a handful of one of our tracts ("The Atheist Test") at a gathering of atheists, who meet once a month at the local IHOP at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. The atheists then invited me to join them for dinner on January 8th, 2008.
They requested that I get there an hour early to "set a baseline," because some of their members "do get a bit hot headed when discussing religion." I accepted their invitation and decided to take my manager with me (Mark Spence is the Dean of the "School of Biblical Evangelism"). Before we went I got permission to also take a handheld HD camera. I was determined not to go there to win an argument, but to simply show that I deeply cared for them as people, as most atheists seem to have the impression that Christians don't like them.
We arrived about five minutes early, shook hands and sat down. After the orders were taken, I quietly approached the waiter and told him to give me the bill for the entire party. When he brought it to me I was almost shaking with excitement. If someone had tried to take it off me I would have physically fought them. I felt like I used to feel with my kids early on Christmas morning. When they found out that I had personally paid the tab they were very grateful, polite, pleasant, kind, and extremely thankful (see 1 Peter 2:15).
The experience was a highlight of my life. Then about ten of us huddled around a table and talked about the things of God for about an hour. It was up close and personal. Mark answered every question and objection they had, calmly and eloquently. It's all on film and we hope to be able to make it available through the ministry (to them and you) in a month or so.
I took copies of my new book, How to Know God Exists, and all the folks at our table wanted one (it's a strange feeling signing books for atheists). Then we posed for pictures and left, almost bursting with joy after such a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with these dear people. Maybe the next time they meet for dinner (at the International House of Prayer) hundreds will show up saying "We heard that this is the atheist group where you get a free meal." Seriously though, please pray for the "Orange County Atheists."