The email came yesterday evening. The guy was from Baltimore.

“Dear Sean, you’re a [expletive] idiot. I have been so put off by your ‘spiritual’ commentary. I am an atheist, I do not believe in God…”

So I went and got another beer before continuing.

“…Your God is [another expletive] dork. God cannot be good and all-powerful at the same time. Because if he were, there would be no disease, tornadoes, starvation, mass shootings, genocides, murders, or suffering.

“He cannot be omnipotent and concomitantly allow evil, you can’t have it both ways… There was recently a mass hooting in Kentucky, where was your God then?

“…Sorry Sean, I’d like to believe in a Higher Power, but my heart and brain both say ‘Hell no.’”

Dear Friend,

I’m no theologian. I’m not even much of a church guy, either. Religious? No. Not unless it’s a pennant race. I’m more of a Pabst Blue Ribbon enthusiast.

Moreover, you’ve written to an uneducated man. I had to look up the word “concomitantly.” I’m still not sure how to use this word.

Namely, because I’m not a smart man. My grade school teachers called me “slow.” Other adults called me “challenged.” But as it happens, I’m neither slow nor challenged, I just have slydexia.

So I am not exactly the guy you should be approaching with this kind of high-minded email. I can already tell you’re much sharper than I am. Any response I make will make me look like a complete expletive.

There is, however, one thing I do know.

I once met a woman from Illinois who was born blind and deaf. Just like Helen Keller.

I’d like to tell you about her. She was remarkable. You would have liked her.

The percentage of deaf-blind cases in America is low. You’re looking at a population of about 11,000 in the U.S.

Moreover, 90 percent of deaf-blind people also have medical, physical, or cognitive disabilities. Back in the olden days, many parents put deaf-blind children up for adoption. Lots of kids were sent off to state facilities until someone adopted them. Which—surprise—people rarely did.

That’s what happened to this deaf-blind girl. As a kid, she was tossed around. She didn’t learn how to truly communicate with other humans until she was in her late teens.

Take a moment and think about that.

Her life was a long, arduous road. For her first half of her existence, she had no concept of our world. She lived in a world of ink darkness and perpetual silence. She did not know, for example, who her caregivers were. Heck, for that matter, she only had a vague idea of what PEOPLE were.

When she was 15, she got adopted by a woman.

The woman who adopted the girl was a committed woman who deeply—and I mean DEEPLY—loved this child. She fed the girl, clothed her, took care of her.

The girl still had no real idea what was going on. She didn’t know she’d been adopted. Neither did she know this human was her new mother.

She had no word for “mother.” And even if she did, this word would have had no definite meaning since the girl didn’t know what words were.

Are you still with me? What I’m telling you is that this deaf-blind girl knew nobody. She was completely isolated, inside her own head.

When the deaf-blind girl grew older, and began learning to communicate, do you know the first word she learned? Her first word was “Mama.” She was 17 years old.

This word was spelled in her palm by a teacher’s fingers, Anne Sullivan style. “Mama.” Four letters.

The name itself has no real meaning. Names and labels have never had any meaning on their own. Names and words only represent ideas. And the idea of “Mama” is, simply put, love.

To the girl, Mama was the loving institution that fed her—sometimes placing the food directly into her mouth.

Mama was the unknown creature who cleaned up the girl’s bathroom accidents when the girl soiled and urinated all over herself.

Mama was the one who carried the teenage girl to bed each night, even though she was heavy to lift.

Mama was the one who kissed her daughter’s little face and said, “I love you,” while pressing her own voicebox against the girl’s forehead so the vibrations could be felt by the child.

Mama was the one who provided for this kid. Who fixed her hair. Who held her hand and trained her to walk. Who, against all odds, made this child one of the unforgotten. Mama was the woman who saved this child’s life.

Now I ask you. Do you think this child’s dedicated mother would have cared whether her deaf-blind daughter “believed” in her?

Hell no.

Concomitantly yours,
—Sean Dietrich


  1. stephenpe - April 12, 2023 11:11 am

    I have to say people like the guy in Baltimore ask valid questions. And I can say it comes from not having some saving grace or miracle show up in their lives. Oddly enough to the two in my head that immediately come to mind are ones who had a miracle show up late in life. But I taught school for 4 decades. I saw the faces of children that were so in need of a miracle. Some never got it. So while some suffer and are rescued many are not. And all over the world. Like SeanI dont know the answwer but its out there. You are a national treasure,Sean. We appreciate all you write.

  2. Ken M. - April 12, 2023 11:50 am

    Dear Baltimore Guy… nobody is a pure atheist. Everyone has a god, and for those who do not believe in the Loving God, their god is often Self. Your morals and beliefs… even the belief in good and evil… must come from somewhere. I challenge you to worship your god of Self and dedicate your life to doing as much good, and loving as many people, as you can. You might just find that you’re not so much an “atheist” as you think.

  3. Dee Thompson - April 12, 2023 1:51 pm

    I hope the guy in Baltimore is reading this because I have something important to tell him, and it goes along with your beautiful story. Most atheists cannot believe in “God” simply because they have a wrong idea of God. They think of him like he’s a person. That’s not true. God is energy. God is Love. Love is God. If you believe in Love, you believe in God. Evil also exists, and that’s what causes suffering. God cannot eliminate Evil, and Evil cannot eliminate God. The important thing is to simply align with the side you feel drawn to. Most people [fortunately] align with the God energy. God uses all of us to help lessen suffering.

  4. CherylW. - April 12, 2023 2:05 pm

    This person needs to read his Bible and he would have the answers to his questions. Sadly, he probably would not go near one.

  5. Pat W - April 12, 2023 3:22 pm

    Dear Sean,

    I will apologize for this gentleman’s poor manners and insulting you. If he doesn’t care for what you write, I could assume he is the *******idiot for continuing to read your posts; however, I don’t think he is an idiot. Unfortunately, he doesn’t understand that he shouldn’t continue reading your posts so that he doesn’t get angry.

    As a geezer (70 years old), i am puzzled by the intense anger I see in people around us today. If we don’t believe the same things, I’m not going to insult them. People can believe whatever they want. No judgement. I would appreciate the same courtesy. Im not going to call them ******* idiots. I will wish them well and go on my way.

    Sean, you are a very wise man. Your wisdom comes from within; it cannot be gleaned from books. A lifetime of academia and books will not produce the wisdom in you. It comes from life experience and introspection. You are also kind and humble. Our world would be an even better place if more people were as wise as you.

    Back to Mr. Baltimore. I’ve read many times that people say “if I could see God, I would believe in him.” I really believe the answer that comes with that statement, “if you believe in God, you will see him and his works everywhere.” Sean, you are one of God’s works. I see him in you daily.

    All my best to you, Jamie, and the fur babies.

  6. Cathy M - April 12, 2023 9:25 pm

    Baltimore man has made his choice but he does not need to condemn those of us who do believe in God. I only know that in my almost 75 yrs. God has showed up for me countless times. I was alone in the city my mother lived in when she died yet I clearly felt God’s presence as well as the presence of my Dad and all four grandparents. If the man in Baltimore is happy without God, that is his decision. I just can’t live without God myself. I need him every hour of every day. You are a messenger for God and that’s the truth❤️🙏🏻

  7. Jane Cline - April 13, 2023 1:25 am

    CONCOMITANTLY – at the same time; simultaneously. Heaven or Hell? Good or
    Evil? God or the Devil? One or the other. I choose Heaven, I choose Good, I choose God.

  8. soldiermom1 - April 13, 2023 1:47 am

    CONCOMITANTLY – at the same time; simultaneously. You can’t have it both ways. Heaven or Hell, Good or Evil, God or the Devil. I choose Heaven, I choose Good, I choose God.


Leave a Comment