I have tried many times to cast off the yoke of belief. I have challenged myself to prove to myself that God exists. I have come very close to convincing myself, more than once, that, in the end, science and God are incompatible and I should simply abandon the whole idea of faith. I would be happier, I told myself. But something or someone (God) kept denying me any satisfaction from that model. Like a boomerang, the yoke kept coming back to me. And so eventually I pushed all my chips to the center of the table and never looked back. I was all in. God exists.
I cannot produce the empirical evidence to persuade a skeptic of God’s existence. I cannot create a PowerPoint presentation with sufficient bullet points to convince a convocation of atheist neuroscientists that my imaginary sky daddy is real. I just know it to be so. Whatever he is, wherever he is, whether he conforms to the particulars of one faith tradition or another, I know God is there. While it may sound like clichéd churchspeak, I see him in the faces of my children. I feel his presence in rough times when I pray for peace and strength. I feel the power of his forgiveness when I have been unable to forgive myself. I don’t necessarily believe that I believe in God because I was indoctrinated at a young age, or because my parents believed in God (although it certainly helped). I believe in God because I have experienced God, and because the alternative to belief is too damn depressing. Christianity teaches that salvation is a gift for which we as sinners are forever unworthy. If my own life is the example, then God must surely exist. The blessings I have received in this life, far too many to count, have been unearned. These blessings – including a wonderful wife, three amazing children, a decent career (wherein I have seemingly bumbled and stumbled from one opportunity to the next), and some small amount of natural talent – defy any rational explanation.
God has saved me from myself time after time, bringing me back from the precipice of self destruction. Perhaps it is all just luck, the byproduct of being raised the right way by good parents, of white male privilege, of more hard work than I am willing to acknowledge. But I doubt it. There is no amount of dumb luck in the universe to explain how I ended up in this spot. Surely there must be some purpose to my life of which I am not yet fully aware. I figure if I bumble and stumble around long enough, I might run into it.