atheists in broom closets
One of my best friends had a gig a number of years ago working on an island in the Caribbean for a time. It was a pretty sweet deal; the job entailed monitoring a portable sludge dewatering belt press which did not need a lot of monitoring. Which meant making periodic adjustments to the equipment which was on the beach in between sessions of snorkeling. Adding to the sweetness, the visa he worked under only allowed for him to be in the country for two weeks at a time, with two weeks off required before he could return. So he “worked” two, eighty hour weeks at a time, accruing vast amounts of overtime pay, and then had two weeks off back home in the States, where he was working to start up his own business. Real nice.
At some point the bliss of the assignment was temporarily broken by the visitation of a hurricane to the island. Fortunately for him the housing his company had obtained for him was a concrete block structure. My friend and his co-worker took refuge in a very small broom closet during the storm and spent I think most of a day and night there together. The door was loose and would loudly slam back and forth as gusts of wind hit, accompanied by deafeningly loud wind noises. He felt quite certain they would not survive.
At some point he was feeling understandably desperate and considered praying to God for help. But at that point he reminded himself he did not believe in God and so it would be hypocritical to pray. He consiously went against instinct to resist praying, feeling the need to maintain some form of intellectual integrity even in the midst of a potentially life threatening circumstance.
I was a committed Christian when he told me the story and I am sure he told me about his lack of prayer in order to explain to me his own spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof. Some would attribute his desire to pray on an inward awareness of the reality of God that had been created within him, Romans 1:19: “…because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them…” (NASB). Of course it would also be easy to explain his thoughts in terms of a person needing help where no human help would be forthcoming.
He did obviously survive to tell the tale. While most of the residences in the area were flattened his concrete block house survived intact. A testimony to God’s intervention? Or perhaps safety due to the sturdier construction available to Americans on the island? I do not remember feeling inclined to favor either interpretation at the time. I think that is the point of this post, that faith should be something people can hold on to as a personal choice, but that it is valid as well to interpret evidence as it is presented to us, as what seems most likely. It has been said that there are no atheists in foxholes, which is a cliche has been amply disproven. It would appear that atheists reside in broom closets at times as well.
Entry filed under: belief.