I read the God Delusion when I was 18. By 20, I was knee deep in internet intellectual Stefan Molyneux’s objectivist Randian and thoroughly atheistic podcast series, Freedomain Radio. My faith in God was rapidly waning, as I watched the church I grew up in grow smaller and smaller, it’s vision for the world more and more trite. My irritation with my own father was growing, and along that nagging frustration, came a doubt in the existence, or at least, the goodness of God.
Reason! That was the God by which all our faculties were illuminated. By reason we could understand if God existed or not, we could understand objective reality! And it is with my reason that I set out to analyze myself out of fundamentalist Christianity.
I was raised in a small Pentecostal church, full of spiritual excesses, speaking in tongues, dancing, screaming (in the spirit)! God had sent the church out into my small town in order to spread revival, that last outpouring of God’s spirit before the rapture finished us all off for good.
God was going to send me a husband through the church. My future was set as a meaningful cog in the machine of holy ghost revival. The church would massively expand and everyone would see that my father was right to bring his family to this tiny church of sixty people, in order to pioneer an old fashioned move of God in the last days.
Year after year past, and many things began to appear, let’s say, odd to me. Inconsistencies popped up, you could say. But I stayed. God, where would I go beyond this church I attended four times a week, this small closely knit group I grew up in was my whole world.
At 21 I left. I had approached, if not realized, big brained atheism, and my intellectual bravado gave me enough pride to stick it to everyone and walk out. And I’m immensely glad I did. In those walls there was no future with a loving husband for me, a future with children and a meaningful life. But the cold brutalism of atheism stared me in the face as I rejected spirituality, while clinging to my understanding of God with every breath of rebellion left in me. I wouldn’t be left a desolate widow of God in the postmodern world. NO! I would fight back, dig my heels in, and find “reason” to believe in life everlasting.
Thus began the most painful years of my life. I devoured information on both sides of the question of God. I wore a hole in my mind looking for truth. And I found the alt-right, which, for all it’s faults, restored in me a sense of love for traditional western culture, and by necessity, Christianity. I had an instinct it was right, because it was beautiful, and the political movement gave me hope in the spiritual foundations.
This constant tension wore a hole in my mind as my heart and my head fought it out. I felt I couldn’t trust my own intuitions, my feeling, my gut instinct in an eternal father. I wrestled in my mind, listening to Hitchens and William Lane Craig, and, God forbid, the Amazing Atheist.
My intellectual wanderings brought me, like the Hebrews of old, to a sort of promised land. Ironically, this took the form of a documentary exposing the truth of World War Two, The Greatest Story Never Told. This video shows the true evils the human race is capable of, and as I watched the sheer and horrendous brutality unfold before me, especially of the Russians. My whole soul despaired of existence, of life, love, and made me fall into a sort of depression.
And I wondered to myself, how can people survive without believing in a higher meaning, in God?
I had often asked my mother, “Why do you believe in God, and I can’t?” And the answer came back to me, as soft and clear as morning.
“Your mother knows nothing more than you, simply, her soul has surrendered to its own necessity for meaning.”
Isn’t faith accepting and believing something that hasn’t absolutely been proven?
And in this way, all the mumbo-jumbo about reason being our new God, our only measure for the world, our only revelation, was replaced with the simplicity of a power higher than our faculties. A meaning that transcends us we must believe in.
If faith in God was necessary to me as an antidote to despair, I would try to believe. It started out as “fake it til you make it,” but it very quickly turned into real and living faith. The world was a little rosier. The future full of hope. And my mind began to truly believe and receive the message of the gospel.
If reason doesn’t create functionality, perhaps it’s time to try something more primal and instinctual. And as the Pentecostals sing,
“If it was good enough for them, and it was good enough for me.”