Does God Exist?
‘That will be thirty shillings, mkubwa.’ Shoebbler replied after being asked the cost of shoe shining service by his first customer Mr. Mtanashati a long time ago.
Mtanashati had been tarmacking for eighteen months or so, surviving only on freelancing. As a freelancer, he made good dough, enough to see him through to the next new moon. But with his education, people, including his close relatives, thought he was just wasting his time right after having put the parents through thistles and thickets to pay for his higher education. Everybody urged him to get a real job and that’s how he sometimes found himself at Shoebbler’s to have his shoes taste some shoe polish when heading for an interview when invited.
Shoebbler was the local shoe shiner and cobbler, a verbose and loyal worker. Actually, most of the grapevine news Mtanashati gets from him.
This morning, Mtanashati was to head to yet another interview and so he had to look his best, as usual. This day Shoebbler wasn’t himself. He then started telling Mtanashati how God doesn’t exist, how his inexistence is a proof of all the lawlessness.
‘Just look around and see how people are suffering. If God existed, couldn’t he do something? Isn’t he the almighty, the one vigorous in power and with abundance of dynamic energy? ’ he said, to no one in particular.
He went on, sounding spiteful this time, ‘If God existed, why tolerate the misery that we the hapless suffer? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do children die…? Look at Mpole; he was a staunch Christian, every Sunday with his bible going to the place of worship, now he owns nothing. His house razed to the ground, his wife leaving him thereafter for someone with more money. Why didn’t God do anything? Why is it that those doing bad always seem to thrive, the immoral, the ones doing phony business flourishing but the sincere ones languishing in poverty and dying emaciated like the wick of the candle they used all nights, all in doing what, goodness? ’
This astounded Mtanashati as a fortnight earlier, Shoebbler himself said he was relying to God for his very existence; that without Jehovah his life would be a behemoth of misery. All in all he quietly listened to him thinking how he can reason with his acquaintance.
Shoebbler was done, Mtanashati then stood up from the stool to take out his wallet and pay. When leaving, he caught sight of a very dirty person, with shoes having fish lips, another one with very dirty shoes resembling the Sahara desert, still another with shoes that could have been mistaken to have once belonged to Methuselah.
He turned back to Shoebbler and said, ‘Cobblers and shoe shiners don’t exist.’
Taken aback, Shoebbler replied, ‘How could you say that, are you insulting me? I’ve just polished your shoes right now; see how they are shiny that you can see your reflection on them!’
‘Well, look around Shoebbler, those people’s shoes are eye sores. Look at how dirty they are, not even miracles can salvage them.’
‘You are looking at the wrong way. Those people’s shoes are that way because they haven’t taken care of their shoes by taking them to cobblers and shoe shiners.’
‘So also we can’t blame God for just anything bad that happens to us and yet we haven’t sought him for guidance on how to live but look to ourselves and all the technology that makes us grander in our own eyes… By the way, did you know that God promises a better future for us? These tragic things happening to are temporary and God promises to undo them and reclaim the earth to its original state…’
The conversation went on for two minutes or so and the two promised to talk about the subject that evening at Mtanashati’s place.