When the man first struck up a conversation with me, he had no idea that I was in the religion business. Once my little secret got out, though, he appointed me mother confessor to his catalog of grievances against all the religious people who'd ever wounded him.

At great length, I heard how his mom had been an evangelical preacher, on fire for the Word, and boy did he admire her—except that he didn't know the Bible as well and probably never would. Then it was about how he wouldn't mind going to worship, but church people are full of condemnations about a nice cold beer on a hot afternoon. At last he insisted that he investigates doctrines before believing in them. He won't just buy into any old idea, unlike those Roman Catholics who swallow anything they're told. I thought his bias rather unnecessary, not to mention inaccurate, but otherwise I felt inclined to commend his ardent search for a credible faith.

Then he dropped the verbal bomb.

"What I'd really like is to get my hands on those scrolls," he said.

"Scrolls? You mean the Dead Sea Scrolls?"

"Naw, those were discovered in 1947. I'm talking about the scrolls that were discovered in 1991."

"Scrolls discovered in 1991?" I said, confused.

"Yeah, these scrolls were written by Christ himself! You know, the Roman Catholic Church is trying to cover them up and say they're heresy. But I'd sure like to see them for myself. They say there's totally different things in there!"

I was a little suspicious. "How did you find out about these scrolls?" I inquired as casually as possible.

"Well, I read about them on a Christian website. They say the forensic evidence dates them back to the time of Christ and to the very town he lived in before he died. Also," he added, "they're written in Christ's ...

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