Belief in Belief: an Essay
For nearly 15 years, I recanted my beliefs each Sunday. “I believe in one God, the Power, the Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth…” and so on. Then I went into confirmation, which at the age of 15 is a pretty heavy task. I did not actually understand what it meant to be catholic, and I had never seen anything else. Simultaneous with confirmation I was learning about all the evil things in the world. I was a Sophomore in high school and the first year in the big house taught me some lessons I will never forget. For the first time I had peers asking if I really believed in God.
No really, do you believe in God?
Had I ever even thought about that? I hadn’t, the whole concept that God might not exist was completely foreign to me. So I read literature from the likes of Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and Douglas Adams. In 2004 when the St. Paul Archdiocese censured St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church for treating the gay community like human beings, I was nearly convinced. God is dead. I was agnostic until I could come up with a better answer.
God no longer fit the description I had come to understand as God, an all knowing, unconditionally loving deity.
Then I graduated and traveled to Europe. I had some time to reflect and I thought about the world, and reflected on my beliefs. I thought about the devoutly christian scientists studying unholy things like stem cell research. I tried to figure out what God was doing for the people ostracized by their own church.
Then I went to college.
I took myself out of everything I had grown up with, my old friends and old nemeses, my parents, brother, and grandparents. I met someone studying religion, another agnostic, and he helped me find the answers to those questions. I learned to ask about what God means to me, and how God and religion are different but the same for different people. I was asked by one of my teachers how I knew I could trust someone, or how I knew my parents loved me, and realized I can’t know those things. I can only believe. At that point I realized my belifs. I believe in belief. I believe it is important to believe in something greater than myself otherwise I could never trust, love, or know anything.
I believe God is real, but I had to make this true for myself in order to know this. Simply put, I have to believe in belief.
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