“I find that I don’t seem to have a choice over whether or not I believe in God. I simply find that I do not. And trying to force myself to believe, it would be like trying to convince yourself that you’re in love with somebody who you’re not in love with. Either you have faith or you don’t. Either you believe or you don’t. Your belief finds you, and then you and it have each other. And once your faith is set, I think only the biggest kind of seismic event in your life can change that, even if you want to change it.” –Ira Glass
I agree with Ira on all points, except the last sentence. My faith was very set. A year ago, I couldn’t imagine believing in God. At my grandfather’s funeral in November, I realized that I wanted to believe in God. In that church, I felt the presence of God, (or maybe it was the presence of a community that cares) and I wanted to be able to feel that presence of God regularly. I still didn’t believe in God, but I felt something, and gradually, over time, it has become strong enough to call belief, though I think it is more that I have faith in God, rather than I believe in God. Maybe there isn’t a difference between the two… it’s not easy to explain.
My grandfather’s death wasn’t a seismic event. We were never terribly close, and had become more distant every year since my grandmother died 14 years ago. His funeral came at a time when I had been working for a year on improving myself and getting my ducks in a row. I was eating well, I was active, I had been able to learn how to manage my anxiety, I had a good job. I felt like I accomplished everything I had set out to when I wanted to get my ducks in a row, except for establishing a way that I would be able to continually improve myself.
I wanted to think about morals, and being a good person. Then I was in church, and it felt good. I wanted more. The way I saw it, the best way to do that (for me) would be to go to church. It was the logical next step. I felt like Christianity would have the answers to the questions I had in a way that nothing else would be able to. I took a leap of faith, and instead of falling to the ground, I feel like I’ve been lifted up to a new height that I was looking for.
In One.Life, Scot McKnight says, people “explore their individualism so deeply they eventually come to the middle of their heart and find that without God, there is nothing there.” I think this is exactly what I did. I wanted to make sure my little corner of the world was ship-shape, and in investigating every nook and cranny, I found that I’m not a corner, I’m an inside piece. There are no corners, and if you try to pretend you’re a corner, you’re gonna have a bad time. Not only am I an inside piece, but I am connected to the whole spherical mass of everything else, where there are no edges, or tops or bottoms. Every part of everything else is connected, and God helps me recognize those connections.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with anyone who has zero belief in God. I don’t think they’re going to hell. I don’t think that they’re devoid of morals. I just have found that for myself, it was a necessary part of becoming whole.
I definitely feel like my choice to start going to church was a logical one. It was the next step in my journey to figure it all out. My increased faith wasn’t logical, it just happened like Ira Glass said. Faith isn’t something that is easily changed, and almost never changed on purpose.