I Am Unable to Believe God

I Am Unable to Believe God

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From the New York Times Magazine article, Coveting Luke’s FaithThis commentary provides excellent insight from a practicing atheist rearing a son, Luke, who is not embracing her atheistic faith. She is “open but cautious” as she strains to understand what is happening with her son.

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Her perspective reminded me of what others can see in Christians. She was open and honest about her thoughts, which is instructive to “get inside the mind” of a vulnerable atheist since we typically only see a “facade of defiance and hostility” toward the message of Christ.

I am unable to believe in God. Most of the other atheists I know seem to feel freed or proud of their unbelief, as if they’ve cleverly refused to be sold snake oil. But over the years, I’ve come to feel I’m missing out. My friends and relatives who rely on God — the real believers, not just the churchgoers — have an expansiveness of spirit.

When they walk along a stream, they don’t just see water falling over rocks; the sight fills them with ecstasy. They see a realm of hope beyond this world. I just see a babbling brook. I don’t get the message.

My husband, who was reared in a devout Catholic family and served as an altar boy, is also firmly grounded on this earth. He doesn’t even have the desire to believe. So other than baptizing our son to reassure our families, we’ve skated over the issue of faith.

I assumed we had stranded our 4-year-old son Luke in the same spiritually arid place we’d found ourselves in.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Luke steeple his fingers and bow his head for a split second. Surprised, I said, ”Sweetheart, what are you doing?” He wouldn’t tell me, but a few minutes later, he did it again. I said, ”You don’t have to tell me, but if you want to, I’m listening.” Finally he confessed, ”I was saying a little prayer for Daddy.”

”That’s wonderful, Luke,” I murmured, abashed that we, or our modern world, somehow made him embarrassed to pray for his father in his own home.

It was as if that mustard seed of faith had found its way into our son and now he was revealing that he could move mountains. Not in a church or as we gazed at the stars, but while we channel-surfed. I was envious of him. Luke wasn’t rattled, because he believed that God would bring his father home safely. I was the only one stranded.

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