When I was in 2nd grade a friend asked me if I believed in God. I said “No” and she went and tattled to the teacher. When I was in high school, I babysat for some wonderful neighbors and friends of ours. One of their daughters asked me if I believed in God, and I said “No.” She burst into tears and cried because I was going to hell.
And people wonder why I have a negative view about religion?
When I became an adult and considered the possibility that I may not have all the answers, I started going to a non-denominational Christian church. I sat and listened to the preacher, but ultimately I stopped going because I couldn’t embrace a belief that said my father—a wonderful, good, kind, man (and atheist)—was going to hell.
Now, I am a mother, and I am still looking for something more. I don’t expect answers, but I’m looking for some understanding. How do people gain and hold onto faith? “Because the Bible says so,” doesn’t work for me. I find it arrogant for any person or entity (believers or not) to claim they know all the answers.
Finally, I have found a wonderful group of people whom I can talk with about these questions and doubts. The very name of our group, “The Q Place,” implies that it is okay to ask questions about faith. Most of the ladies are Christians, but they listen to my opinions and questions without judgment—not only with tolerance, but with appreciation. In turn, I have listened to their sincere beliefs, questions, doubts, and expressions of faith with a new understanding—because I feel I am also being heard.
Already I feel I have gained new wisdom—from within and from listening to these other women. Although we are all in a different place in our faith, we are all the same in our questions. I am looking forward to our new discussions each week. I haven’t found any answers, but I’ve found new understanding. In our first week’s reading, I found this quote that I read over and over again:
“Even though someone’s hunger is not proof that food exists or that the person will get a meal anytime soon, hunger is a powerful indicator that a person has a capacity and basic need to eat…. Spiritual hunger is a powerful indicator that there is something beyond ourselves that we can—and need to—feed on” (paraphrased from C.S. Lewis).
Wishful thinking? Maybe not.
San Jose, CA