Here’s some light reading.

No, not really.

Ever since my grandmother died I’ve been what I’d call “spiritually unsure.” My grandmother was a good Christian and believed in Jeebus and all the “good person goes to heaven” stuff. Before her death, I didn’t think about spirituality or religion too much. I suppose I was of the frame of mind that something started it all and if it’s that big and huge and God-like, how could a mere mortal wrap her mind around that greatness.

Let me make one thing clear right now: I WANT TO BELIEVE IN GOD.

I do, because the idea of my grandmother dying and being fooled bothers me. It actually makes me angry. The reason I’m having so much trouble, I think, is literally a week or two after her death I went to see Eddie Izzard perform live. The show was about how ludicrous it was for us to believe that God exists. His entire comedic act was based upon the concept of us creating God, not the other way around. He pointed out the humor behind believing heaven is above us when we know there’s cloud and space and no angels. Rocket ships have shown us what’s truly above, yet we still insist upon believing the unbelievable. This, in his mind, makes us stupid.

It was the WORST time for me to see his show. Not only did I have a hard time enjoying the comedy, I had a really sinking suspicion he was onto something. I didn’t need that then. Not when I’d lost the person I was closest to. If anything I needed faith more than ever at that time of my life, yet here was this snarky British guy talking about the preposterous notion of some big dude with a white beard throwing monsters and volcanoes on the earth, then killing them off, then making monkeys, then making monkeys talk, then making monkeys fight, and . . . never coming back after he started it all and how that made zero sense.

I’m still wrestling with this, six months later. I’m still wrestling with the idea of God not existing, and I hate it. I want to be able to be okay with some kind of god in my life. I want to know that my grandmother didn’t just fall over and there’s nothing magical, or wonderful, or heaven-like waiting for her, because that doesn’t seem fair. The idea of that doesn’t sit well with me, even though I know there’s nothing I can do. Sooner or later it’ll be me that’s gone, and I suppose my fears for her are fears for myself. What if I live my life trying to be a good person and it’s all just over? No pay off for my troubles? I suppose I won’t know about it because I’m just a lump of dead meat but . . .

Yeah. I want my faith back, and I don’t know how to go about getting it.

5 thoughts on “Here’s some light reading.

  1. Hi LJ, I am over from Von’s and really appreciated your comments towards anon this weekend.I too lost my grandmother this past year. Faith, beliefs, etc. are not easy stuff. I am not sure I have the answer for myself or anyone else for that matter. I know that losing her was the hardest thing I had endured up until that moment in time. It was at that time I saw how others view death and who my real friends were. Thus, for me it was not the g-d factor, which I personally do not believe in, it was the human spirit factor that left me feeling cold and confused. Like how could friends not be there for me in my dire time of need? (I now have new views on this.)I hope you find the answers you are seeking at this time. Give yourself time and you’ll figure it out. If you ever need to talk about the loss, I can certainly try to understand your pain as I am still feeling my own.

  2. Thank you thank you for your kind sentiments. And Von is spectacular people, so no one’s going to touch ma Vonnie while I’m equipped with acerbic wit and charm, if charm is what you call it.

  3. Do you have any Priest/Pastor/etc that you like?I am not sure if you are looking for arguments that would make you believe, or if it’s that you are looking to hear what people who believe/practice X think, and see if it matches your beliefs.I did not know your grandma, but from what you’ve mentioned of her, she sounds like an all around awesome, selfless person. So the only comforting thought I can share right now is as follows:Even in your worst case scenario of there being absolutely nothing more to life than “it,” I imagine a person as awesome as your grandma was a good person not for her personal benefit (getting into heaven), but because she wanted good things for the people around her, and to influence them in a positive way. Super awesome people tend to be selfless like that. It sounds to me like your grandma was like that. And now it’s our task to continue the awesomeness chain hoping that those that come after us are even better people than us. I really don’t think even this worst case scenario is all that bad. So what if she was or wasn’t wrong about what/who God is? We all get stuff wrong. If she was an awesome person, that’s really what matters. I mean, I bet your grandma was wrong about The Beatles being the bestest band ever. And that is a much more important issue than religion, right? 😀

  4. Three years after my dad died, I did a retreat at my old parish helping suburban kids learn about their faith. I used his death and how he died–surrounded by his family and friends–as a testatment to his faith and to mine. I also used the Woody Guthrie song, God’s Promise, to help me explain it all. After my mom died, I included her in the story.To this day, that song helps me out when I need a push.Five years on, I still struggle with my faith. Like you, I don’t want to think either of my parents were idiots. They were both devout, but liberal, Catholics. My dad was a defense attorney of extremely high caliber. He taught other lawyer how to try cases. My mom was as shrewd as they come–masters degree in french literature and a natural lie detector. The idea that they died “being stupid” just doesn’t sit well with me. Then there is the extremely comforting notion of seeing them again. I think its one of the great comforts of so many religions–that you get to see the loved ones who died before you–and I do not want to give it up. Ever.Five years later, I struggle with this every day. It has not gotten easier–and my faith has waned–but I have found better ways to cope with it. Six month* is such a short time to learn new ways to cope. You’re still dealing with primary loss here. There is one thing you, and Eddie Izzard, need to think about. Jsut because a core belief is different, it does not make one an idiot. Your grandmother, the brilliant woman she was, believed in her faith. Having that faith does not make her stupid–on the contrary, it made her strong. She wasn’t tricked by anyone, she chose to believe in it. Religious faith isn’t just superstition and oral tradition. It is also significantly more complicated than stand up comedy–even if the comic is a genius like Izzard.Her faith gave her guidance but from what I remember, her faith wasn’t her life. Words, her children and her granddaughter were her life. There is a nugget of truth to her belief, and “right” or “wrong” that’s something to be proud of.I can go on and on about this. Faith, grief and science are always on my mind. The constant argument between them is just one of the ways I cope with my loss. You’ll find the way to cope and reconcile your faith with your grandmother’s passing. IT just takes time.A metric fuckton of time.*Anyone who says, “get over it, it’s been six months,” is obviously dried up cobag: Their opinion is invalidated by the simple lack of being human.

  5. My own beliefs are murky at best. I’m not a particularly spiritual person, nor have I ever been. One thing that occurs to me is this. Science and religion are basically at odds with each other. Each seeks to claim total dominion over the explanations for the world. Why everything is the way it is, where it came from, what governs which and so on and so forth. But I’m not so sure that they really are mutually exclusive. I think that it may be a gross oversimplification of the world to say that it is only the physical manifestations and laws proscribed by the knowledge involved in Science, or that it is only the quite largely debated rules and stories and tenets set forth by the belief involved in Religion.There are those who would argue that science is its own religion, and there may be merit there, but I think it’s another oversimplification.I think it was Lyotard that argued, philosophically speaking, that God was the thing beyond that which one could think. Whatever the greatest thing you could think was, the most complete explanation you could come up with, the most thorough and reasonable model for the history of existence… God existed beyond that. We say an awful lot of things trying to capture that essence, but our best efforts are rough guidelines. I would extend it to include religion in general, by saying that God or Whomever exists beyond the religion itself, as it can be argued that religion is a product of man. that doesn’t mean those things aren’t real or the beliefs aren’t valid, it just means that it may not be the whole’s a complicated sort of thing, and i’m just rambling. I have always been uncertain, and I think I’m one of those nasties who will only make those who are not certain even less so.

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