The Heathen in Search of God
He is a heathen and damn proud of it. Zealously guarding his soul from those who would save it, he is a card-carrying cynic, who lives next door to an agnostic, across the street from an atheist. Call him a sinner and he gleefully responds “damn right.” He wants only to be left alone, to sin vigorously as he sees fit.
Seeking neither religion nor redemption he desires no ticket to heaven. The only time he attends church is when someone dies or gets married. And such is his level of cynicism that he sees little difference between the two. Many are the times when he doubts the existence of God. To which the Father merely shrugs.
The world is indeed a nasty place. With bombings and beheadings, riots and revolutions, terrorist and terrorism, desperate migrants flee war-torn countries. And we are all complicit in this evil. Bearing witness to the obscene practice of “boy play”, American soldiers ignore the cries of young boys raped by Afghan allies.
At home, politicians fan the flames of intolerance. While under the guise of non political correctness, hateful and indecent speech is lauded as brave truth-telling.
Being the Heathen that he is, he shouldn’t care. But damn it he does. He can’t help it. Cursed with understanding, burdened by knowledge and aware of the source of these blessings, he feels the pull of destiny, the obligation of responsibility and the requirement of action. His is not the path of indifference. And he because he can make a difference then he must make a difference.
Still, this is a journey he does not wish to make. Scarred senseless and hobbled by all manner of issues, the Heathen is conflicted. He knows the depths to which he can sink; the evil of which he is capable. Surely there are others more qualified for this assignment.
And as sapient as he is, his much vaunted intellect is not enough. To transcend his limitations he must fling himself across the void. He cannot do so alone. He must believe.
The Heathen therefore seeks an audience with God. It is the only way to discern what if anything the divine would have him do. And for this he will brook no intermediaries. No minister or priest, preacher or deacon, saint or sinner will spin God’s reply.
The way will not be easy. There are those who will not take lightly to his quest, taking great umbrage at his audacity; his nerve. He is a Heathen. How dare he question the will of God?
However, much evil is committed by the most holy. It is exceedingly odd that the very people who profess love, forgiveness, compassion and redemption are often void of love, forgiveness, compassion and redemption.
This is the mountain he cannot climb. This is the sea he cannot cross, the obstacle he cannot hurdle. Misanthropist though he may be the Heathen is not an agnostic and hardly an atheist. His roots are divinely planted, as much as he’d like to pretend otherwise. He searches for God because by finding the divine he affirms himself.
But he is not so desperate for validation that he will do anything to be validated. He may be blind cripple and crazy but there are limits to what he will do even in his quest for God. The evil that emanates from modern-day Pharisees is like the stench of a dung heap. It does more than distract him; more than deepen his skepticism. It drives him away from the divine.
It is late in the evening and he is bone weary. He plops uneasily into his anything but easy chair to watch the tube and dine on some meal prepared by some Jack in some box. With a crumpled napkin he blots excessive grease from oily fries and consumes as best he can his processed meat and fried tubers.
With somber music playing in the background he wonders. ‘Is the whole universe like this? Do people on other planets in other star systems behave as do we? Or is evil exclusive to the mud ball called earth?’
Anything but serene and overcome by uncertainty he whispers a shout to God. “Here am I, where are you?’
After a moment’s pause, as if to both answer and confound him, God replies not in booming tones, heavenly light or hell fire damnation. Rather, a clock ticks, a fan whirls and a fly settles on his half eaten burger.
All of which makes the Heathen smile. He asked for an answer and God provided so much more. We are each touched by tragedy and burdened by qualm. The Heathen is no exception. But we are nevertheless obligated to use what we have to do the best we can. And what the Heathen does best is to ask questions, search for answers, challenge the system and model the way. It is a task for which he is well suited and uniquely armored.
This is a path not of his choosing. Yet, it is a journey the Heathen cannot avoid; a call he cannot ignore whether he likes it or not.
And whether authored by man, Satan or the Almighty himself, the question is not why evil exist? It is enough that it does. The query is instead, what are we going to do about it? God leaves it to us to determine when, where and how to make a difference.
So let the Heathen disbelieve if he must. Let him bemoan his fate until he can cry no more. Let him wring his hands, shake his head and complain until the inner circle of hell freezes over. The Heathen need not worry about finding God. God has found him. And there is not a damn thing he can do about it.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum