Searching for God
On another lark I figured I’d do an image search of God, just to see what the Internet came up with. I wonder how many people secretly have this image, an old white man, not reaching out to us from a cloud, but with his finger on a button.
What interests me most is how our images of God affect the way we live every day. Scrolling down the list of blogs that mention God I started finding people grappling with the issues of lived faith. One blogger questions if God wants her in church because she has tattoos, even though she knows it is the people in the church making her feel that way, not necessarily God. A religion writer wants to know if God wants us to genetically improve our children, and another post talks about giving from our hearts, referencing Joan of Arcadia, a television show my family loved before it was cancelled. These topics are much more interesting to me than the sites trying to prove or disprove God’s existence. I want to know how my image of God affects what I wear to worship on Sunday morning or what I get my children for Christmas.
As I was perusing the Internet looking for God, a friend came in to the coffee shop where I’m hanging today and starting talking about all the anxieties parents carry, from germ-phobias to the fear of crime. Her ten-year-old is upset by the murder of Washington Red Skins player Sean Taylor. When their family prayed for his family at bed time last night her son asked, “What if there is no God?” My friend sighed, admitting that it was a call to deepen her own faith.
We can’t inoculate kids from doubts any more than we can protect them from every germ. In fact, in my own life, facing my doubts has strengthened my belief in a Higher Power, just as being exposed to germs strengthens our immune system. Turning from the Internet to my friend reminded me that, after several years away from organized religion in my twenties, it was the example of people I respected who drew me back into an active search for God. Today I find spiritual nurture, not in well crafted arguments about God’s existence or judgment, but in the everyday struggles of other people, whether in coffee shops, meetings for worship, or online.
(Note: Out of respect for artists and intellectual copyright, I wanted to link to the original source of the above cartoon, rather than just copy it. However, it has been copied so many places on the Internet already--by both religious and atheistic sites--that I could not locate the orignal source to ask permission or give credit. Thanks cartoonist!)