A fortnight from god (a.., p.1
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       A Fortnight From God (A Dialogue with Dom), p.1

           Richie Cooley
 
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A Fortnight From God (A Dialogue with Dom)


  A FORTNIGHT FROM GOD

  (A Dialogue with Dom)

  By Richie Cooley

  Licensed by:

  Richie Cooley (2015)

  Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International

  Cover vector by: Mcherevan

  Email: [email protected]

  (The following short story mainly uses British spelling.)

  Peter lifted his heavy bag up to the clerk and handed her his ticket. It was a relief to be checked in with a little bit of time to spare; he glanced at his watch, wondering if the few minutes left before boarding would afford him the opportunity to order some proper food. He walked down the long corridor and, not wanting to rush, decided just ordering a drink at a bar would be a safer option. Besides, there’d be plenty of time to eat a proper meal after arriving in Tahiti and he also needed to start pacing himself; a fortnight in paradise would do wonders for his restfulness but prove hazardous to his waistline.

  He sat down at a polished wooden stool at a polished wooden bar. After ordering a gin he glanced around at the throngs of people who bustled past the small restaurant onto a maze of corridors and terminals. After gulping the drink his smug smile quickly fell.

  Oh please no, he thought.

  Amidst the crowd there was a form that struck him as familiar. It was much slower moving and was sporting giant white socks and a giant burnt face; the tacky lobster was hobbling toward the restaurant with a backpack and a permanent grin. It was Dom. It had been a while since they actually talked with each other, and Peter normally made an effort for their paths not to cross.

  He’ll not see me. There are too many about; after all, his gaze was never very penetrating. Dom was heading for a table past the bar while he desperately tried to turn his face and wish himself invisible.

  “Peter!” Dom shouted.

  Peter turned his head and forced a smile. “Oh, great to see you Dom.”

  “Are you headin’ out or headin’ in?” Dom asked while he made for the stool beside Peter.

  “I’m on my way out for a couple of weeks. On holiday. I take it you’ve already had yours.”

  “No, no,” Dom said. “No holiday for me. I’ve been in the Philippines for a fortnight doing missionary work.”

  The pretty waitress came back to fill Peter’s small glass, and it was his turn to sport a red face. The last thing he wanted was for Dom to start rattling on about religion within her earshot. He took the glass sheepishly and rose to his feet as she walked away.

  “I’m going to grab a table over there,” Peter said, hoping that Dom would not want to have to rise again so quickly.

  “Yeah, good idea; I’ll join ya. These stools are really hard.”

  Peter didn’t respond because he was contemplating of what possible use Dom could have been to anyone in the Philippines. He could barely speak English, nevermind Tagalog. The men sat down and explained their move to the waiter and ordered club sandwiches.

  “I probably don’t even have time to eat that,” Peter said, glancing at his watch.

  “Sure, you might be here all night. A lot of the flights are being delayed or cancelled. There’s a thunderstorm rolling in.”

  Peter pretended not to hear, as was his custom with bad news. “So you’re a missionary now?” he asked.

  “Oh no. It was just a short-term mission trip. People from my church go on ‘em all the time. We have a sister church in the Philippines. So where ya headin’ off to? Where’s Susan?”

  Peter went from flush to scarlet. What if he follows me to my gate? “Um, Tahiti. So where is the church at? What did you do? I guess it was some sort of Christian outreach or something?”

  Peter’s pretended ignorance to Dom’s religious affiliation was a desperate blurb. He passed Dom’s church on his way home from work most every day. Dom’s old, dingy minivan was nearly always parked outside.

  “The church is near Manila. I just helped with some of the maintenance and stuff. Nothing too exciting. So what’s in Tahiti?”

  Peter was relieved that he had said “what” instead of “who.” All I have to do is keep him talking about religion until the boarding call, he thought. “So how’s your church back home? I must try to visit someday. When are the service times?”

  “The church is fine,” Dom said. “Why, are ya thinking about going?”

  “Well, I don’t know.” The last thing I want is for this guy to start pestering me every weekend. “I’d just kind of like to learn a bit more about God is all.”

  Dom’s face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. He let down an oversized backpack from his shoulders and pulled out a small notebook.

  What have I done? Peter thought.

  “I’m going to start teaching an apologetics course on Wednesday nights,” Dom said. “I’ve been preparing for it for weeks. I got some notes jotted down. Ask me anything; it’ll be good practice for me.”

  “Apologetics?”

  “It means like defending the faith.” He paused and then said, “Or let’s just talk about Tahiti. I’ve always wanted to go there.”

  “Oh right, defending the faith. I get it.” The waiter brought the sandwiches as Peter looked nervously at his watch. Great. This stupid flight must be delayed. “Look Dom, I got nothing against religion; I could probably use some; but I can’t switch off my brain. The Bible’s just a collection of really good men’s ideas about morals, along with some legends and myths.”

  “Do you believe in Herodotus?” Dom asked, flipping through his notes. “Do you believe he was a real historian?”

  “Yeah, I guess. Why?”

  “You know there are only a few extant manuscripts of his Histories. Now he wrote his stuff in the 5th century B.C.; the earliest manuscript dates from around A.D. 900. That’s a 1,300 year difference [1]!”

  “Right, okay,” Peter said, somewhat puzzled.

  “Now look at the New Testament. There are close to 6,000 manuscripts. It was originally written in the 1st century A.D. and the first fragment we have comes from the 2nd century A.D. That’s not even a hundred years! You believe in Herodotus and not in Jesus Christ [1]?”

  “That’s all fine and well. But just because it’s been well preserved doesn’t mean that it’s really what Jesus said.”

  “But why wouldn’t it be?” Dom asked. “The New Testament was written by eight or nine witnesses to early Christianity from the 1st century. Otherwise it is impossible to explain the apostolic fathers, early papyri, and many other things.”

  “Such as?”

  “Well, the writers reference tons of historical points accurately and mention a big mess of witnesses. How can you honestly say that it just never happened [1]?”

  “Okay. I don’t know. But that’s just the New Testament anyway. What about all that silly stuff in the Old Testament? You mean to tell me you think Moses was real?”

  “Why wouldn’t he be real? Why would you accept all sorts of other historical figures like Hammurabi or whatever but yet disbelieve the Bible at every turn-around? You know there are really well educated men and women who have spent their entire lives digging up archaeological proof that confirms the Bible.”

  “I wouldn’t know. It probably all doesn’t confirm the Bible.”

  “Well, some of it is like anything else; there are different ways to interpret the same evidence. There’s been a war over the archaeological significance of Jericho and there’s a small battle now over just where Sodom is located, but there’s plenty of stuff that confirms the Bible that isn’t subject to arguments. Not reasonably anyway.”

  “Like what?” Peter asked. He sipped at a slow pace whi
le Dom flipped through his pages.

  “For example, Jesus Christ came from the House of David. David was a great king in Old Testament times. God promised him that one of his ancestors would be the Messiah. A lot of scholars questioned if David was even a real person because he never turned up in archaeological digs. But there’s been a whole lot of good work done by this guy named Biran in the ancient city of Dan. One thing his team found in 1993 was an inscription that clearly refers to the House of David. It dates back to like the 9th century B.C [2].

  “Also recently in Israel they found silver scrolls that quote Bible verses. These are like at least 2,600 years old, and show how well know the writings of Moses were even back then [2].

  “And then there’s --”

  “Right, right, I get it,” Peter said. “There’s a lot of old stuff in Israel.”

  “It’s not just in Israel. One of the greatest places for archaeology has been ancient Assyria [2]. A guy named Taylor found an Akkadian inscription that describes the siege in Jerusalem just like it happened in the Old Testament. There’s also a giant carving of the city of Lachish. That’s in the Bible too. It was a large city in Israel. That’s just a couple of things. There are a lot more.”

  “But even if the Bible is somewhat historic --”

  “It’s not somewhat historic,” Dom said. “It’s completely historic.”

  “But even if that’s true it doesn’t mean that the miracles and all that stuff is true. It still could be myth with some history thrown in for good measure. How could a grown man believe in
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