This is another one of those posts where I’ve had two glasses of wine (GASP!) and probably won’t write well, but I seem to be more philosophical in my mildly drunk times, even if I spell more poorly. (Mildly is probably a lie. I’m probably pretty damn drunk. This is what happens when you have no tolerance for alcohol, but I drink it anyway when I’m home because I’m not going anywhere, I cannot be hurt by myself nor anyone else, and I like the taste. I suppose I sometimes like the forced sleepiness and lightness of heart, but that’s really neither here nor there.)
I was reminded by youtube that Christopher Hitchens exists, and determined to go through his clips online, unravel my massive tangle of yarn, and enjoy myself thoroughly (this in the face of Star Wars being on TV, and I love Star Wars). Hitchens is a DEVOUT atheist and a bit of an intellectual bully, but I like him anyway. Speaking of alcohol (to which I keep adding an extra O), he is a bit of an alcoholic, which I don’t like. He’s one of those people that’s just too smart for everyone around him, and solves his boredom with drink. I’ve never approved of that, perhaps because I’m not at that level of intelligence. Or maybe he just needs a type of hobby, like Michael and his anime collection. In fact, I’d love to see that – an intellectual smackdown between Christopher Hitchens and Michael. I’m rambling, let’s get back on topic.
Anyway, I don’t approve of his bullying. It’s true most of the people he debates are small-minded idiots, but on occasion that is not the case, and he should not be as rude and trashing as he is. Intelligence is a great power, and with it comes (cliché) responsibility. That one can be intelligent but also polite, even to idiots, is perhaps the highest praise there is. He does not always achieve this, but I like watching him debate anyway. Or just thoroughly beat down, which is probably more accurate.
In fact, I tend to agree with all of his points about the evil that world religion perpetuates, I agree with him about all the nonsense of faith at all – yet even so, I would never, EVER deny that I believe in God. What sort of paradox am I – to laud a man who hates the very idea of God, yet believe it so strongly myself.
Douglas once said that my virtue was faith – that I believe things I have no proof of, and this is true. It is no secret I went through my own period of doubt, that I gave up the Lutheran background I had, there-to-fore, held so closely to my heart, and walk the earth religion-less. Yet even coming through such a torment (and a torment it was), I believe in God more firmly than I ever did in my religious life.
I also make no secret of the fact that I accept such a notion is a paradox. Since my teen years, I stood firm in the notion that no one can know the mind of God – yet at the same time, the one thing I DO know of God is that I am loved, and my duty is to love all the world as strongly as I might. How can I accept one premise and then the other? Logically, it is impossible. But to approach such belief with logic is a fallacy. Yet how do I live in a logical world and say such a thing?
I don’t know. I don’t know the answer, and I do believe anyone who claims to is a fool. I acknowledge that there is evil in the world – profound evil. Reading the Old Testament for a class convinced me of it, and I became convinced that God must know it too – but to know it and then accept it? I accept this notion as well, that God does not always (if ever) interfere in the evil doings of man. And yet even so, I believe most firmly that miracles have occurred in ways that are beneficial to those I love. What a STUPID thing to believe. Yet I have bent my head over my desk and laced my fingers together and prayed harder than I’ve breathed – and a calmness and a lightness has overcome me that does not banish my fear – but it has assured me things will be alright, regardless. And they were alright.
Coincidence explains most things. I believe in science and I believe in God, so what sort of creature am I? I don’t know, and only God does, but that is also a ridiculous statement. I acknowledge without hesitation that there is evil in the world – yet I do not say it comes from God, nor do I blame God for not stopping it.
What I have learned is that explaining faith is both insulting and useless. I would never subject anyone to such a depraved idea as that. Again for a class, I read the Book of Job, which is a pretty horrible story – but through careful insight guided by a wise professor, I saw beauty and the love of God in it. I am not that wise, I cannot explain it fully. But what I can point out is that the ideas of Job’s Friends are echoed by God – but it is God that must bring the ideas to us as individuals, and not our sanctimonious friends, intending good yet doing wretched harm. That any “revealed” religious sense must come from ourselves and from ourselves alone. I am sure there is no one in the world who has not had a friend preach religion, and badly. It has certainly happened to me. It did not help my soul, it made me miserable, and anyone who does it should be ashamed of themselves.
Without the self-righteous, I have found life in every tree, and I touch the leaves and feel the love of God in them. I pray more than I ever did as a Lutheran, and I find peace. I hold to my breast the love of God – not unwavering in my understanding, but with naive trust. I am young, so I have not yet been let down. Yet even in that which I don’t understand, I have come to find the hand of Providence. I may merely be lucky, or foolish, or stupid. Who can say? Anyone who tries to is a greater fool than I. I cannot say why I believe in God, merely that I do. For those that do not, I do not sanctimoniously pity you; I laud your thoughtfulness. That you are happy and secure is enough, for I wish the pain of unknowing on no one.
But the lightness and wonder of sitting in the sunlight and finding, all at once, that you are one with a universe that somehow is and is not made solely for your pleasure? That joy I wish on all.