My Faith: A Confession


Justin Smith over at his website:

Different people, different closets. I don't quite know how to say it delicately so I'm just going to come right out and say it. I believe in God. Apart from periodic spells of foolish pride, I have believed in God all my life. Even during these spells, I did not so much cease to believe, as turn my back on what I believed.

As far as I'm concerned there cannot really be any concern that God does not exist. Even to see God's existence as a problem is to misapprehend what is at stake, since God just is the love, sweet and radiant, that charges through every drop and leaf and mote of the creation, always ready to be felt by anyone who is ready to believe.

God is not male, and I cannot say 'he', however tempted I am to remain with the conventions of my beautiful language and its beautiful tradition of devotional writing. But this is a relatively trivial corollary of the more important point that God is not a being, and so also neither a monarch nor a father nor a ruler of any sort. God is love, and I can keep my love of God and have my anarchism too.

Indeed, as I see it the two not only can but must go together. To believe in God, and to feel the divine love that charges through all of creation, is precisely not to bow down, but to rejoice. The great travesty of the history of religion, and the victory of its enemies, has been to bend the idea of God to the legitimation of earthly rulers, to convince people that God is like dad, or the king, or the tyrant, but more so, and that, conversely, these mundane potentates are little reflections of God. There is none of this in my love of God, which shines out of my encounter with creatures, God's creatures, that themselves have no power other than the power of their own growth and integrity, their own life, which is itself an expression of the same joy in God as my own.

To experience this joy is to know that the states of my soul and the states of infinite nature always fit, that each is an expression of the other, and so, that my death cannot be the end of anything, since nature, of which my soul was a modulation, a beautiful if dirty outcropping, will keep doing what it always does, and I, now only more obviously a convolution of nature, will flow along in streams and breezes and cosmic rays and will no longer be held up on this concern about the 'I' at all, about its finitude and its mortality.