Friday, April 18, 2014

Denial and Struggle

To my son Tommy,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
On this Good Friday, my thoughts are actually drawn to events before the crucifixion. My thoughts are drawn to Peter and his three denials before the cock crowed after Jesus was taken. I think about all my own denials in life.

In this day and age, filled with memes about magical Jewish carpenter zombies meant to ridicule our belief as ludicrous, it is quite easy to deny Him. Atheist are pounding at the door screaming that anyone who believes must stop and relating religion to unicorns and fairy tales.

Your old man has read most every major book from most every major religion and many of the minor ones as well. I have studied philosophy, chemistry, theology, physics, teleology, biology, psychology, anthropology, and asked myself some very important questions, albeit to satisfy my own curiosities and unfortunately not for school credit. I can help you navigate through Aristotle's great watchmaker analogy to Pascal's wager to the big bang theory to the inability to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics. I have studied and practiced deductive, reductive, and inductive reasoning and I know each of their limitations. I also know the limitations of the human mind and ego and the traps set by both. I have argued both for and against religion and asked my questions with both closed and open mind depending on what point of the era of Leo you look at.

The funny thing, is for all the questions I have asked and all the arguments I have had with myself and others, I keep coming back to one truth...I believe.  I struggle, I question, I still believe. I am no good at apologetics and I often find some twisted truth in those memes and arguments that send me down a rabbit hole of study and questioning but I come out the other side and I still believe.

One fallacy that some have about people in our religion, or any religion for that matter, is that they just accept and live in perfect harmony with all their tenets of faith. Being a part of a Church that is filled with sinners and humans and imperfect beings, I know this not to be true. Just because you believe doesn't mean you don't struggle. I struggle with various Church policy and the differences that separate people who in the big picture hold to the same major belief. I struggle with things that I am supposed to have faith are true from revelations past. I struggle with my own ego and my own need to know everything and be right in my mind. I struggle with doing the right thing that I know I should do because my own pride and sense of justice and revenge often gets in the way.

One day in the future, you will have all these questions too. You will rebel and fight everything you have been taught. You will think the ways of your elders antiquated and based in old thinking. And it won't just be with religion. You will disregard even the basic lessons like why you should eat your vegetables. You will not learn from the mistakes of your old man with regards to religion, and sex, and drugs, and all sorts of stuff that you will have to struggle with on your own. And for all my studying and learning and experience, you will still have to come to your own conclusions.

I have denied Him before. I hope not deny Him again. It all boils down to I struggle, I question, I believe, and I pray and I pray and I pray. I hope you will believe too, my son. I will be there to help guide you as best as I can and I will pray that you to will return from each and every rabbit hole you go down.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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