A Good Kind of Crying

by Brett Kunkle

I’ve never had someone cry after my atheist role-play. Until now.

In September, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents from Village Academy Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Earlier in the day, I taught the junior and senior high students at chapel and spoke to three different twelfth grade classes. I role played an atheist with the seniors to give them a glimpse of the intellectual challenges awaiting them at college, and decided to give the parents, who had come out for an evening lecture, a glimpse in the same way.

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There was no surprise factor. The parents knew who I was and the Christian organization I represented. Indeed, I told the audience what I was about to do, turned my back on them for just a moment, and then turned round again in full atheist character. I jumped into my role and they jumped into theirs, attempting to defend the faith against atheist professor “Dr. Kunkle.” Sadly, they were ill-equipped to handle my challenges. I was glad to see their fighting spirit, but their responses were only vigorous in style, not substance. After half an hour, many parents were exasperated and I ended the role-play.

“How was that for you?” I asked. “Extremely frustrating,” was the immediate parental consensus.

“Why was it so frustrating?” I pressed. One mom blurted out, “Because I didn’t have any good answers.” As soon as the words left her mouth, tears began streaming down her cheeks…

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