Monday, July 24th, 2017

A Thousand Words: The Deal With God in a Godless Time

Bradford Spurr

Posted on April 22, 2017 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By: Bradford Spurr, Multimedia Editor

I don’t believe in god, but sometimes I understand why people do. My grandmother makes flower arrangements for her WASPy congregation in a well-to-do suburb of New Jersey known for its award of “Best Place to Live-2005” from Money Magazine and also for being home to one of the few Adidas stores that regularly gets Yeezy drops.

My father’s name is Christopher, after the saint, I’m assuming, who is, after a quick google, not within the circle of actual saints but is listed officially as a martyr, which might be level two on the scale to saintdom. Fun fact: he is the patron saint of “bachelors, transportation, traveling, storms, epilepsy, gardeners, holy death, toothache,” and having an incredibly busy schedule.

My mother will yell at me with some consistency if I “take the lord’s name in vain” but will more than willingly curse someone out. I’m pretty sure I got my colorful use of language from her, something, something, nature vs. nurture.

Whether my siblings believe is a mystery to me. My younger brother believes in the religion of college lacrosse and having obnoxiously ‘flowy’ hair, my sister swears as much as me, so that would be a plot twist, and my youngest brother is pretty young so I’d be willing to bet he does, since he spends all of his time with my parents.

I took this picture the day after Easter; I’m not sure if that has any relevance for you, but there it is. A religious friend of mine had recently posted a similar picture on Instagram with a caption along the lines of “something special about sun poking through the clouds” – not sure if she had statistics to back that claim or not.

For me it comes down to a couple things, shoddy evidence at best, extrapolated interpretations that differ across faiths and flavors of Christianity. Also the whole unfortunate bit from Leviticus 20:13 about, you know, putting homosexuals to death. Aside from the nasty trimmings of an archaic society, the Bible basically tells you to be a good person and that God’s teachings can certainly help you, but my argument is that they can’t be necessary while the numerous (nine) crusades would beg to differ with that assumption.

Will I be blessed with sainthood one day after my death, after performing the several prerequisite miracles that need to be ratified by the Pope and his cardinals? Most definitely not. Do I hold the door open for others? Yes. I have sat through church service, and every Christmas I’ll go; I like getting a candle. I went through confirmation, been there, done that, got the watch. Most of the time when my lack of faith comes into question, I cop out and say that I believe in science, empirical evidence, and source materials that were written at least sometime after Watergate, but I can only supply so much pretension before someone is eventually going to punch me in my face, and I know myself better than most people. I would not take a punch well. It would be like young Mike Tyson in the first round; if you need a visual go watch a highlight reel and I guarantee your jaw will hurt.

But I get it, I do. It’s about structure, and I’m sure it must be nice believing in something bigger than yourself and your constantly expiring existence here on this debatably old Earth. There have been times when I mulled over the idea, but the laissez-faire attitude surrounding mulling would probably disqualify me from membership anyway. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable that people believe in a/the/several God(s), it just puts me on edge when I start getting gospel sent my way when I’m just trying to enjoy my lunch. I would argue that faith in nothing is similar to faith in something; it takes conviction, after all, and both are supported by shortcomings of the other.

America is more divided than it has been in the last 60 years. Americans no longer trust other Americans and instead we see the innate negative pitfalls of other points of view. Friendships were ended on November 8. We cordoned ourselves off in our own safe information bubbles with significant negative feedback loops. We dug in, we clung to our moral life rafts as though they would save us from the tumultuous twitter tirade of our newly crowned commander in chief. Bad. Up is down and down is up. It’s hard enough to orient yourself, let alone make sense of this sensory overload. I read at least a dozen particularly offensive things on pretty innocuous websites. Maybe we could all use a little more Jesus in our lives, or at the bare minimum the free wine.