Our daughter Lucy, 7, and I were enjoying some afternoon ice cream, which for her was the perfect time to express her heartfelt blasphemies.
“It’s a good thing God is dead or He’d probably be doing a lot of bragging,” she said.
I asked what she meant.
“Well, He’d be like, ‘I created this. I created that.’ He’d really be pretty full of Himself.”
I think she was comparing God to Timmy, a second grade classmate of hers who is being raised by well-intentioned parents who are doing their utmost to ensure their runny-nosed son will never be troubled by any low self-esteem issues.
I told her we believe God is not dead and it’s unlikely He’s doing much bragging these days. Sure, the Pittsburgh Penguins are finally doing better on the power plays, but other than that His creation seems to be a bit flawed.
I asked her where she heard God is dead. She said she didn’t remember.
I fear it may have been Elton John.
In his catchy ’71 tune, “Levon,” a song I’ve played for her and her sister many times, he sings:
He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas Day
When the New York Times said God is dead and the war’s begun
Who knew my attempts to steer my daughters into a tasteful appreciation of pop music would one day lead one of them straight into the arms of Satan?
I guess the Baptists were right.
I love discussing theology with 7 year olds because everything’s on the table. It’s always fun to ask someone that age what God looks like and if He does things like skateboard.
You can’t talk about these things with some adults.
A Facebook friend recently took me to task for some unspecified post: “A lot of people take God much more seriously than you do. You might want to think before alienating any more of them.”
I messaged him back to try and discern what I’d written that may have offended my Christian friends. Was it when I wondered what God says when Jesus sneezes? When I asked, “If marriage is so great then how come God’s still single?”
He never wrote back so I may never know.
Honest, I’d never do anything to intentionally upset my friends of faith, true faith being something I admire. It’s beautiful and soothing to be in the presence of anyone who is utterly convinced of the existence of something that can’t be seen.
My daughter’s like that with Santa Claus — and those of rigid faith might not want to ever ask her who’s higher on the depth chart, God or St. Nick.
I have faith, but lack the cement certainty of so many God-fearing Christians.
It’s maybe the one thing I have in common with Thomas Jefferson, who said, “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there is one, He must more approve of the homage to reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
It zeroes right in on the God in whom I believe. He could have made us uniformly stupid so we’d never think to ask such impudent Almighty questions.
He instead imbued us with our restless curiosities, our outreach and intellect.
The God in whom I believe would never begrudge us our questions, our uncertainties, no more than I’d scold my darling daughter for hers.
So I will be mindful about posting anything that might offend the dainty sensitivities of those of faith who lay their heads down at night assured they have it all figured out.
I do not.
Thus, I will continue to ask questions and seek answers and forever rage at the rampant injustices in a world that all too often seems truly God-damned.
And I will raise my daughters to do the same.
See, I don’t believe God is dead.
I just think too often He acts like He just doesn’t care.
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