Treatise: Oort Cloud
In my three years so far as a passionate apologist, I’ve had a number of varied interactions which I imagine fairly well represent the gamut, though obviously not constituting the whole spread of relationships that Christians can have with unbelievers. I’ve dealt with false converts of Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Orthodox Jewish and Lutheran persuasion, among others unstated. Homosexual ministers, Sadducees (which I take to be Jews who don’t believe in God or an afterlife—the Pharisees were the conservatives from which the modern Orthodox Jewish religion stems), muslims, mormons and jehovah’s witnesses (I refuse to capitalize these as if to indicate that they are credible or honorable, as with the Bible and Christianity). Of atheists, there are also many different kinds of individuals. One of them, whom I shall refer to as Oort Cloud, for a number of metaphorical reasons, was someone I met very early in my study of Biblical Creation and who, despite his mannerisms and facial expressions, came across to me as quite jovial and easy to get along with. Don’t judge someone as being angry just because they look like it. Some of the least pleasant people to talk to – or, some people you might not even be able to talk to – are people who put up a feigned air of politeness. People who are deceitful about their emotions and attitudes anger me much more easily than those who are straightforward.
Oort Cloud’s first encounter with me, that I remember, consisted of him showing the “Ray Comfort: The Banana, the Atheists’ Nightmare” video on youtube and asking what I thought of it. I answered that of course the banana wasn’t made in its current form at the very beginning. What I would have said if it had been today, however, would be that despite this, Ray’s statements are no less true about how the banana is an example of God’s care for human beings in how He designed the world. This is because even though the banana as we know it today likely did not exist 4,000 years ago, the genetic information which codes for the variety we see in grocery stores was nevertheless present in the original ancestral variety. The banana is an excellent example of directed selection, where certain qualities in an organism are “hand-picked” and used to develop the next generation, and of man’s stewardship for the earth, wherein he exercises his creativity to utilize the natural world for the benefit of mankind and nature alike. But as it were, my response surprised Oort Cloud, who apparently expected something more ignorant, and it, and a few other subsequent interactions of a similar sort, impelled him to search for “stumper” questions to try to debate me with, and see if he could shake my resolve and get me to relent of my confidence in the Bible.
Oort Cloud would see me on occasion and would over time begin to act as if, and tell me that he was angry with me for always having answers. This is not to say that they necessarily convinced him at any point, or that they even seemed to be an impressive argument, but I think his perception was that my answers did not fall to the level of being transparently illogical, and my views were internally coherent. He would often wear a contemplative frown when listening to my responses to his questions. His animated reactions to things that shocked him were amusing and will probably remain in my memory for some time. But as far as I can recall, he never made any effort to slander or attack me as a person, or to spread damaging lies about me to others, as a different group of people attempted to do roughly a year after I first met him.
I probably would have forgotten about the Oort Cloud if it wasn’t for a moment in late spring 2012. I hadn’t seen him for a while, but I encountered him suddenly in my campus dining hall. He was either graduating or transferring, and so he had come up to me to say goodbye. It was a curious occasion. Dejectedly is not quite the right word, but it was with a flustered insistency that I understand his reluctance to acknowledge what he was telling me, that he told me, in effect, that he’d miss me, essentially. Not that he said those words. No, he said something akin to that he was bothered by my strong faith AND mastery of scientific facts and logic, that he thought in his heart that such a thing should not be—that a person of faith could believe without misunderstanding or rejecting science. He said in essence that he was impressed that I was a ‘worthy opponent,’ and expressed a wish to not be reminded of his confusion by meeting me or a person like me again. He would go on to grumble about these things for some time. I am glad to have served as a challenge to his presuppositions, and I hope that down the road, Oort Cloud will encounter something or someone that sparks the seed implanted within him to germinate, and that he does not stifle his discovery of the truth. The fact that he alone of the atheists I’ve spoken to came to me and gave me a verbal handshake is a good and hopeful sign, in my eyes. But you can never be sure. So if you read this and feel motivated to pray, I encourage you to pray for Oort Cloud and others like him to not seek relief from the challenge that they’ve encountered, be it in an intellectually savvy Christian or something profound in Scripture that just won’t let them be, but that they would struggle through it until they come to the foot of the Cross in humility and defeat. They may come unwillingly, as Oort came to me, but God’s Holy Spirit has the power to change a human heart. In time, we won’t want anything but to come to Him, whether we once struggled with it or not.