Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Time with Vonnegut and The Atheist in Indiana

In the past few days,  I have an encountered a man who is -  how shall I put this? -   an Evangelical Atheist. I've ever met such a creature before, a man who injects his personal belief in the randomness of life into virtually every conversation. This protegee of Richard Dawkins is convinced of the essential loneliness of the vastness of our universe. I am choosing not to say a word in response and am instead considering why God put this man in front of me.

These encounters are taking place in central Indiana, a place where the sky is big and the churches even bigger. I am visiting here with old family friends and taking a course in downtown Indianapolis on how to teach Kurt Vonnegut. The man in question is one of the conference's hosts.

Understand: I have plenty of friends and family members who don't believe in God. But there seems to be a tacit understanding among us to not "go there," in terms of proselytizing to one another. So these man's words have taken me off guard. While I have been contemplating the why of these encounters I've felt incredibly drawn to looking at the sky. Last night, on a walk in my friends' subdivision, it looked like this:

Then, this afternoon, on my drive from the conference back to my friends' home, it looked like this:

When I look at the beauty of corn fields and clouds, I immediately think of the One who made them. And then, I consider that each of us, including the most lonely ones, is more treasured than any vista could ever be.

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” Kurt Vonnegut in  "The Sirens of Titan"

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