I am a Doubting Thomas.
Well, that could be an understatement. If you’re not familiar with the Bible, when Jesus arose from the dead, one of his disciples (Thomas) insisted on seeing the nail holes in his hands and feet, and the wound in his side. So history refers to him as Doubting Thomas. Well, let’s put it this way–I would have probably asked Jesus for two forms of ID as well.
Being raised by a Baptist minister means I have quite an impressive body of religious knowledge. The Grandfather has a very cut and dry view of things, religious or otherwise. It is how it is (in his mind) and everything else is wrong. He has great faith and little doubt. He believes in God’s plan.
Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that there are two things you don’t discuss with your friends–religion and politics. You are just asking for an argument. There is no doubt that some people will be offended by my view (or lack thereof) of all things religious. But it’s been on my mind lately, and since I never have learned to keep my opinions to myself, I figure I might as well get it over with.
Is every single little thing we do controlled by a higher power? Some people may not realize this, but I am very open-minded person. I always try to consider all points of view, to the point of being paralyzed at times. I also always try to think of things with common sense and logic, and I can’t help being a little doubtful that God really cares who wins a football game, or a NASCAR race (hail Mary fulla grace……) If you believe in God, and that He created us, then you know He gave us a brain, and the ability to make choices. Why is that? If everything was laid out on a path that we cannot deviate from, then why aren’t we just a bunch of puppets on strings? It even says in the Bible that if you “honor your father and mother,” your days will be long on the earth. Doesn’t that imply that we have a choice about how we are going to live our lives, and if we can lengthen our days, can’t we perhaps shorten them as well? Food for thought……
I go through religious extremes. Sometimes, I think it would be easier not to believe in God at all. I see my sister, and my daughter, and others like them, and I can’t help but ask, “What’s the point?” This summer within a few days of each other, three people under the age of thirty lost their lives in two different car accidents. Three families devastated and changed forever. When I think of my daughter, sometimes I wonder if maybe I did something bad that sort of trickled down on her. To quote Stephen King, “….if you put your ear to that door, you could hear the winds of madness blowing inside.” In other words, I don’t even want to know. Yeah, it would be easier not to believe in God, because the alternative is just too damn depressing.
Then, at times, I go to the other extreme. Dave Barry (one of my favorite humor writers) says he believes in practicing as many religions as possible, “just in case.” I think this is a sound theory. I’ve always been fascinated by Catholicism. I don’t think a priest can abolish your sins, but it sure would be nice if he could. I just like the formality of it, plus I think it’s cool that they believe so much in things that others view as “superstitious.” Also, the bingo and drinking thing is pretty awesome. Baptists have to drink in secret and confine their activities to pot luck dinners and baptisms. Let’s face it, once you’ve seen one person get dunked in the water, you’ve seen them all (I’m going straight to hell, aren’t I?) The only other major hobby of Baptists is getting mad and splitting off to form another church. Eventually, each Baptist will attend church alone, in their own building (now popularly being called a “worship center.”) But I digress.
Anyway, religion is a tricky subject. I want to be one of these faithful, highly confident people who don’t fear the future, or question the present, or wonder if God even exists at all, but I’m not. I don’t know how to be. Sometimes I wonder if He created our universe, and then turned us loose. Then sometimes I wonder if we drove Him away, or disbelieved Him right out of existence. It’s a circular thought process that never ends for me. I’d hate to find out God doesn’t exist, but I’d doubly hate to find out He does, and that He’s pissed at me for doubting Him for most of my adult life.
All I can do is hang out here and ride my fence, I guess, and try to cover all of my bases. I’ve got to go. I don’t want to be late for Mass……or Temple.