Sunday, November 13, 2005

Does God Care?

So, it's Sunday and seems like a good time to psychoanalyze religion. Let me give a brief rundown of my "religious" life to date.

I was born and bred a Southern Baptist. My grandfather was a preacher and we were the family that was always at the church. Doors open or not. I went to a Southern Baptist school (although I graduated elsewhere). In my mid-20s, I took a sabbatical from my job and worked at a mission hospital for a year. Then I met J. He was <GASP> Catholic. Surprisingly enough, my family was cool with it because they liked him. Not surprisingly, his family was very against a match. In the end, we married in the Catholic church. A few years later, I decided to join the Catholic church (I hate the term "convert" but I'll leave that for another post). If I was alone again I think I would turn Quaker (seriously).

That about sums it up. Southern Baptist teetotaler turned Catholic wine connoisseur Quaker at heart. I always felt like God had a hand in my life. I felt he led me to serve in a mission hospital - that wasn't something I would have chosen to do myself. I felt like he brought me J and the Little Miss. I felt like he had blessed me with all things material.

Then my unborn baby died and I began to question everything.

In short, at the moment I'm having trouble with the whole concept that a loving God can permit such suffering. And I'm not just talking about me losing a baby. I'm talking about suffering on a much grander scale. Starvation in Africa. Religious "cleansings" in Eastern Europe. Wars tearing families apart. Somehow it's easier for me to believe that God just doesn't care about mankind that to believe that he allows this stuff to go on.

Funny thing is, I can draw on my baptist heritage and argue the other side of the case. Sad thing is, I have no wish to, nor do I believe those arguments any longer.

I haven't been to mass in weeks, nay months. J is shocked as I have always been the religious one of the family. I could go and sit through all the motions and do all the right things. But it doesn't hold anything for me - I don't feel like God really cares if I go or not.

In a previous post, I called myself an agnostic. Here is the definition of that from one site:
An agnostic is a person who feels that God's existence can neither be proved nor disproved, on the basis of current evidence.

Based on that, I can't say that I am an agnostic because I do believe in God's existence. I can't honestly look at my beautiful Little Miss and not think that some living being didn't create her.
So I don't know what label to apply to myself at the moment.

I find hope in a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

Maybe I should call this blog "Odyssey To Finding God"! At any rate, that is enough heavy stuff for one day!


Lorem ipsum said...

Actually, I was about to say that you might want to investigate Unitarianism, but then I just got the new Harper's in the mail and the cover story seems to be about that. I was going to hold off till I read it, to see if it meshes with what you might be interested in.

Not incoherent!

K. said...

Well, Unitarianism sounds as good as anything at this point :-) I'll have to do some reading on it.

Lorem ipsum said...

Okay, the article didn't shed any light on Unitarianism - in fact, it didn't mention it at all. It did talk about TJ and how he stripped the New Testament of all the miracles (including the Resurrection) and made it a philosophical study of Jesus' sayings and beliefs. THAT is the essence of Christianity. If so many people talking about Jesus these days acted like him, our nation, our world would be in a lot better shape.

When my husband talks about the 'damn Christians' I feel the need to defend Christ. It's not his fault so many of his 'followers' are assholes who call themselves 'Christians' because it's trendy. If someone's faith is sincere, I think that's wonderful. But there's nothing Christian about starting a war based on lies, continuing to lie, never apologizing, imprisoning your critics and ruining their lives. There's nothing Christian about selling soldiers' families a bill of goods and giving them $5000 when they get killed, and not even signing the condolence letter by hand. There's nothing Christian about profiteering from this war by putting your friends in charge of the contracts and lining your pockets, all the while denying that your own drive for resources is changing the climate of the planet that we are supposed to preserve. I'd rather have an ethical atheist in charge than a hypocritical 'Christian.'