Our chat had been friendly and neighborly for some time as we shared a libation. He had come to welcome me to the area, I thought. Or, was it to check me out, to delve more deeply into the kind of person I was?
“What kind of books do you write?” he ultimately asked, eyeing the few books I had in the den.
“Fiction, mostly, crime novels – some inspired by true cases, romance novels, memoirs, and one government rant and rave.”
“You seem pretty much removed from that kind of writing. I mean, you mentioned faith! Figure you to be writing about God and Religion.” He seemed almost smirking.
“Why people do what they do interests me…so I write about evil, love, romance, mayhem, murder, and level it all out with politics. I try to keep my language fairly clean.”
“Yes, I’m sure you do. You don’t write about your faith?”
“Sure, Faith is in everything I write.”
“Well, everybody has to be somewhere…as they say.”
We had talked about mundane matters for some time, and I noticed him glancing at his watch. We had discovered some rather astonishing facts about each other. He was about to leave my den and return to his own home, but I had to ask him a question.
“Why do you not believe in God?”
“Many reasons, infused in History, Science, Technology…in what I can see, hear, and feel.”
“What in history, science, and technology so dictate your disbelief?” I asked.
“Are you a man of History, Science, and Technology?” He asked back.
“I am just a man who has dabbled in these areas but not a master of either. Are you a master historian, scientist, and technologist?” I answered.
“No, of course, I am not, but I have studied long and meticulously in the areas, enough to formulate a viable thesis. Do you intend for me to dispel with argument each book of the bibles? Do you intend for me to argue at length about the evolution of man, the ‘Big Bang’ theory, and the scientific timeline accuracy of the historical record through the millennia?”
I weighed carefully my response and decided to thrust forward. There was no doubt we each were wearing on each other.
“My initial question was asked with the hope that you could simply give me a few thoughts which would erase for me the arrogance of your staunch atheist statement you made earlier, ‘There is no God’! Without my suggesting it, you know you have the right to any belief you wish to have. It just seems boldly noxious to me when someone can be so certain, so matter of fact, to counter the belief of billions of people in our world… Now, agnosticism presents a more humble position and one that many true believers of Christianity encounter at some point in their lives…myself included. Perhaps you could just dwell on what you see, hear, and feel to answer the question.”
He responded sharply. “I shall ignore your own arrogance and tell you this… I can see no God. I can hear no God. I can feel no God. I do not, nor have I ever gotten caught up in the emotionalism required to kneel and pray to a Deity, to ask for things that I can pretty well provide for myself. In the historical record, in the Science, and, in the technology, those theories presented to me hold much weight and I subscribe 100% to them. If that makes me arrogant, so be it!”
My turn. “You can see no God… Can you not see the sun rise in the sky, break through a cloudy day, to smile at you, to warm you and caress you? Can you not see the ocean waves break on the beautiful sand beaches, look far out to a distant horizon and wonder what lies beyond? Can you not see the deserts and the mountains in all their beauty, allow your mind to imagine beyond the various ages and how they came to be? Can you not see the wonder in a child’s eyes in discovering how to read, how to solve a math problem, how to bond with a friend? Can you not see the miracle of creation during those nine meticulous months of a woman’s pregnancy? Can you not see love in the hearts of people, in their charity, in their passion, in their relationships?
”You can hear no God… Can you not hear Him in a bird’s tweet and frolic? In the lonesome wail of a distant train whistle? In the mellifluous sounds of a mountain brook? In the caressing whisper of the wind as it gently passes through the trees? In a child’s uncontrollable laughter while at play? In the words of love songs, crying out in need of extension to our normal living? In the sweet happy moans of a pet in greeting as you walk through the door? In the sated sounds of a loved one during embrace? In the sobs of distress at an emotional moment of a good book or movie? In the dying words of loved ones, knowing at last in those final moments their ultimate destination, smiling with a warm glowing face and a secret only they can know?
“You can feel no God… Can you not feel the tender kiss of a sweetheart or wife? Can you not feel love’s most wondrous orgasmic releases? Can you not feel the excitement of friendships? The therapy of a warm bath or shower, the wonder of water? The regret of mistakes made, of taking a wrong road in your life’s journey? The pain of an injury and the joy of its relief? The awe of a new experience which mysteriously felt somehow familiar, as though you knew those moments? The child with a terminal illness, still smiling through the sadness at his world, kept alive with hope and love of family and friends? The emotions in the still of night when remembering a loved one who passed? The soft hand that touched you but was gone when you turned to look?
“Instead of you telling me why you do not believe in God, I have given my reasons for belief, hopefully not in an arrogant way. My faith is fragile but it is there within me, through those years of sinful living and agnosticism. There is very little in life that is more important to me than my faith. Yes, I stray from it, make other things sometimes seemingly more important, but my faith is found in the tears I shed for others, in the sorrow of my bad yesterdays, in the inherent good I know is within me…”
His turn. “Your words seem to convince you of your Deity. You need not hear my words of negation to your God. I fear my algorithm would be too difficult for you to understand. It is time for me to go…”
He stood and walked to the door, my parting words trailing after him.
“Let my voice be but mumbling to you, but go with God! AND, one last thing: get over yourself!”
Billy Ray Chitwood
http://twitter.com/brchitwood (@brchitwood) – Follow me.
http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (IAN – Independent Author Network) – Bio and my Books
Feel free to respond and thanks for indulging the blog awards that follow… I’m proud of them.