I talked about faith today with my middle guy. It was after we fought, as we sat in a church pew. He didn’t want to be there; neither did I. I struggled to find words to explain why it was important for us to be there, and even though the words came out of my mouth–the words I know I’m supposed to say as his mother–my mind filled with questions and I second-guessed myself, wondering if pushing him through actually serves him at all.
Trying to explain the concept of faith to a teenage boy who believes in science and what’s tangible isn’t easy. But it’s not easy that I’m after; it’s connection, a clue that he’s truly heard what I’m trying to say, even when I don’t have all the answers. He grew annoyed with me as we talked:
Me: If there’s no God, then how did we come to exist?
Him: There was a big explosion and it created everything.
Me: OK, so we’re all just a bunch of particles, right? It’s the way our particles are assembled that makes us human?
Him: I guess.
Me: So how come some people choose to do good things, and others choose to hurt people?
Him: I don’t know. I don’t really care.
Me: You don’t care? What about when it happens to you, do you care then?
Him: I don’t think so.
Me: Remember when (redacted) hit you at school? Do you think that was ok?
Him: No, it wasn’t right.
Me: Why wasn’t it right?
Him: Because it hurt me.
Me: Why does it matter if he hurts you?
Him: Because hurting people isn’t right.
Me: So aggression and anger toward someone isn’t ok?
Him: Not if they take it out by hitting or hurting.
Me: Why not? Is a little hitting ok? When is it too much hitting?
Him: Well, too much hitting can kill someone.
Me: So? Why does that matter if we kill a mass of particles?
Him: Huh. I don’t know.
Me: So what you’re saying is that you think that life is important?
Me: Even though you believe in evolution rather than in God?
Him: Yeah, I guess.
Me: So that’s kinda like faith. We don’t know the answers, but we choose to believe anyway, even when things don’t make sense.
Not exactly the most profound conversation, but it’s a baby step that I’ll cling to.
I’m participating in NaBloPoMo, and posting everyday in November.