"Will you give your life to Jesus?" asked little Mary Jane as she thrust a Bible tract into the hand of a big man in the middle of the shopping center. Her target pushed the tract into his pocket and rushed off. Mary Jane hoped she was doing her work right, she hoped Jesus would be pleased with her. More important she hoped her parents would think she was doing the job right and wouldn't be angry with her. Her father took very seriously those parts of the Bible that teach sparing the rod spoils the child as did the pastor at the church the family attended. [1]

A group of mostly young people went past, Mary Jane didn’t recognise the Darwin Fish and Atheism symbols that some were wearing but they looked ,”worldly” and the pastor told Mary Jane often that worldly folk need Jesus especially. Mary Jane was shocked when some of the group laughed and crumpled up her leaflets, others threw them into the nearest trash. An atheist from the group who looked serious minded went up to the little girl.

“Please give your life to Jesus!” Mary told him as she had been taught.

“Do you remember the hurricane and flooding that happened recently in the south west?”

“Yes” Mary told him, our church is making a collection to get relief for the victims, we’ll also try and bring the victims to Jesus.”

“Jesus can’t be real!” the atheist told her with conviction, “If Jesus existed, he wouldn’t allow floods like that to happen.”

Mary Jane’s older sister hurried Mary away, she told Mary to ignore godless comments but Mary couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d been told. For the first time in her life Mary Jane began to doubt if God existed.

The following years saw Mary Jane going to church and to Bible study with her family as before. Sometimes she forgot her doubts, other times she wondered if what her family and her group worshiped was real. The pastor told her she should pay no attention to godless doubts and she shouldn’t intellectualise. Mary Jane wondered what intellectualise means but understood the pastor thought she was bad.


  1. This sometimes happens, children are encouraged to proselytize. See Children proselytizing at Jesus Camp
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