My problem is...
He seemed perplexed at my response and wanted to make it clear that I would be rewarded for helping him. He said, "Don't you think god will be kind to you?"
"I don't think about god", I replied.
He paused. He seemed confused. He then asked me a more direct question...
"Don't you believe in god?"
"I don't believe", I said.
At that moment, his face took on a tortured expression. His wince expressed a deep pain. He seemed to be experiencing angst. In an instant he was resolved to enlighten me.
"Have you read the bible?", he asked.
"Yes", I replied.
"Then your problem is", he said with pity, "that you read it like a newspaper"
He proceeded to tell me how he reads the bible, how he prays and how he has the feeling of god inside of him. I listened very carefully to him expound his religious view. It involved the force of god in battle with the force of evil. He was very animated - he spoke with emotion. For a couple of minutes he delivered his speech and I listened quietly - paying close attention to his words. Although he did not come outright and say it, he implied that horrible things happen to those who do not believe in god. Part of this involved his motivation to do good in the world - that is, in order to get to heaven. I spoke -
"So you act righteously and believe in god in order to go to heaven...in order to get something for yourself?"
"Yes!", he emphatically responded.
His honesty was refreshing. I would have delved deeper into this response but he quickly continued on about the rewards he was to reap in the afterlife. All the while, birds sang in a nearby tree and the green grass was brilliantly lit up by the warm sun.
"Your problem is", he empathetically stated, "that your culture has raised you to believe that god doesn't exist"
"I don't recall claiming that god doesn't exist", I replied in order to correct his misconception.
He stalled. Again, he appeared confused. Disinterested in clarification, he proceeded to explain what my problem is. He told me how I was raised in a godless culture. This was my problem and was why I didn't have the "feeling of god" in me. He knew I was raised in north america but nothing beyond that. I was curious as to how he had put together this image.
After some time, he seemed to have said everything he wanted to say. I told him I needed to run and thanked him for the conversation.