First thing this a.m., I got an email from my sister with this link to a column written by a man in the South who “came out” as having doubts about God. That’s my sister in there, talking about her doubt and our dad.
My sister and I don’t talk about God much–not with each other. I don’t know who I talk with about God these days. I guess I just don’t. I liked Ms. Kitty’s sermon today very much. Her God is mine: Love which is itself a kind of gravitational force. If I were to sit with my sister and talk about God, I think I’d probably tell her a lot of what Ms. Kitty said. I think doubt about a father-figure who is omniscient and tediously involved is fair doubt. I cannot think that someone/thing/being has my life already figured out, and I couldn’t possibly go on without abusing substances if I thought that nothing I did was going to change a pre-ordained thing. I’d think that god a rather cruel and dull bastard if he did exist.
Back when I wrote fiction my favorite thing about writing was also my favorite thing about reading: finding out the ending. If I were a god, I don’t think I’d want to know the end. I’d want to be surprised. I’d want to know that people came up with prose such as this all on their own:
“When he shall die, take him and cut him into little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with the night and pay no attention to the garish sun.” (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)
If I were a god, I’d be the kind that sat back and waited to be surprised by human kindness and, I suppose, even human cruelty–and then the redemption of that cruelty with still more human kindness.
I do not consider myself a humanist, but I do put my faith in the goodness of people–that people will rise to the occasion of love in the public interest. I put faith that people will simply rise from the beauty that is love, so that someday, when they die, someone will want to look to the face of heaven for the stars cut from their bodies.
That’s the God I do not doubt–the God who recognizes that we are all, each of us, capable of weaving something divine out of that ordinary cloth of love and humanity. To this God, I pledge my faith