by Universally Philly…
I was talking to someone in the park the other day. No one important, just some old man who came and sat down on the bench beside me. “All thinking men,” he told me, “are atheists.”
“So does that mean,” I said, “that everyone who believes in God is an idiot?”
“Not necessarily,” he said. “I’m not.”
“How so?” I said.
“Well,” he said, “I grew up very much believing in God. But as I grew older, when I went to college, I found that the more I became a thinking man, the further away from God I strayed.”
“So what did you do?” I asked him.
“I just kept going,” he said. “I kept going and going until, just like Juan Sebastian De Elcano, I wound up right back where I started from, only wiser.”
Juan Sebastian De Elcano, not Magellan, was the first man to sail around the world. He took over as captain of the ship Victoria when Magellan was murdered by natives in the Philippines in 1521.
“And are there many men like you?” I asked.
“Not many,” he said. “Most don’t make it back.”
“What happens to them?” I asked.
“Don’t know,” he said. “Maybe they just fall off the face of the Earth.”
Maybe, I thought,
“The man who came up with the Big Bang theory,” he said, “the Belgian astronomer and physics professor, Georges Lemaître, was a priest, you know.”
I did not know that.
“Only, he called it the Hypothesis of the Primeval Atom. The Big Bang, that was something intellectuals came up with just to belittle him.
“You see,” he said, “Father Lemaître believed in the existence of an ever-expanding, infinite Universe. But the intellectuals, they all agreed the universe was limited. Even Albert Einstein thought the Universe was finite. The whole scientific community went against Father Lemaître, and for more than thirty years, all the way up to the time of his death, they all treated him some kind of pariah.
“But in the end they all came around, and today the Big Bang, the Hypothesis of the Primeval Atom, is the theory accepted by most scientists. Father Lemaître stuck it out for more than thirty years, ridiculed, shunned, isolated, but in the end he was proven right. And do you know why?”
I did not.
“Because the monsignor had the one thing those intellectuals did not. He had the one thing that cannot be calculated, quantified, or confirmed. He had faith.
“Don’t you find it curious,” he said, “that the man who discovered the very origin of the Universe was himself a man of God.”
I had to say, I was. And I thought: it really is a whole lot easier just not to believe in God. But who wants to be limited? Who wants to be finite? What kind of life is that?
Who the hell was that old man? I never saw him again. Boy did just he drop a two-ton brick on my head.
About the Author
Philip Loyd loves fat chicks and cheap beer, though not necessarily in that order. His first novel, You Lucky Bastard, is represented by New York Literary Agent Jan Kardys. Loyd lives in Dumbass, Texas. Find out more about Loyd at http://PhilipLoyd.com
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