While I was editing some writing at a coffee shop a few days ago, one of the employees asked me what I was writing. I replied that I was writing on Augustine. He was very interested. Well, last night his pastor stopped by to give him something. Introductions were made and before I knew it the pastor and I were discussing religion. He is an evangelical Christian and I view religious faith as an inherently personal matter. I told the pastor that public utterances (and collective displays) seem to me to be at the surface, and therefore distorted manifestions of what is really much deeper (i.e., the soul’s relationship to God). I told him that I thought there is much to much certainty regarding what people think they know about God (as evinced by stating the creeds as if they refer to known facts). I even said I thought it rather presumptuous what people tend to assume they know about God (and then try to impose on others). Well, as you might expect, this didn’t stop him from doing just that. The manipulation (and self-absorption) was palpable. I was astonished that even after I had made my statements he went ahead undaunted. I felt disrespected (and ignored…or disregarded). It was all about getting me to come to his church. All about him. Of course it was for God, of whom the pastor knows very well. All I could do was let him speak; I had already decided that would be the last substantive discussion I would have with him. I was left with a sense of the sheer presumptuousness and how blind the guy was to it…even as he presumed to know God with so much certainty. Ironic to say the least.