Friday, October 8, 2010


Angela has been blogging for two months and already she's posing, literally, the most difficult question that exists. Asking for gardening or baking tips just isn't her style, not when the world at large still hasn't come up with a satisfactory explanation for the meaning of life.

How do you have faith? (How is it possible to feel certain about whatever it is you believe?) And for those who don't buy into "God," how do you find satisfaction in a life void of faith?

Let me start with the conclusion and work backward: You don't create faith by yourself. We humans? We're just not that talented. We were created to NOT be that talented. We were created to STRUGGLE with faith.

If you've ever taken a philosophy class (and had one of those great professors that pushed and pushed and pushed until your breath was huffing and the only answer left to give is "I guess I don't exist!"), then you probably know what I mean when I say that the human mind has limits. And language has HUGE limits. There are emotions that have no words. Explanations that have no words. Occurrences all around us that go unknown. It isn't too difficult to imagine that in the great fabric of this life, we are only able to see and know a few of the threads.

Now God, he's the pinnacle of the unknown. First our limited minds and then our limited language make it so that we can't get a real grasp on what he is, what he does, or for heaven's sake WHY. (Note: I absolutely hate that we call him "HE" when gender has no place at all in the concept of GOD.)

I was raised WELS Lutheran. For those who don't know, they're the strict ones. They look at the Bible and feel that every single word is the "God-breathed" truth and no rule ever, ever bends. This is the LITERAL branch of the Lutheran religion.

(Another sidenote: Who decided which "books" of the Bible were God-breathed and which weren't? A room full of men hundreds of years ago, according to The Da Vinci Code. I love books/movies that make me question my faith, and I think God does too!)

Anyway, for Lutherans it's all about the TRINITY. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost. So God the Father is up there looking all mighty (like Keifer Sutherland or maybe Bruce Willis). He created the world. Now he hangs out there watching everything that goes on here and answering all our prayers with "Yes," "No," or "Later." (What must THAT inbox look like?)

Then there's God the Son, our pal Jesus (Christian Bale or maybe Leonardo DiCaprio). He got to hang out with us confused humans for a while, then he went and DEFEATED DEATH, which (kind of like a Disney movie) was the magic hocus pocus needed to save us from damnation, Hell, our sins, ourselves. Awesome. No more sacrificing animals to get ourselves to Heaven.

But then there's the holy ghost. Kind of the odd guy out (played by Zack Galifianakis), what does the holy ghost do? Play solitaire?

I was told that he is all about FAITH. He creates it, he brings it, he makes it possible for us dumb humans to believe something so outrageous, even when it goes against our so-called good sense.

In order to receive this gift, you have to ASK and you have to HEAR.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this or thought it myself: I don't have any reason to go to church. I already know everything the pastor says.

I know this makes it sound all cult-y and brainwash-y, but the more you hear it, the easier it is to keep your faith whole. I think it's because it makes you think more about God in your day-to-day life. The more you hear his name and the words in the Bible, the more they pop into your head at random moments... and it's helpful. It's peaceful.

But you have to ask for faith. You have to want it, and work on it, because it DEFINITELY will go against your common sense.

The bigger question from Angela's post wasn't so much how do you believe in God, though. It was how do you believe that you're believing in the right faith.

No one knows absolutely if their faith is right. If they say they absolutely know, then they're full of sh*t. I'm biased toward WELS Lutheranism because it does make sense to me -- you can't only believe some of the words in the Bible, you have to take them ALL literally. (Another sidenote: Lutherans aren't so stupid as to take parables as true stories, etc.)

But just like there's always a tiny voice in your head that says, "What if God is a fairytale?" that voice might say, "Maybe the Muslims have it right!"

And that is good. GOOD. Because if you're allowed to question your faith? You aren't in a cult. You're in a conversation with God. And he LOVES that.

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