"Mom, I don't believe there is only one God"
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I vowed since the time our sons graced the planet that I would never prohibit or control any "age appropriate" reading materials. Over the last three weeks, AJ has devoured four of the five New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson novels. With an intensity rarely seen in nature, he consumed 1200+ pages of adventures between gods and half-bloods. I watched him read all day barely coming up to eat, and well into the night armed with his flashlight under the covers until he finished. I believe I even observed a thin layer of dust settling on the DSi. Astonishing.
Then, bouncing into the car after karate last Thursday he throws out, "Mommy, I don't believe there is only one God." How is that for a conversation starter by your 10 year old? I don't know for certain, but I bet there are at least a few of you who would have joined me for a glass of Cabernet before fielding that one. This is not the first time AJ has positioned himself in a way that made me spiritually squirm. Matter of fact, one Saturday morning about 3 years ago he rolled over and told me, "God is just a myth." "How in the world do you expect me to believe in something I cannot see?" That is when I began to study quantum physics and ponder how I was going to be ready with sound spiritual answers for our scientific sons.
There was a time when I asked questions I felt were inadequately answered. The "because the Bible tells me so" answer I received as a child did not help keep me from falling away from my faith as a young adult. During college there seemed to be this invisible wedge between my search for truth in science, and my search for truth in God. I had no firm place for my faith to reason from as I sat in awe of human anthropology, evolutionary biology, and comparative anatomy. Since then, my personal path has experienced the enormity of consciousness through my human relationships, the height of spirit through my patient's lives and deaths, and the overwhelming love through my children. I have no doubt the universe and our One God is big enough to hold it all.
AJ, on the other hand, was really angry with me. "Why do you think the universe can't have lots of gods? Why are you so sure there is only one?"
I thought to myself, I am not going to dodge the question. I am not going to stick my head into a pile of dogma. What am I going to say?
I grasped for something scientific. The Big Bang. The singularity. The beginning of time and space. If there is a beginning of everything, I don't believe there was a party of god's hanging out like a planning committee. If there was, it would not have been a "beginning" and we know there was a beginning to the universe.
"Scientists have found the best evidence yet supporting the theory that about 13.7 billion years ago, the universe suddenly expanded from the size of a marble to the size of the cosmos in less than a trillionth of a second." Washington Post, 2006
How, could you not be impressed with that? I could tell AJ was not impressed. He was mad. I left him alone for a while. Then I asked, "Are you angry with me because I don't agree with you?" He nodded his head, "Yes."
I reassured AJ that I was not angry with him because he didn't agree with me. "I have had a lot of time to think about this, and you will have a lot of time too." That was it for Thursday night. That was enough. I had a glass of wine.
As I packed AJ's lunch Friday morning, I slipped in a note, "Your Creator designed your mind for discovery. Don't ever stop thinking and searching. Love, Mom."
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
Last spring my husband Dave and I attended a debate down on the University of Texas campus. Inside of Gregory Gym on a typical Tuesday evening sat no less than 3000 students and parents, faculty and guest speakers, skeptics and seekers. The topic of debate was evolution verses intelligent design. I think we would all agree "design" is not the issue. There is obviously design. The debate is the nature, the force, the movement behind the design. I love this stuff. I will never be done wanting to learn and discover and ponder this stuff.
Dave leaned over and asked, "How many do you think are skeptics and how many are seekers?"
I thought about this for a moment and came to a peaceful conclusion, "If you bothered walking in the door, you are a seeker of something."
I feel this is my primary job as a parent... To keep them seeking.
Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.
- Albert Einstein
Curious to know how you would have approached this one.