“Everything Needs Direction”

1309943598_43ec860ba059There is an excellent anecdote in the very popular book Everyday Saints, about how during communism the Party bosses from the Pskov district would send their big shots to the monastery. One such figure was actually impressed by the monks he met there but just couldn’t get it through his head why anyone would believe in God, much less give everything up and spend their days in a monastery.

Here is the excerpt:

“… after spending two hours with Father Nathaniel, this bureaucrat, being impressed by this new acquaintance, could not help himself:

‘Listen! I’m amazed talking to you! I don’t think I’ve ever met such an interesting and unusual man in my entire life! But forgive me – how can you with your intelligence possibly believe in…! I mean, after all, science keeps on opening newer and newer horizons for humanity! And all without God! The fact is there is no need for Him. This year’s Halley’s Comet will be approaching us. And the scientists have been totally capable of calculating its orbit and its speed and its trajectory. And for this, forgive me, absolutely no concept of God is needed.’

‘Halley’s Comet, you say’ Father Nathaniel rubbed his beard. ‘You mean to say that if it’s possible to calculate the orbit of a comet that makes God unnecessary? Hmm. Just imagine this then: put me by a railroad and give me a piece of paper and a pencil.  Within a week of observation I will be able to tell you exactly when and in what direction the trains will be running. But does that mean that there are no conductors, no dispatchers, no station workers, and no minister of transportation even? Of course not! Everything needs direction.'”

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