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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Vacation Apologetics - Desolate Places and Desperate People
On the other side of the long desert stands a lone town, Tonopah Nevada. We pull in for gas and I find myself standing in line behind Dennis Avner, who is considered to have one of the most extreme body modifications ever. He's had tattoos, various silicone implants, teeth modifications, and whisker implants among other things as he tries to make himself look as much like a tiger as possible. I had previously seen a documentary that highlighted Avner in one segment, so I recognized him immediately (who couldn't?) Later, I found out that Tonopah is his hometown.
In the article linked above, Avner states that his desire to be tiger-like is the dominant driving force of his life.When asked about any relationships, he responds "I'm seeing a couple of women at the moment. They understand that being a tiger is more important to me than humanity, which is difficult for many women to cope with." Being a cat is more important than humanity? Avner is clearly confused in his priorities. He IS human. He says he has an office job, so he conforms to some societal standards when they suit his needs. (He also obviouly doesn't shun medical procedures!) Changing one's physical appearance and wanting to feel like you are another animal are as shallow as the racist who also assigns value based on appearances or skin color. I cannot judge all of what drives Avner to his mania, but I do know that there is a desperation for God in every human heart - a God-shaped vacuum, Pascal called it. We can either recognize it, search for other things to try and fill it, or simply try to numb it so we can't feel it anymore.
The town of Tonopah is an oasis of humanity surrounded by hundreds of miles of lonely desert. Even there, no one can hide from their need for God. Avner can try to be a cat, but in reality he's a human bing who has to conform to some human societal precepts in order to live. He's seeking something in his appearance that will never be totally fulfilling. That's why we need to share the Gospel. Because no matter how big the oasis, people are still desperate for God.
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