Our new blog friend, Izzi, recently said that all the cruelty and judging done in God’s name had led her to become a humanist, and she asked me to write about how I remained faithful knowing how ugly the faith world can be.
Her questions reminded me of a much gentler version of this email I received last year:
I’ve been reading your blog for several months. I like you. You’re smart, really smart. But you believe in Jesus and heaven and the bible. I guess I’ve always assumed that being smart and faithful were mutually exclusive. Do you believe in the Easter Bunny, too, G? It’s fine if you do, just please explain. Brain exploding.
No, No, No. I was not offended by this email. I think maybe we all get offended a bit too easily. It’s like we’re excited to get offended, we are just waiting to get offended. It’s a little dramatic of us.
You know, I think if we people of faith want to be taken seriously, we might need to gain a collective thicker skin and better sense of humor.
Hank from King of the Hill:
Those Christian rockers. They’re not making Jesus cooler. They’re just making rock and roll suckier.
For the record, I listen to Christian rock all the time. But that’s some good stuff there, Hank.
Izzi wrote this in her comment:
So, after a few years of being rejected by the faith I had chosen, I started to give up on it all. I live overseas, and I’m surrounded everyday by violence done in God’s name. There is very little kindness in religion that I have been able to see and trust me, I’ve been looking . I miss the community and I miss that peace that came from believing in a greater purpose, but I’ve finally decided to accept living as a humanist – that there is a right and a wrong, and it’s up to us to see that our world gets better, not because there is a God, but just because it’s the right thing to do. I would like to know, because I admire the strength of your faith and I celebrate your life choices, what keeps your faith strong? What do you say to all those who have actively rejected faith? And please, if there is a God, what is going to happen to all those little babies in Saskatchewan and Timbuktoo who have never heard of religion?
When I got your questions, I almost responded by sending you this post. But after rereading your comment twelve times, I realized that you were requesting the whole TRUTH.
Now, that post is my Truth. But I have discovered over the years that when it comes to what I believe and say, there are several different layers of the Truth. And it usually takes a lot of thinking and time and humility to get from the truth all the way down to the TRUTH. It usually works like this, Izzi:
truth: GOD, Craig, I can’t stand her. She is so damn competitive. I’m done with her, I swear. DONE.
Truth: Um, maybe I’m too competitive to be comfortable around her. She won’t let me win.
TRUTH: Kay. I’ve forgotten, again, that I’m okay. I’m doing that thing I do. Instead of looking at this woman like the work of art she is, with her own colors and depth and style, I’m using her as a mirror on the wall. When I look at her, I’m not really looking at her at all. I’m looking back at myself, and using her to examine all my fears and flaws. I’m using her. How rude. She’s a masterpiece, not a mirror. Masterpiece, not a mirror. Masterpiece, not a mirror.
Kind of like that, Izzi. So while that faith post was True, I think I can get even Truer with you about my faith. About why I’ve bet it all on this God thing. We’ll start on Monday. I’d like to talk to you about all the violence and judging done for God, Izzi. It’s time.
Love you, Izzi, you Masterpiece, you.
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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