I’m not a religious person. I was raised Catholic, attending a Catholic school where I was taught about God, the Bible, the 10 commandments, and prayer. After graduating though, I still didn’t feel any closer to God or any more convinced that religion was something I wanted as a part of my life. Having said this, I respect everyone’s beliefs. I don’t think I have the right to tell someone what to believe in, just as I don’t believe anyone has the right to try and force their beliefs on me, religious or otherwise.
I’ve been reading St. Urbain’s Horseman and there’s a very real question present – Where was God? For the characters it becomes an accusation.
“You know, rabbi, he said, you’re right. The Lord is our God, and the Lord is One. But do you know why, rabbi? It is because our Lord has such a tapeworm inside him, such a prodigious appetite, that he can chew up six million Jews in one meal. And if the Lord, our God, were Two. What then? Twelve million. Who had them to spare at the time? So, the Lord our God is One, because Two we couldn’t afford.”
I remember thinking about this when I was in high school, where is God while people are starving, kids are dying from abuse, teenagers are getting murdered because of their skin color? Who was this God who didn’t care, but was meant to be so kind and forgiving? This is part of the reason why religion and a belief in God never flourished within me: if there is indeed an almighty creator, he’s kind of shitty.
What I do believe is in god as an idea we’ve created and manipulated into fitting what we believe. I don’t think it works the other way around. And so, we’ve created a god who is supposed to be kind and generous and loving, but we’ve warped him with every single human fault. We’ve made him angry and vengeful and used him as an excuse for committing atrocities throughout history. The Holocaust didn’t happen because god allowed it to or because he was punishing his people. People made the Holocaust happen and it was people who allowed it to continue. It is not a question of god, but rather a question of the power one man can have over others.
“If God weren’t dead, it would be necessary to hang him.”
Maybe God exists, but I don’t think he does. I think God has been, and continues to be, a security blanket, a convenient way to explain everything that happens. The universe exists because God created it. People die early as part of God’s plan. Abuse happens as a way to test your resilience and some day God will punish the people responsible. I don’t believe any of that. I believe that people can hide behind a mask of piousness and a calling to God. If there were no belief in God to lean on, who would we have to blame for our destruction but ourselves? As I read this novel, I feel the characters’ needs for answers from a God who won’t give them any because it is not God who has a prodigious appetite for suffering, it’s people who crave the feeling of crushing someone else’s spirit.
I’m sorry if this offends any of you, but this is where the book has taken me today. There are things religion teaches us like humility, kindness, and selflessness, which I believe in as general ideas. However, I don’t believe in giving god credit for things that wouldn’t have happened without hard work and sacrifice, or in blaming him for all the evils in the world.
Food for thought, readers. Until next time.