Hi, I use faith every day to help me navigate through the world. However, when it comes to God's existence I suddenly balk.

I’m always surprised at which of my blog entries get the most traffic.  For some reason when I review Leonardo DiCaprio movies my wordpress stats are solid for days.  Marvel Comics posts are hit or miss, which is sad because I wish everyone understood how rare it is to have a conservative who can liken Neal Gabler to the Fantastic Four’s nemesis The Mole Man…

Regardless, I found it fascinating to see interest spike over a religious post on Christopher Hitchens, since it’s not an arena I’m comfortable fighting in.  It’s incredibly easy to look like a doofus when discussing God, and it’s not hard to get tied in intellectual knots if the thread you’re weaving for readers isn’t well thought out and painstakingly on point.

So, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ll give it another go.  Since I’m on a train leaving DC, I can’t help but think that my mind will be clearer.

In this post I’d like to talk about faith, because non-believers often seem to portray believers as knuckle-dragging boobs for utilizing it.  I find this offensive not so much because of my religious convictions, but because I find the image of a boob with knuckles disturbing…

In all seriousness, though, all of us use faith.  It’s a perfectly legitimate tool that should help shape our views of the world, as well as our navigation through it.  Atheists use faith every day as well, and yet, when it comes time to apply it to the existence of God, they balk.

Anyone who has ever gone with their “gut instinct” has used faith.  Anyone who has been in love has used faith.  Anyone who has opened their own business has used faith.  In so many aspects of our lives, there are decisions that have to be made because the gap between what we know and what we don’t (or can’t) know is too large to bridge with empirical studies.  As much as I’d love to run regression analysis for years on end in order to tell me whether or not I should get married, it isn’t possible.   That last bit of gumption everyone needs to ultimately ask the Big Question is in some part made with the sticky, gooey usually-goodness…of faith.

Bill Maher uses faith to see his way through many aspects of his own life, even if he doesn’t realize it.  Given that, when he mocks men and women of any religious affiliation by comparing God to The Easter Bunny, he really only makes himself look silly.

Here’s a question for Christopher Hitchens:  Why is it, that over the course of my life, whenever I consulted with God and lived it in accordance with what I thought He had planned for me, things came together?  Why is it, when I strayed from God it all seemed to fall apart and, ultimately, I felt lost and confused?  As an Irish Catholic with an independent streak and time in an infantry unit as a young man, I haven’t always been an angel. I’ve never knocked on doors or proselytized (although I once put a boot through a window).  So my relationship with God didn’t come at the behest of a priest or family member or a member of the clergy, but as a result of a lifetime of learning from boneheaded mistakes.

Are God’s fingerprints plastered all over my life, particularly the successes I’ve had and the failures I’ve overcome?  I believe so.  But just because a real-life member of CSI couldn’t find them, does that mean that they’re not there?  I don’t think so.  Joy Behar and her liberal friends can call me crazy all they want, but the fact is, I feel God in my life.  I know He’s there.  Just as you, dear reader, feel and know the affection of your wife or husband or son or daughter without ever being able to test their blood for love-levels hidden in plasma.

Just because Grissom can't find God's fingerprints all over the successes and failures of my life, does that mean they're not there? I don't think so.

When things were bleakest and blackest in my own life, and I felt as though I had nowhere left to turn, I turned to God.  And each time I was lifted up and seemingly saved from a hopeless situation.   For me to ever embrace the atheist notion that nothing special was at play, but perhaps some neurons and synapses in my head, would be to deny what I know to be true.

I can’t convince the atheist to believe in God, but perhaps I can get them to acknowledge and explore the unseen avenues of faith they walk down every day in their own life.  And once they’re aware of those streets, perhaps one will take them down a path—one with a gap in it that will give them a feeling that someone or something that cares about them more than they can ever realize is waiting on the other side.  And then, perhaps, they’ll take that leap.


  1. In response to your question to Mr. Hitchens…

    A theory a friend and I have been kicking around:

    Sin leads to chaos.

    The reason rules (religious and social morals) exist is to keep chaos at bay. When we live within the boundaries of certain moral codes, we minimize chaos in our lives.

    Other people’s chaos (sins) will, like a wave, ripple into our lives. The best we can do is limit the chaos we create in our own.

    I’ve been mulling over that theory for a while. So far it seems pretty solid. For instance, I COULD go to a strip club but it would introduce chaos into my marriage. Even if I don’t see the effects immediately, the seed of chaos has been planted in our lives and it will eventually grow into something unpleasant.

    Just a random observation from my world view.

  2. Interesting theory. However, planting seeds doesn’t always resort in one taking root if the soil isn’t compatible. Perhaps you can you can expand on the metaphor by saying that going to the strip club is like adding seeds AND some sort of strange “sin-manure” into your life (Miracle Grow…for sinners!) 😉

    For example, if I generally live my life well, the occasional random act I might regret isn’t (usually) going to harm me in the long run. Some sins are like weeds, in that they generally look harmless, but they can grow and get out of hand in almost any environment. Others are like planting palm trees in Chicago: It’s weird, but it probably won’t mature. And if it does, most people will rightfully notice and think, “That’s weird,” which would precipitate getting rid of it.

    See what you’ve done to me, Travis?! I better stop, because you’re bringing out the religious-botanist in me.

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