Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rambling Thoughts About Belief and Nonbelief

I just finished reading David Sheff's "Beautiful Boy," the horrifying account of his son's meth addiction and its effect on his family. As I parent, I can't imagine how excruciating it must be to watch your child attempt to destroy himself. Thank God Nic Sheff is still alive, though relapse is always a possibility with meth. It is some disgusting, evil stuff.

Notice that I said "Thank God." Since I believe in God, I'd have at least one advantage in a rehab program. As David and Nic Sheff have pointed out, many rehab programs are based on the AA principle that addicts must submit to a higher power. But how can you submit to something you don't believe in? Both father and son are agnostic, and Nic struggled with the God approach to recovery. As I pointed out to my friend V., that would be like telling me to submit to the Easter Bunny.

V. is an atheist, and we've had plenty of long talks about how alienating that is when you live in the Bible Belt. It really meant something to her when President Obama gave a shout-out to nonbelievers, because she's gotten a lot of negative feedback over the years. A lot of negative feedback.

My faith has evolved quite a bit since my early 20s, to the point where my more devout family members would stage an intervention if they could. I still consider myself a Christian, but I can also accept that my faith is based on a crazy-sounding story. It doesn't offend me in the least to consider the fact that I could be wrong/delusional, or to talk to someone who says the Bible is a collection of fairy tales. To be honest, I think a great deal of it is allegorical. Sometimes I think God is as obvious as my shoe, and other times I think the concept makes no sense. I don't have all the answers, and I'm (mostly) OK with that.


psyphichic said...


EDP said...

Right back atcha.

Sghoul said...

Honstly, your views are pretty close to mine. I have always felt that people who become upset about people who challenge or disbelieve, must be insecure. And I think God respects people who can change their ideas and come to their own conclusions far more than the sheep that so many religious people are.

EDP said...

It just can't be as simple as "Do this, and God will be nice to you." I'd like to think that we were meant to wrestle with the concepts of eternity and our place in a vast, unknowable universe. Maybe that's a cop-out, but if I'm going to believe in God, I want to believe in one who can handle tough questions.