Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Geezer Wonders as He Wanders

I keep questioning and wondering about God.

At least once a day over the past month or so, I find myself saying the following prayer for my Mom: “Eternal rest grant unto my Mom, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  May her soul, and the souls of all our family’s faithful departed rest in peace.”

I say it, but I don’t know if I believe in the God to whom I pray.

My Dad was an alcoholic – “chronic acute alcoholism” was listed as the cause of death on his death certificate.  He also suffered from pathological insecurities that made his life, and the lives of my Mom, my brother, and me frequently horrible.  He died in 1981.

So God, if God exists, has received and, according to the Catholic theology I learned in my youth, judged my Mom and Dad.

The only God in whom I would be able to believe at this point in my life would have welcomed both Mom and Dad into God’s Kingdom.  Mom would be joyfully greeted because her life was one of love, generosity, family, friendship, and work.  What the Church taught me agrees with this belief.

Dad would be accepted because all the evil he caused was caused by illnesses for which he never had treatment and against which his self–propelled attempts at behavior modification were totally futile.  Mom was worthy of Heaven; Dad was so sick he had no free will to choose good over evil and so could not be excluded from Heaven because he wasn’t morally responsible for the awful things he did to us.  I don’t think Church teaching would agree completely with this belief.

So I wind up wondering again about God, Heaven, Hell, and faith.  I find myself totally unable to accept much of which the Church taught me about life, death, eternity, and myself.

Life at 65 would be different — not easier, really, but different — if I had the faith I had when I was younger.  I wish, in a way, that I still had that faith.  But I don’t.  All I have are facts that argue against the teachings of the Church.  All I have is the strong evidence of my life that the Church, the Bible, and people of faith are wrong in so many ways.  Nothing Christianity professes is trustworthy to me because so much of what it teaches I have found to be wrong.

The founder of L’Abri, the Protestant Evangelist and scripture scholar, Francis Schaeffer, had a son, Frank.  Frank Schaeffer has written several books about his journey of faith, interesting books describing an interesting life.  Once, in an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Frank Schaeffer told Terry Gross that he chooses to believe now, in the face of many reasons to disbelieve, because belief makes him feel better about living.

I think belief would make my life more comfortable.  To use a desire for comfort as a reason to try too profess a faith about which I’m so unsure, is impossible for me.

So I continue to question and to wonder.

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