Sunday, October 14, 2012


            Religion is one of those things that I have never been able to hold a concrete belief about for very long. I think my record for definitely believing a single thing was about three years of atheism. But as of about a year and a half ago, that period came to a slightly regrettable end and left me entirely unsure of what I believed. Again. So, here is my vague, uncertain, and ultimately less than conclusive two cents about what might be out there watching us.
            A god that would observe the problems of the world and fix them in response to prayer can surely not be real. With everything wrong with the world today and throughout history – the pain, suffering, and injustice – how could a god that responds to the pleas of mankind exist? Perhaps faith could give you hope that things would get better, but what if they did not, as is often the case? Would you lose your faith or maintain it, having your hopes dashed again and again as things did not improve? I cannot believe that a god that listens to us and  works to help us could possibly be real.
            Then what of a god who influences history on a larger scale, a god with a grand plan laid out that we may only be a small and hardly significant step in? Begging for help and change would elicit no response, for such a god would not alter what it had mapped out merely to improve the lot of a tiny person. Ruled by such a god, our suffering would be nothing more than one of a multitude of side effects of events that would further its master plan. The idea of fate has the potential to be comforting, I suppose, as you would be able to know that no matter what you might have done differently, events were destined to play out as they had, rendering you blameless. I find it terrifying to think that nothing you do has any impact at all and that every bad thing that has ever occurred was fated to do so. The ideas of a fated existence and a god that would govern it frighten me too much to allow me to believe it possible.
            But suppose that a god had created the universe and stepped back, impartial and refusing to interfere. Such a god might watch us, but human history would play out as we caused it to with no one to blame but ourselves and no one to thank but each other. Choices would have consequences, and the only ones we could look to for help would be one another. This god would not help us, but nor would it hurt us. We would be left to fend for ourselves, and our doings would have meaning. Humanity would govern its own fate without divine interference. Such a god I could believe in if ever I found any reason to think that it was real.
            There is no single true god or faith, for in ideas of that nature, ideas that cannot be proven, truth is different for every individual, colored by who they are and how they see the world. At the moment, there is no religious truth for me. I am undeniably confused. For the most part, I do not believe in a god, but I wonder. And I don’t know. Even if I do not believe in the existence of a god, the only god I can even imagine existing would not punish me for that. The only god I could ever believe in would not punish me for being uncertain or somehow wrong.

-Emma Foster

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