I had a marijuana-induced realization the other day. What’s more interesting than my realization is that I was even smoking to begin with, since that’s only ever happened a wee handful of times. Ever since I got into graduate school I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself and as a result, been letting a little loose (LOL that taking three puffs of marijuana is letting loose for me).
Anyway, as for my realization: First, I realized that no one I was smoking with has a faith in God that impacts their life in a significant way. Second, I realized that I currently also do not have a faith in God that impacts my life in a significant way.
It’s hard to say I’ve ever had a particularly strong faith, mostly because I was raised in an environment which did not foster a strong belief in God. I did, however, go to a catholic high school which made my connection to God much stronger than ever before. I absolutely adored the way my teachers spoke about God and what their rationale was for God’s existence. It was purely logical, based on reason and not emotion.
However, even when my faith was at my strongest and I was going to weekly mass, it was still a struggle. I (still to this day) feel the urge to insult God while praying. Here is an example prayer:
“Hello God, it’s Velvet. I was just thinking that my sister could really use some support right now, so I should pray for it. I don’t know that you’ll do anything. Or that you’re listening. You might not be. Probably aren’t. But I’d rather be safe than sorry. Shit. Sorry. I shouldn’t say this right now. Anyways please help my sister. Thanks.”
So clearly, I’m not great at faith. When I lay out all the philosophies surrounding the debate between atheism versus deism, I consistently arrive at deism. Logically, I know I believe in a god. I do. What’s hard is actually having faith in that God.
I’ve noticed my cycle of faith looks something like this: trying-failing-trying-giving up for 6 months-trying again-failing. I’ve been attempting for quite some time to figure out the personal trends that impact when I try and when I give up on having a relationship with God.
Which takes us back to my weed-night. I realized I don’t try when my life is going well. When I am happy, when I am getting good grades and my family is happy, I simply don’t feel like putting in the effort. Because, as it turns out, maintaining a relationship with God is a lot of work.
Conversely, I also struggle with my faith when I commit lots of sinful acts, likely from the cognitive dissonance it creates within me. Basically, the only time I pursue a meaningful relationship with God is when I am at a dull normal.
Religion is much too much work to ever be a crutch for me. Religion makes me uncomfortable. It’s difficult and complicated and, at times, kind of stressful. I hope that identifying that I have a self-centered cycle for maintaining a relationship with God will help me to keep trying to pray and read the Bible and attend mass. Because truly, how can someone *kind of* believe that there’s an all-knowing, all-powerful creature whose hand was in all acts of creation. If I’m going to have faith, I want to do it right.