When Luis Palau arrived in Shanghai last Wednesday for his fifth historic tour of China, the world-renowned evangelist and his team set to work on a proposed book during their two-day stay in the city.
Palau was invited to China by the former Minister of Information Zhao Qizheng to work on a proposed book titled, A Friendly Dialogue Between A Christian and An Atheist." The Shanghai meetings lasted three hours each day and were videotaped by Palaus team. The work began during Palaus last trip to China in May 2005.
On Thursday morning in Shanghai at a press briefing, Nov. 17, Palau and Zhao expressed their reflections on the book, which will be a transcription of their conversation.
An Atheist and a Christian Head to Head
Zhao described himself as a scientist and an architect. He mentioned Darwin's evolution, the purpose of mankind, and the messages of the Bible during their talks.
Dr. Tim Robnett, the director of international festivals of the Luis Palau Association (LPA) called Zhao, diplomatic" and "well informed" on the Bible.
Mr. Zhao had a great understanding of the Bible during the dialogue. He seemed to have a grasp on Scripture even though he is does not believe in it," said Robnett. Although during the dialogue he called himself a scientist and said that he needed proof that God exists in order for him to believe, he also hinted that he has attempted to explore the spiritual side of his life. Throughout the meetings, he was very diplomatic and smooth.
Palau answered questions evangelistically, and refuted Zhao's notion that all scientists are atheists. He gave examples of scientists who are serious believers.
At one point Zhao told Palau that he cannot believe anything that cannot be proven in a laboratory, and Palau said that he is the laboratory to prove that God exist, and he shared how a person can experience God.
Differences Cannot Stop Friendship
Despite the opposing views, the two refused to let their differences get in the way of friendship and mutual understanding.
Palau and Zhao expressed that people should live with "unity in diversity" by respecting each other's religious beliefs.
Palau said that since he began the series of conversation with Zhao in May, both of them feel like they have known each other for a long time.
Palau said the dialogues were "very serious," and that they stimulated him to think about issues that had never occurred to him, which fits with his motive for publishing the new book. He hopes the book will help people with different beliefs deepen their understanding of each other, and build a peaceful world together.
Zhao used a parable to illustrate their dialogue. He said it was like "throwing two stones into a calm lake."
"Even though both stones produced ripples of waves, the most beautiful part is when the rippling waves come together," he said.
Zhao complimented Palau for his skill at using simple language to convey difficult concepts and called the dialogue a "breakthrough."
Palau stated that to be able to speak with an atheist on a friendly basis and then publish a dialogue is a pioneering work that will help America understand China better.
The Luis Palau Association believes the book, to be published in 2006, will be a powerful evangelistic tool that will influence many worldwide. The Chinese government will hold the distribution and translation rights in China, while LPA will distribute it to other parts of the world. The Chinese government told LPA that they hope to distribute the book to millions across China.
Palau suggested Zhao to come to the United States after the book is published to embark on a book signing tour in several major cities.
As part of his weeklong trip in China, Palau spoke at a government-hosted charity conference that talked about solving the nation's poverty. Palau also met up with President Bush at Gangwashi Church in Beijing Sunday morning, and went on to preach at the church about having hope in God.
Christian communicator and author Luis Palau has taken the Gospel to an estimated 20 million people in 70 nations. His radio broadcasts in both English and Spanish are heard by millions more on over 2100 radio stations in 48 countries and authored close to 50 books.