Before I start, I just want to say that although this isn’t my normal content, I feel like it’s something I need to say. I genuinely don’t intend to offend anyone, and I’m sorry if I do. You are entitled to believe what you like, and I encourage you to do so. This is my opinion, and after years of holding my tongue to avoid conflict, I feel like it needs to be said.
I was Christened as a baby and some of my earliest memories are of church. I remember flicking through the bible unable to read a single word while services were going on. I remember standing and trying to sing along to songs that I didn’t know the words to, and I remember sitting in a circle in the Sunday School while a woman told us stories about God.
I have some very pleasant memories from my early years in church. It’s where my parents told me I was going to have a little sister, everyone was always really nice, and the whole place looked like a castle out of a fairy tale, and once a week I got to dress up in my nice clothes and be a princess there.
I remember when my family stopped going every week. Mom starting working night shifts at the hospital and would have to sleep on Sundays. I remember asking Dad if we could go anyway, but I think he wanted us to do it as a family. We went to church less and less, and eventually stopped going all together. I have to be honest, I really enjoyed church, but I think it was the people and the atmosphere that I liked so much. I knew I should have this unconditional love for God, but I just didn’t feel it.
As I grew, I learned about the world. Even as a kid, I learned about safety around strangers, and the horrible things that can happen to you if you’re not careful. I learned about how good people, even babies, can become really sick and have their life impacted negatively forever or even die. I started to question how this man who has infinite power could be so heartless. My best friend growing up had many complications with her health that still affect her today, but she wasn’t a bad person. She didn’t deserve what was given to her, so why did God give it to her?
A few years later, when I was 11 years old, 9/11 happened, the school pulled my class into the library, and played a tape on the TV to show us what had happened. I knew it was bad, but at that age I was unable to comprehend why it had happened, and just how bad it was. If God truly had unlimited power, why would he let something like that happen? That was my question then, referring to a few people dying, not understanding the enormity of the situation. With what I know now, it makes even less sense that He would allow it to happen. Thousands dead, partners, parents, children, and friends all lost their loved ones forever. They’re lives changed and impacted forever. All of the rescue workers who were lucky enough not to die, now suffering from lung conditions, PTSD, their lives changed forever, and now their loved ones being affected. How could someone with unlimited power, allow so much suffering?
Now I was really questioning things, and seriously doubting that this all awesome guy in the clouds, who was turning out to be not that awesome at all, really existed. At first I was angry, I hated the idea of religion, and I thought that anyone who believed it was an idiot. It’s not that I’d had a bad experience with the church, or had anything happen to me personally to make me not believe, but it just didn’t add up. This guy who was suppose to be loving us, just kept killing innocent people, or at least allowing innocent people to be killed. I remember saying some negative things about religion, although I can’t remember what they were now, and had my Mom remind me that I was a Christian, and that I’d been Christened, to which I responded, “Just because you stuck my head in some water doesn’t mean I have to believe in an invisible guy in the clouds who kills innocent babies.” That’s when I realized I’d completely lost my faith.
I calmed down with my hate for religion over the next few years, and I was actually envious of my high school friends who had their faith. I could see how happy it made them, and I wished it was something I could be a part of, but I knew that I couldn’t fake faith, and that I just didn’t have it.
And now here we are today. I’m genuinely happy for people that have faith in God, or whatever their deity is. People in general deserve happiness, and if they’re happy, then that’s great. I think there’s something more to the universe than just us, something greater, although I haven’t been able to figure it out, and I probably never will.
Like I said, I’m happy for people with faith, but I have to say, not everything about it makes me happy. It makes me sad when people have the mindset that if it’s meant to be God will make it happen, and so they just sit around waiting for something to happen. Very rarely does something just fall out of the sky and into someone’s lap that changes their life, and you can’t count on that happening, you need to make it happen for yourself. It makes me sad to see people wasting their lives waiting for God to open that door that He’s never going to open.
It makes me angry when people give credit to God for something someone else did. A man is sick and dying and undergoes surgery and then is on the mend and going to live. It’s not a miracle from God, the doctor who studied and worked his ass off for years, and then was elbows deep in that mans body for hours on end stressing about getting everything exactly right did that. He earned that credit, don’t give it to someone who doesn’t deserve it. A woman gives birth to a baby. It’s not a miracle of God. That woman went through hell growing that baby in her body, dealing with all the crazy changes of pregnancy, and then pushed it out of a tiny hole, dealing with the pain just to make it happen. God didn’t do that, that woman did that, she dealt with the horrible pain, and she deserves the credit. You scored the winning goal with just a few seconds on the clock. God didn’t do that, you did that. You trained your ass off to get into the shape you’re in, and ran your hardest to the other end of the field, and you made it happen. Not God.
I see it all over Facebook everyday, “Type amen if God carried you this week”. If you had a bad week, and you made it through, YOU did that. You hung on and pushed through. If you fought your way our of depression or addiction, YOU did that. You went through hell everyday, and you clawed your way out, even when it was agony. God didn’t do that for you, you’re the one that suffered, you’re the one who put everything you had into it to keep going. You’re a bad ass, own it. Stop being so modest and giving this guy the credit, YOU did it, and good on you!
Faith is a lovely thing to see in people, and if you have it, I’m very happy for you, but please stop giving this guy credit for the work of other people, including yourself. I think it’s not only inconsiderate, but disrespectful to praise Him for something someone else did. People make things happen. If God was in control of everything, and made those people make those things happen, then God also made people fly planes into the World Trade Centers, and knowingly killed thousands of people, and ruined the lives of thousands more. So either people make things happen, and they deserve the praise that goes with it, or God isn’t a good guy, he’s an asshole. Take your pick.