AAI: Robert Richert

I walked into this talk a little late, and was initially unimpressed. Richert was an atheist who fought in Viet Nam, and a lot of the talk was a rather rambling reminiscence with photos of the war; I didn’t quite see the point. At the end, though, it was very affecting. He talked about incidents that made an impression on him: a friend who survived a harrowing firefight, and attributed his survival to a beneficent god; and a few days later, an innocent Vietnamese baby who was killed by shrapnel from a grenade. He made the point that there was no loving god who could have so cruelly thrown away the life of a child, while granting survival to a soldier fighting in the country. Sad stuff with some real emotional punch.

Yes, there are atheists in foxholes. And they seem to be a little more appreciative of the tragedy of war than the blithe Christians.