In the church study the elderly priest sat at his desk whistling
cheerfully to himself. When a firm knock sounded on his door, he
was startled, as if awakened and called for the knocker to enter.
A tall, younger monk entered.
"Father Laskey, May I speak to you a few minutes?"
"Certainly, Brother Alyosha. Why you would want to waste this
wonderful day babbling with a an old man I don't know; but
on a day like this, I appreciate the company "
The younger man appeared nervous.
"Sir, I hate to intrude, but I must ask you to release me
from my vows and permit me to leave the monastery."
The older man, taken back by the request, retreated to a
protective habit that had served him in good stead for
many years. He sat back and stared at the young man.
After several minutes, he finally responded.
"Why, Brother Alyosha? Do you feel that the Great Revelation
just experienced renders our work no longer pertinent?"
"No, Sir, on the contrary! I think that in many ways our
work is just beginning."
"Oh? I'm not sure that I follow you. After the events of
the past several days, there can be no one left in the
world who does not believe in God anymore."
"True, Sir. That's exactly the point. Previously, all our
energies were directed toward convincing people of that
one simple fact. Oh, we did make some token efforts at
educating people concerning their behavior toward God
and other men. However, these were all merely ancillary.
We could make no progress at modifying people's actions
as long as few believed in the underlying premise.
"No, God's revelation of Himself to the world these last
several days merely removes the difficulty of the peoples'
disbelief. The infinitely more difficult task of translating
that newfound faith into positive action remains."
"Would that our future path were so obvious."
For a while the two men sat in thought. After a few minutes,
the older man continued.
"Well, is it the basic revelation that you distrust? Do you
think that it was faked, some kind of hoax?"
"Certainly not. Oh, I had my doubts, as I think most people
did at the beginning. Some may have professed a belief in
God. Many may have actually believed that God acted on our
life in some subtle way. But I don't think that many actually
believed that God would declare himself so openly.
"But he did. Most convincingly. The booming voice from the
heavens was not in itself incontrovertible. Even though
it was heard simultaneously by everybody in the world - each
in his own language. What was more startling was the fact
that it was daylight everywhere. Clear blue sky without a
cloud anywhere. The voice emanating from the sun was impressive.
"Yet even then there were some that doubted the Voice when
it declared that He was YAHWEH,
Himself, Who was making Himself known once again so that
the world might again believe in him as the Patriarchs of
old. Despite the fear and wonder felt by most, some still
refused to admit belief. Some even claimed that it was a
trick being promulgated by some alien force."
The older man chuckled at the thought. "True, but the day
of resurrection and the parting of the sea convinced even
the most incredulous of the sophisticates."
the younger man continued.
"The resurrection for a day of everybody who had ever
lived was the most sobering thing I had ever experienced.
Not only were our heroes returned the world, but the
villains were also brought back.
"It was strange you know, with Adolf Hitler and Attila
wandering amidst their victims, no one either thought
or dared to interfere with them. With all the historians
who had decried the paucity of information about all of
these men, none had the presence of mind to try to
interview these past greats."
This remembrance reminded Father Laskey of how he had felt:
"True. But it was very unnerving. Knowing that somewhere
your parents were alive again and wandering around. I was
afraid to raise my eyes and look at the people around me.
What would I have done if I had accidently seen them? What
does one say to ones dead father?”
The younger priest nodded in agreement.
"True. The resurrection was not nearly the glorious time
envisioned by some. It was an almost visible weight bearing
down on the shoulders of all - the living and the dead.
When, after 24 hours - a full day of bright sunlight
everywhere, I might add - the dead returned to wherever
they came from, everybody breathed a sigh of relief.
"Then God, almost as if he were playing his own straight man,
parted the Atlantic Ocean to form a dry, smooth path from
Europe to America. He even covered the Mid-Atlantic Trench.
Having finished, He then invited all to use his pathway."
"All except the Egyptians, that is," chuckled Father Laskey.
agreed Brother Alyosha with a fervor that brought Father
Laskey up short:
"But, My God, is that any way for God to behave?
"But you get my point. After all of that, it would be
impossible not to believe that it really was God "
The elder man began to get a little impatient. His former
feeling of well-being was being threatened, though hewasn't
"Well, then, what is the problem? Why do you want to quit."
Alyosha seemed almost at a loss for words.
"I'm not sure how to describe it. As you know, I have
always been very sincere and emphatic in my efforts to
bring the message to the people. I really tried to help
people see that the moral imperative of God's teaching
should direct their lives.
"But, the problem, you see, is that I never really
believed in God. Not in an anthropomorphic God sitting
in the heavens, rewarding good and punishing evil. No,
not in a God like that.
"Rather, if I believed in a God, it was in some embodiment
of the natural evolution of the universe toward order and
stability, toward good and away from evil. God existed
for me as a force with being and not as a being with force."
Father Laskey observed: "And God turned out to be a more
concrete God. Why is this a problem for you?"
Brother Alyosha thought a moment and then responded with
a quiet intensity.
"As long as I thought of God as a force, I could dismiss
the evil in the world as an aberration in the otherwise
steady march of the God-force toward universal order and
peace. If an innocent child was cruelly killed or some
young girl brutally raped, it was not an evil preventable
by God and, hence, there was no need to reconcile God's
goodness with His silence at the propagation of evil.
"I could mourn the pain and evil, but without having to
challenge God to explain himself, as Job did.
"Such a blind force might be less personal than an
anthropomorphic God. It might bother some people that in
some sense we are adrift in the middle of an river, even
if that river were flowing toward a safe harbor. But at
least I could continue to believe in the underlying
righteousness of the universe.
"However, if God is some supernatural being with a
consciousness and a will, then the problem of the evil
in the world remained. How can I accept a God who
accepts the evils done in His name?"
After a moment, Brother Alyosha continued,
"I cannot. Since I cannot accept such a God, I cannot
council others to accept him.
"I must resign."
"No!" Father Laskey admonished. "God has revealed himself
for a purpose. The necessity of our mission remains
unchanged. Surely, God did not reveal himself so as to
drive you out of the Church?"
Alyosha paused at the door, before he left.
"Since God has revealed His ability to demonstrate His
existence, He will reveal when his righteousness returns."