If you’d have asked me twenty years ago, I would have said that I absolutely believe in God.The same question fourteen years ago would’ve gotten you a flat “no.” Now, I’m just not sure.
Religion is a topic that doesn’t get discussed rationally very often. Because of the passions involved on both sides of the issue, it’s become something of a taboo subject. Much like politics, its sister conversation-killer, religion is not suitable for discussion at that proverbial dinner table we all imagine. Enjoy the images I’m largely inserting as tension breaks and try not to take them too seriously.
I’m tired of not discussing it. And by “discuss,” I mean putting pen to paper (no, really, I took a picture) and fleshing out my exact stance on the matter for my personal gratification. If this post offends you, I’m sorry. If it helps you, I’m glad. If it makes you think, I can’t ask for much more than that.
I had a religious upbringing and while a lot of people can claim that, my grandfather was a preacher. While my mom and step-father weren’t the type to attend church every Sunday, they’re still deeply spiritual people. Good Christian folks, you might say. As a result, when I was young, I was devout in my faith.
As I got older and started to think for myself, I began to identify as an atheist. This was due in no small part to actually reading the Bible – something that a sad few Christians can claim to have done and something that many non-believers take a good deal of pride in bragging about. It was something that made me both proud – that had I decided something important for myself – and disturbed – because everything I learned from my family was suddenly a lie. I never felt betrayed, per se, but I wasn’t happy with the illusion. Despite these feelings, I settled into this new identity slowly and, by the time I was eighteen, had fully accepted science as the savior of mankind.
As I progressed through the next ten years or so, however, doubt once again set upon me. I began to question things and what bothered me most was that it wasn’t because of any singular event. It wasn’t even anything truly specific that did it. If you asked me to name it today, I still couldn’t. I simply began to see God in things where previously only nature had existed to me.
And that brings me to the present, almost 30 years old and still scratching my head. For my love of the last six years, it’s decided. She believes. For me, it’s just not as clear-cut. I’ve been on both sides of the fence at key points in my development and have very conflicting ideas. I want to believe, as was famously said regarding another subject entirely, but I can’t commit my mind either way.
Now, let’s try to define this word, “believe,” shall we? Does that mean I want to give myself over to the idea that Bible is a literal transcript of human history? Absolutely not. No thinking person actually believes that the world was created in seven days around five to ten thousand years ago. Well, those Young Earth creationists do, but that’s because they blind themselves to hundreds of years of scientific research and blatant evidence. John C. Mather and George Smoot proved the science behind the big-bang theory and won a Nobel Prize for it, for God’s sake (get it?). That’s not even mentioning Stephen Hawking, who has taken our understanding of the universe to a level we never thought possible. The Bible is the collected works of men who were trying to make sense of the world around them without the aid of science. I’m certain in a few thousand years, assuming Homo sapiens has that long to live, people will look back at the so-called discoveries of our time and marvel at our ignorance.
I want to believe in a purpose, a grand design. While everything that is logical inside me fights the very notion, that desire remains. Are we all just part of the same compost heap? That’s a pretty bleak outlook, isn’t it? Did God give us all some kind of purpose and we’re just playing it out to His plans? That’s not very good, either.
If God has any influence in our lives, I believe it is in our individual talents. How we apply what we’re given is what defines our purpose. It’s how we affect others and the effects they have on us that shape our destinies. Maybe it’s not the most original sentiment, but it’s the one that best settles my mind when I’m trying to sleep. I remain, your hopeful agnostic.
If you’ve read this far, you might as well leave a comment and tell me your stance on religion, logic and how they fit into each other. All opinions are welcome so long as they promote friendly conversation. All insults or extreme ignorance shall go to moderation Hell. And damn it, I know that exists.