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The Atheist and the Lion

An atheist was on a hike when he became lost in some dense woods. A large angry lion, with ten starving cubs back home and claws like kitchen knives, suddenly emerged from the undergrowth. Seeing the lion, the atheist screamed in terror, turned and ran. The lion was quicker however, and after a long and desperate chase eventually cornered the atheist in a gully.

The exhausted atheist sank to his knees, shaking. The lion, seeing that its prey was trapped, moved slowly towards the petrified man, drooling. The lion was drooling too. The atheist lifted his head, with tears in his eyes, and uttered the words he thought he would never say in all his life: “God help me…”

With these simple three words, a blinding flash of lightning lit up the sky. There was a deafening crash of thunder. The clouds parted. A brilliant light shone down. The forest fell silent. The lion froze still, in a trance. The atheist stood gaping, transfixed.

A voice came loud from above.

“You atheists make me seriously mad,” boomed the voice, “You deny me all your life. You tell others to deny me too. You put your faith in all manner of things, and then what a surprise – you get lost because you can’t read your map, and now you’re about to get eaten by an angry lion all of a sudden you’re on your knees snivelling and begging for my help? You must be joking…”

The atheist looked down, realizing that he was not arguing from a position of strength.

“Okay, I take your point,” said the atheist, thinking on his feet, while he still had them, “I can see it’s a bit late for me to convert, but what about the lion? Maybe you could convert the lion instead?”

“Hmmn… interesting idea…” said God, “…Okay. It shall be done.” At which the brilliant light dimmed and vanished; the clouds closed; and the noises of the forest resumed.

The lion awoke and shook its head, a completely different expression on its face. Calm, at peace.

The lion closed its eyes, bowed its head, and said, “For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful, Amen.”

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