Wednesday, October 19, 2005

God again

I don't know what to do about God.

There, I said it. I've been thinking for some time that I am lost and facing a crisis of faith, but I haven't been able to verbalize the true nature of my dilemma. Message boards are apparently good for helping me sort out those confusing thoughts in my brain, because I realized what is wrong while reading a, "Why do you believe in God?" thread. All these women (and they are all women...I'm not being sexist here), said things like, "How can I NOT believe in God? Look at all the wonderful things in the world." And I had this almost uncontrollable urge to ask about all those horrible, awful things in the world.

How do you turn a blind eye to those as a means to support your faith? And if you are truly faithful, how do you explain them?

It's not that I'm now blind to the good things in life. I can see them every day and I realize that I AM blessed in MANY ways. But there are SO MANY bad things in the world. Really bad things that I can't even comprehend. For me...there's this one thing...and it's a biggie to me. It's of the sort that makes me cry, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this? What is the lesson to be learned?" And you know what I get as an answer? Silence. That is even more unfair. Because then I get flippant statements like, "God provides the answers in his time...he doesn't answer to you...and he doesn't always provide the answers we want to hear." Oh, how that makes me want to smack someone. Basically, the message is, I'm a puppet on a string who is subject to the whims of some grand power who offers no explanations and no comfort. I can't even imagine how people suffering through worse must feel.

So what now? I have this feeling of WANTING to believe in something. But how to feel comfort from something that you are so angry with...

I feel like God is there, like those crosses you see on the side of the road. You know they're there, but you drive on past them, not even turning your head to really see them. And a part of you is repulsed by the thought of them being there...what they really mean. But part of you is touched by the thought that someone thought enough of that person to place a cross on the spot where they died. Why do they do that, by the way? I know of no other socially acceptable practice where we place religious symbols at the location of someone's death. But I digress...

I can't pray the old prayers. But I have yet to figure out how to pray new ones.

And to the women who ask, "How can you NOT believe in God?" Take a good look around. Watch the news. Leave your quiet suburban life and visit the real world that other PEOPLE live in. Look at them and whip out your flippant quote about God and his answers, and see what kind of reaction you get. I suspect there are more like me out there who think of God as a highway marker, rather than the amazing comfort you do.

So what use is there for God? He is the keeper of the promise that says I will see my Alex again someday. I guess that's why I want to hold onto some shred of belief. But there's a lot of time between then and now.


Heather said...

I am so with you on this. Don't get me wrong, I also know how incredibly blessed I am. But, I just have so many questions. There is a certain message board I post on (wink) where the majority of posters are very secure in their faith. To be honest, I feel guilty alot of the time because when I see comments like, "Just pray about it and God will lead you in the right path" yadda yadda, my stomach literally turns. I don't know if I will ever find whatever it is I need to be as secure as those people.

Lisa P. said...

When I was attending church more regularly, I was impressed by the fact that the senior minister felt comfortable talking about doubts in faith - he even seemed to say that he had them at some points in his life. I am more comfortable with that type of religion, one that allows us all to be wherever we are in the search for meaning, and does not demean us for wanting to ask more questions. It's hard to express this view among people like those you talk about on the message board, though; to them, there is no room for a gray area.

MB said...

Thank you for the pep talk and you did earn a pat on the back. I'm still trying to process how to take her comments. I know she must have meant well, but sheesh.

deadbabymama said...

Gosh, I'm so curious about this particular board don't tell me it will just piss me off.

As a godless heathen (or so I've been called, and recently) I can't really help with this except to say that people have asked me "How can I NOT believe in God?" pretty much my whole life and the horribleness of the world hasn't even come into it until recently. If you believe because it gives you a framework that assures you that you'll see Alex again some day, that should be enough reason for anyone, and it seems to me that any faith worth having is worth questioning, and hard, when we are faced with things that don't fit whatever faith we practice.

It's pretty bizarre to ask you to look around at the beauty of the world and rejoice right now, and anyone who expects that of you doesn't strike me as secure, but as delusional.

Julie said...

People have said to me, "But he's giving you another chance!" He's giving ME another chance? What did I do wrong the first time? And why did Nick have to suffer for it? Another CHANCE? So, the last two dead babies WERE a form of punishment?
I'm at the point where I believe the concept of a higher power is mankind's psychological way of dealing with all the shit they can't explain. Anything that is out of our control - good and bad- has to have a 'reason' to the human mind, and thus we have a supreme being. Chaos, that's all it is.

pengo said...

Christians got a lot of slogans and little stories. I heard them all when I was a follower in my teenage years.

The one that springs to mind right now (okay, other than the one about the footprints) is the saying; "When you find yourself separated from God - who moved?"

And the answer, of course, is "God. God moved. I was right here and He left, and took my child with Him. Don't talk to me."

I teach in schools - my theater company has an in-school residency program which rocks. Every week I am in a different city, a different school, sharing the classics with students. Our middle school residency is a collection of scenes from plays like "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Raising in the Sun."

We end the week with that scene where Anne says, "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart."

And the Nazis come and take her away and she dies naked and alone, riddled with typhus.

The question we ask, the only question worth asking, is how you find hope when there is no hope? On its face an inherently contradictory thought. But lack of hope is despair. No God, no happiness, nothing.

No, don't "look on the bright side." But we should embrace the small comforts we know, the everyday things, the things that make it possible to continue, for one more second.

I do not believe in God, not in the way so many others profess to. And yet I do think He's there - in the food my wife makes (or even better, the stuff I make) or He's there in my work, in a run, in sleep. If there is a God, He is those things.

I do not believe in God, and yet I feel Calvin moved Him closer to me. Closer than He has been in a very long time.

cat said...

Along with the concept of the christian god comes the promises he made to man. Free will and non-intervention. When christians ask me why god does things or why bad things happen I always think of this. Perhaps he is keeping that promise to the letter even when it breaks his heart to do so.

I am not a christian so it's just a thought.

MB said...

Now is when I wish we had e-mail addresses...

I totally agree with you. I've wrestled with this same issue since before Gracie was even born. I've threatened to quit several times and it is just never feesible. We just can't make the numbers work that way. It's a fact, I can't change it as much as I'd like to. Because of how I grew up, this subject is an ongoing one in my journal. It comes up about every 6 months or so and everytime, this woman says something just like what she did yesterday. I mostly just pick out the parts that make me feel okay and ignore the rest. She's really clueless. Congratulations to her for making such sacrifices, but that's just not a world I could live in. More power to her though. Thanks for your continued thoughfulness. Yours is one of my very favorite blogs.

And by the way, if I were interested in one of the rescue dogs, what would we do about the geography? Does the distance make it impossible?

Catherine said...

My email is

The thing is...I completely understand how you feel. I feel the same way about Sam. And my mom WAS a sahm. So I feel like I've really failed somehow. lol

Geography is never an obstacle. That's what I do...transport coordination...more so than fostering.

MB said...

Well, let's plan a trip to Vegas then!

msfitzita said...

God and I have been having it rough lately too. I know he's there, I just haven't got a clue what he's doing anymore. I used to think I knew, but that was before the shit storm rained down on me.

Now we just keep a wary eye on each other. I wonder what he'll do next and he wonders when I'll shake my head, wake up and realize he knows what he's doing.

I have no idea when we'll work it all out. And I have no idea if I'll ever feel the same way about him again. Once bitten, twice shy and all...

A million (((((HUGS)))) to you. It's a hard road we're travelling. The hell with anyone who thinks a trite little cliche will make it all better.

gabesmama said...

I too go back and forth. Here is something that I like to believe about God. When we are in the presence of another thoughtful human being we are in the presence of the divine. If you and I were together and were having a cup of tea talking about our sons, I would feel God's love through you. It would almost be too powerful.