The Call Collective

Exploring God's presence and call within the culture.

Tag: Atheism

Why I’ve Always Believed in God

I was hanging out at a bar once in college and some guy I didn’t know made a comment about how foolish the idea of God was. He was some smug engineering student, and I remember feeling angry, resentful, and — to be honest—a bit fearful. I mean, who was I — a lowly humanities major — to have a worthwhile opinion on the existence (or lack thereof) of a divine being? Now, let me be clear. At this time in my life, though I believed in God, I wasn’t a faithful Christian. Sure, I would try to get to Mass on Sundays if it wasn’t too much trouble, and I committed myself to prayer — the petition sort mostly — when finals neared or I wanted a girl I liked to work out.

But still, I felt angry and fearful when this guy scoffed at the idea of God, as if he was implying, “Haven’t you heard? Everyone knows God is an illusion of humanity’s collective existential neuroses and fears, dude!” At the time, I wasn’t exactly equipped to engage in a vigorous debate with the fellow. Somehow, contending that God exists because I feel his presence and just know there is something beyond what we see wouldn’t be supremely convincing for a self-proclaimed man of reason. Instead, the conversation veered thanks to the arrival of another round of hearty stouts. And that was that.

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In Response to God’s Silence

Silence. It can be a reservoir of flowing peace and nourishing grace. It can call to mind our cherished identity, compelling us to respond to God and others with that same, first love he has shown us. Or it can be cold and sterile, a state of abandonment, loss, frustration and sorrow. It’s in the silence that we can choose to trust in his loving presence or his aching absence. We all know of people—maybe even ourselves at times—who turn away from God because in a time of great need they were met with the cold, bitter sound of only their own cries and tears. It’s an experience, I imagine, we can all relate to on some level.

Submitting to God, and the mystery of his sometimes peculiar and painful ways is a sobering challenge, one we can’t escape as we journey back toward the Kingdom of God in this life. God gives us enough grace and light to have a reasonable, firm and joyful belief in him, but so much of our lives remain unclear—we’re asked to trust in his plan even when it appears chaotic, unfair, or meaningless. When the eyes of our bodies are darkened, we are called to rely evermore on the eyes of our faith. This trusting in his will gradually and—at least on our worse days, suspiciously—throughout our lives is hard. And we experience moments in our lives when we cast a full-throated cry to God in words that echo those same ones from Job himself:

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Arian Foster, Atheism and the Lack of Desire for God

ESPN The Magazine recently published an article, The Confession of Arian Foster, that explores the NFL pro bowlers admission to being an atheist, although a term, according to Foster, he shies away from due to his staunch dislike of labels. Regardless of how he chooses to identify himself formally, he remains someone without a belief in God.

It’s a very thought-provoking and interesting article about a man who is rightfully adamant about his identity as someone who is much more than “just a football player.” Foster comes off as empathetic, thoughtful, well-intentioned, and charming. He seems like a nice enough guy, and despite his own personal creed, he harbors a deep respect for those with faith. The article also touches on the difficulty of being a non-Christian in the NFL, a league that has religion woven deeply within the fabric of its core.

It is hardly surprising that the article opens up with the routine pitting of God against the problem of evil. It sounds—at least to some significant degree—that Foster’s own beliefs have been formed by his struggle to accept a god that fits into a world rife with evil and suffering. He takes this further in mildly humorous fashion, wondering why a god of this sort (one without the agency or willingness to rid the world of evil) would empower one football team to win and the other to lose, as if god’s decision to influence the game is based on the team that grovels with the most convincing vehemence: Continue reading

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