I was out tonight.
At a function.
I struck up a conversation with an Irish priest. A man of the cloth. He was collared up. His name was Father O'Flaherty. He asked me to call him Patrick. So I did. I like the Irish. Like me, they love to talk. I can talk the leg off a chair. We got on well. He was a fine fella. One of my best mates is Irish. As are my roots. I am used to their gabbiness.
I enjoy the banter.
Father O'Flaherty had led an interesting life. He had served as a missionary. His job was conversion. At some point of our conversation I confessed I was an atheist. At best an agnostic. Patrick was used to confession. It was part of his job description. This line of talk led to the question of faith.
I asserted that I tended to put all of mine in things that were tangible. Facts that could be proven. I told him that I struggled with the concept of a faith that is blind.
The good father countered with the rationale that man needs something to believe in. That humans are fallible. That God is merciful.
I punched back with the argument that there appeared to be too much wickedness in the world for God to be merciful. I have witnessed some of it. Seen it first hand. The Irish have been party to it. Christian versus Christian.
Death by devotion.
We discussed and debated for a couple of hours. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was outgunned by the weight of his biblical quotations. He quoted the Testaments. New and Old. Chapter and verse.
The best I could do was a line from Patti Smith.
"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine"
Not really relevant at all but it gave me a smug sense of satisfaction.
We agreed to disagree but we parted as friends.
Our paths will cross again.