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Small Talk: Why I believe in God


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By Opinions Editor James Wendt

I’m more liberal than the hypothetical spawn of Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow. I suppose somewhere in my development someone taught me that caring about the condition of others is important, and I guess it stuck. Still today, the thought of a child starving because Walmart didn’t pay his mommy or daddy a living wage bums me out 9 times out of 10.

Okay, you caught me; 10 times out of 10 that bums me out.

Somewhere else along in my development someone taught me to believe in God too. Plagued by the stereotype of the faithless liberal, it often perplexes people that I believe in the big G-O-D. Let me explain why I think that belief stuck too.

My moms raised me Catholic. Traditionally the Catholic Church has all but defecated on same sex couples, but since my moms were raised Catholic, they decided to stick around. We’ve been eating wafers ever since. Growing up, my parents didn’t teach me about a scary God who exists to punish and flood stuff if people get out of control; instead, they taught me about a totally chill God.

God is supposedly on board with the idea that sooner or later everyone will break a vase or accidentally commit a felony. This allows humans to forgive themselves by claiming that forgiveness, and learning from mistakes are universal truths of the human condition. This teaching has been ingrained in me as a tool that encourages growth and development in the hope that progress will eventually be rewarded with a key to Jesus’ penthouse. People love thinking they will be rewarded for their efforts, and I am no different. We believe in divinity in search of sanity from within the labyrinth that is humanity.

Life and death are part of that humanity. Even so, death horrifies me. The knowledge that I will someday take my last breath nearly knocks the wind out of me. I soothe those fears with the hope that after the Grim Reaper violently removes life from my body, I can kick it for eternity in a place that I imagine is a lot like the Caribbean and nothing like Detroit. At the very least, I hope that when I die I will decompose into dirt for a beautiful deer to eventually poop on.

Another totally, as Jesus would say, “rad” thing about believing that we are not floating through space without purpose, is the possibility that someone is watching out for us. Every day, humans tackle various demands of life. To continue my poorly constructed sports metaphor, sometimes it is nice to imagine a divine linebacker obliterating our burdens. I think somewhere in the Bible it says that God played football in college, but I wouldn’t know – I’ve never read it.

A friend once told me that it is just as foolish to believe in a greater power as it is to doubt such an existence. God functions as validation of human fault, encouragement for personal growth, hope of an infinite tomorrow called afterlife, and manipulation of divinity to alter circumstance. Some claim that God is merely a fabrication of the human imagination to pacify our shared condition. There is truth to that cynical claim, but it is far more romantic to hope that that fabrication is rooted in inspiration and truth.

I believe in God because when it comes down to it, I suppose I’ve always been more of a romantic than a cynic.

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Small Talk: Why I believe in God