I heard a loud and enthusiastic voice shouting, “D.D.! LAUREL!” while I was getting our tickets to enter the Natural History Museum with my two little girls. They were visiting the museum store and had made a new friend, Huy Tran. He had no way of knowing what was going to hit him…
I rushed inside to find out what was up, did a slow-motion “Matrix” scan of the surroundings, and popped the question to Huy (pronounced “We”): “I have to ask you something, what do you think the question might be?”
“Are the bathrooms around the corner?” he answered.
“Nooo,” I replied.
“Is the restaurant downstairs?” he said confidently.
D.D. piped in, “Do you believe in Jesus?”
That was indeed the question. She had heard me ask it in a variety of ways, many times. She was bold and unafraid to proclaim Jesus to a dying, sinful, Hell-bound world. She was not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. She is also five years old and hasn’t yet learned to be timid about her faith.
“Jesus Christ died for your sins,” she explained, “was buried for three days and rose again. If you believe, you will go to Heaven.
I whispered to her, “And he needs to repent of his sins…”
“I’m a Buddhist!” Huy declared.
“Really?” I said. “What do you do about sin? Ever lied?”
“If you sin just once you go to Hell,” D.D. said truthfully. Never has a Dad been so proud to hear his daughter tell someone that they were going to Hell.
“D.D.,” I interrupted, “He believes in exactly the opposite of what we believe. He has to work to get to get to Nirvana. Is that right, Huy?”
Huy’s a sweet-natured, talkative guy and was willing to engage us in spiritual matters. “We have to learn The Four Noble Truths: 1) All life is suffering; 2) Suffering comes from desire; 3) Free yourself from desire; 4) When you are able to free yourself from desire then you can achieve Bliss.”
“How do you know if you’ve achieved it?” I asked.
Huy hesitated, “Uhhh…I don’t know.”
“It’s kind of interesting…” I replied, “In Christianity there are a few parallels to your beliefs but with different conclusions. Suffering in the world is a result of sin; desire gives birth to sin; you can free yourself from sin by believing that Jesus paid the price; and you can go to Heaven because of what Jesus did for you!”
We shook hands and the girls and I left to see an exhibit based on a book called, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.”