COLUMN: God's not dead (maybe)
I fell in love with an atheist in high school. That ended well.
Whether or not that had anything to do with me shunning my Catholic faith, I don’t know. But what I can say is that at the incredibly awkward age of 14, I began disposing of Bibles, prayer books, holy water, rosaries — pretty much anything I owned relating to the religion that I was born into. I began researching atheism. I remember finding the concept of a world without a God so magical and exciting. And I don’t know why.
My church building became just that to me — a building. It was an empty shell full of glass windows and dirty pews and bored, yawning faces. One day it held no more meaning for me. I became convinced that I would lead a soulless, colorless existence and that the gaping void in my gut had nothing to do with the lack of spirituality in my life. For all intents and purposes, I was an atheist and I was content with my life as I knew it.
Which is why it was completely uncharacteristic of me to react in the teary and sniffly way that I did to a low-budget, out-the-wazoo cheesy movie about how God is not dead.
I mean, I don’t do Jesus. It’s not a thing. I sleep until noon on Sundays and I eat burgers on Fridays during Lent.
So why was I crying while watching this movie? I have a couple of theories.
One: I was devastated about the fact that I was in a movie theater at seven on a Saturday night and not doing something college-y and teenager-y. That’s one possibility.
Two: That dusty part of me that I turned away from years ago is reemerging somehow.
One thing I’ve learned while going to this pretty darn awesome university is that the concept of God doesn’t have to be tied into one particular religion. And this is also something that was reiterated in “God’s Not Dead.” Throughout the movie, no one denomination or religion was focused upon, which I liked. The gist of the movie was how a young Christian college student used his arguments that supported the existence of God to prove to the rest of his class, as well as his obnoxious atheist professor, that God is not dead. Among the various themes in the movie, the one of theism vs. atheism is what stood out to me. Granted, the movie made theism out to be the reigning victor, but that’s another topic completely.
I’ve never been to a Mass or a service or whatever you want to call it that wasn’t in a Catholic church. I was raised to believe that God could not be found in any other way than through Catholicism. And I’m pleased to say that I declare that way of thinking to be wrong.
I don’t have to devote my life to a religion that literally makes me want to bang my head on a wall just to have a relationship with Mr. Man-Upstairs.
God is too great of a concept to be stuffed into only one specific religion or denomination. He’s not that simple. And there isn’t only one outlet leading to him — he can be found through a lot of different ways. Everyone is different — therefore everyone sometimes needs their own customized path that leads them to him.
I wish I could say this movie completely changed my perspective and that I saw the light and that I want to go repent for the last five years of sinfulness and spiritual opposition, but I can’t. Quite frankly, the acting was terrible and no such epiphany occurred. But what I can say is that it stirred something in my unbelieving self that made me want to explore this idea of “God” a little bit more, that I felt a part of me that I forgot existed. And as a young person in the world that we live in, I owe it to myself to satisfy that desire to reach some sort of spiritual place.
So here’s to all you Aggies out there who can somehow relate to what I’ve discussed. To all of you currently journeying through the complexities and obstacles of your spirituality, I tip my hat to you. Kudos for having the bravery and the strength to do what you’re doing. But to the rest of us who don’t quite know where to start, I’ll leave you with this: this is a journey that you will have to want for yourself. No one can do it for you. Being born into a religion isn’t always the easiest thing, or the right thing, and there’s nothing wrong with getting off that road. Because chances are there’s a better road for you out there that’s going to lead you to the same place — to God, heaven, happiness. Who knows?
It’s definitely worth a try.
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