This is a story from back when I was going to school at Trevecca Nazarene University. I have to strain my memory a bit, back to a time when I will still a very sheltered Christian girl going to a Christian University. This is a story about the first agnostic I (knowingly) ever met.
I was living away from home, in a different city even, for the first time in Nashville, TN. I had a car that my parents allowed me to take with me to university, and one day I realized one of the tires was very low on air pressure. This was the first time I’d ever needed to air up my own tire, and I was really out of my comfort zone kneeling next to my car at a gas station in not one of the nicer looking areas of Nashville. I was acutely aware of my own vulnerability as a girl alone and not quite knowing what she was doing. To compound my discomfort I found that no matter how much I twisted I could not get the valve stem loose on the low tire.
It must have been obvious that I was frustrated, because a man about 40 years old pulled nearby in his pickup truck (this is how I remember it anyway), rolled down his window, and asked if I needed help. I let my obvious need for help overcome my nervousness about being alone with a strange man, and accepted his offer. As he was airing my tire, I noticed that he was wearing one of the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets that were popular around the late 1990’s. This put my mind to ease a bit–the man must be a Christian–and I decided to make some conversation about it.
It turned out that I was mistaken about his religious beliefs. He was not a Christian but rather an agnostic. Apparently he admired Jesus, but not some of the Christians he had business dealings with. At the time, it was exceedingly odd to me that someone could admire Jesus but not know whether or not they believed in God. I know better now, but back then that was what I thought “agnostic” meant. I was a bit suspicious about this, but didn’t question him on it since he was being so nice and helping me out.
I’ve never forgotten that helpful agnostic, and his example surely helped relaxed any stereotypes and misgivings I had about non-believers. It was not very long after that when I found that his stance on God was actually pretty reasonable.
So if you are that agnostic that helped a young Christian TNU student air up her tire, that was me. Thanks again!