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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Faith Isn't Stupid

by Peter Schwartz (writer), Augusta, Maine, September 05, 2009

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God exists only insomuch as you let God exist, so maybe it's a good idea to try cracking the window open a little now and then.

I've been noticing with greater and greater alarm that atheism is getting more and more popular in literary and academic circles.  In fact, the majority of writers and scholars believe that anyone who believes in God must be naive and stupid.  You aren't smart enough, aren't sophisticated enough to realize that God doesn't exist and that life is pretty much shit.  As the old saying goes, misery loves company.  Now I don't claim to be some highfalutin intellectual (fingers corn cob pipe thoughtfully for effect) but my great grand-daddy left me with at least this much sense: anything that makes you miserable ain't all that good.

What an assumption!  I know, right?  I'm just as sure that all atheists aren't miserable as I am that all believers aren't happy.  However, I can honestly say from experience that many (not all) of my atheist friends seem to wear their unhappiness like a badge.  They consider their terrible lots in life to be irrefutable proof of how "real" they are.  This is an old idea really, suffering being equated with authenticity.  As a survivor of many forms and flavors of abuse, I personally think there is nothing noble about suffering, especially when it's self-induced.  It just sucks.

I see the core of this issue as being about the concept of newness, modernity.  The idea of God is ancient, so it's not cool anymore.  Cool or not, that doesn't mean there isn't any truth to it.  At some point in time if I shit on a canvas I might have gotten a gallery show because it was new, but that wouldn't mean I'm a better artist than someone who could actually paint.  For God's sake people, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.  If you believe there are some things that endure the test of time than who better than the G-O-D?

The literary and academic worlds are supposed to be a haven, a forum for all thoughts and ideas so what's up with all this judgment?  I've heard intellectuals call religious people closed-minded but isn't it just as closed-minded to say something definitely doesn't exist as it does?  I think of the professor who has the courage, yes the courage to believe in a higher power, and the subtle and maybe not-so-subtle flak he/she might take from his/her co-workers, and it makes me sick.  But not too sick because like time, God heals all wounds.  Awesome.

I guess this is just another case of the old pendulum swinging back the other way again.  Once upon a time people were crucified for not believing, now things have reversed and the faithful are ostracized for believing.  See?  I could have used the word "crucified" but no, I'm not some crazy, religious nut.  Nor do I think I am right.  I just think God exists insomuch as you let God exist, so hey, maybe it's a good idea to try cracking the window open a little now and then, eh?  I believe in spirituality more than some bearded, old, moody, white man in the clouds, and that spirituality has organically lead me to believe that if there wasn't some kind of divine goodwill out there, that shit would be a lot worse than it is now.  If you think that makes me crazy, well then put me in a sundress, slap my ass and call me Sally, I'm crazy.

Let me just anticipate one question: How can I believe in a God, all-knowing and all-powerful, when everything is so terrible?  Well, sorry to bum out your bummers folks, but things are actually pretty good.  Ah, I can almost feel the screams of protest!  Why look at healthcare and Iraq and the corporations and all that.  Terrible situations, agreed, but guess what, it could be a lot worse.  The U.S. is a culture of complaints for which I partially blame Jerry Seinfeld and his weak, Satanic little observations, as well as a sensationalist, emotion-preying media.  No, the sad truth for anyone out there addicted to the victim identity is this: everything's okay.  Life is hell only insomuch as you let it be.  And I really think that is a significant part of people's problem with faith; if there is a God than woah, what do you know, things might actually be alright.

The fact is that if I were to publicly announce that things are actually okay in some of the more popular intellectual hangouts (coffee shops, bookstores, etc), I would probably be verbally abused.  Why I wouldn't be surprised if the sexual practices of my own dear, sweet mother were called into question.  My own flesh and blood mother, the very woman who brought me into this precious, wonderful world.  Think about that a second.



About the Writer

Peter Schwartz is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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7 comments on Faith Isn't Stupid

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By D. E. Carson on September 07, 2009 at 01:21 am

Peter, liked the article.  Just be prepared for the onslaught of progressive, atheistic liberals who will respond to your article and call you everything but a "white boy."  I believe that it was Abraham Lincoln who said, "A man is just about as happy as he makes up his mind to be."

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By Peter Schwartz on September 07, 2009 at 11:42 am

Thanks D.E.,

Haha, oh I suppose I'm ready for anything.  I'm convinced "God" is the most charged word in the English language.  I've noticed that a lot of times people will respond so personally that the content of what they're saying really has nothing to do with the original comment.  We'll see, at least we know Abe's got our back (that's a great quote).

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By Peter Schwartz on September 07, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Like I said, I am merely writing about my own observations of my own friends.  I also think there is a funny little dynamic at play.  Say nothing and people will whine and exude negativity as always, say "You're unhappy" and people perk right up and cry "Unhappy?  Who me?  No way, happy as can be!"  But happy isn't the right word.  God gives many people purpose.  Isn't that the whole point?  God is the opposite of nothingness.  The truth is, I think in the end almost everyone believes in some kind of God, it's more an issue of some people being comfortable with the "G" word and others not. 

Your last point: exactly.  So if it might not be and might be, why not believe it is?  That's the definition of faith.  And whether God is real or not, when I believe most fully, my world's the biggest and brightest.  You can compare apples and oranges by saying there are atheists who see beauty in the world, but compare those atheists against themselves and I can tell you they'd see more beauty if they believed that all those sights weren't just random. 

I've given this issue a lot of through and I think at the core of this issue is that the faithful believe the heart is more important than the brain.  I'm smart but my brain has done me very little good compared to the eternally rejuvenating warehouse of my heart.  Peace.

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By Peter Schwartz on September 07, 2009 at 04:21 pm

There's no wrong God.  If YOU find a God, earnestly, in your own heart, it will not be the wrong God.  Don't worry about mumbo-jumbo punishments, that's staring into a dark, osbcure corner of religion.  Seriously, please don't let that stop you.  The answer is simple: seek. 

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By Credo on September 07, 2009 at 05:51 pm

Interesting article, controversial, and seasoned.

Credo

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By manny osborne on September 07, 2009 at 07:29 pm

If you are miserable and unhappy you'll find some meaning of life in god.  That's why god believers think  all atheists are miserable.

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By Peter Schwartz on September 07, 2009 at 07:30 pm

Dean: That's a lot of work to hold onto nothing.

Credo: Thanks, I look forward to posting again. 

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