HEDGING MY BETS

Recently I was listening to a debate on the radio about God and his (or her) existence. The topic originally came up after the aired episode about the Duggars and their trip to the Creation Museum, which showed not a little cuddly lamb curled up in Jesus’ arms, but a juvenile dinosaur. To me, the images are comical bordering on satire.

There were many listeners who called in with their two cents, most being that while they certainly do believe in evolution, they also believe in God. I would have to say that I was part of that majority in that belief.

Then one of the radio hosts replied to one such caller who said she believed the earth to be billions of years old, and that yes, we probably did evolve from some lowly form of single-cell, mud dweller, BUT believed in a higher power with this: (and I paraphrase) “You are just hedging your bets. Logically you know evolution to be true because it’s scientifically proven, but you want to make sure that when you die you can face God – if there is one – and proclaim yourself a ‘believer’.”

I immediately felt defensive on behalf of the caller. Why can’t I have both? Why can’t one believe that God created this world billions of years ago instead of six or seven thousand years and maybe his grand scheme in life was to make some of us THINK that it was done in a week and for others? Well, much longer, and that maybe he just likes a good debate.

And then I realized something. I am hedging my bets. Depending on the situation, I want someONE to blame when something shitty happens. Someone who can’t defend themselves or point a finger back in my face for whatever failures I endure, say like my miscarriages or infertility. It’s easy to denounce a god when your luck has soured.

On the other hand, who do you think I’m thanking every night for healthy and beautiful children even though the same “being” put me through four fucking years of hell here on earth? Especially since ZGirl’s conception was anything but spiritual, performed in a cold and darkened surgery suite by a team of mortals wearing scrubs and masks and no amount of conscious sedation was going to make me believe that it was an act of God. Irony or hypocrisy? More than likely, a little of both.

Yes, I would rather hedge my bets by trusting in science and logic yet hold faith in something “bigger”; and I can’t imagine any parent when faced with the horrific circumstances of losing a child wouldn’t do so as well. Right now all of us are raging against the heavens for the recent deaths of innocents, but we are not those parents. Ask yourself, and be honest in your answer, if it was YOU that had to stare into an empty crib once you put your child in the ground, wouldn’t you want to believe that your baby had been given the wings of an angel, even if it went against everything you ever believed before?

Something inside of me cannot believe that when a child dies, they become nothing more than memories and a tiny, lifeless shell. As a parent, I can’t barely let myself think it. Instead, I can only wish that the littlest become the greatest guardians of our hearts AND souls because to NOT believe at least that much means accepting their death is nothing more than a crumbling of flesh.

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12 thoughts on “HEDGING MY BETS”

  1. Holy shit does this ever hit home right now….

    I don’t even know why I’m bothering to be on the computer right now- I think I’m just looking for some kind of normalcy in a world that just seems cold, and unfriendly and full of nightmares for me just now.

    As far as my beliefs, I’ve always been spiritual, but logical. That’s coming in very handy for me at this moment… I know that my baby is being cared for, even if it isn’t me that’s caring for him.

  2. I believe in God, I believe in science, I believe in evolution. I believe there are many many things we don’t know anything about, and probably will not during my life. I pretty much think the bible is a very nice story (or not so nice depending on the story) interpreting a bunch of different people’s and communities’ understanding of how something happened long before those people existed, but I don’t think it is necessarily all actual fact.

  3. Several months ago I heard a man named Forrest Church on NPR. He’s a Unitarian minister with terminal cancer. One thing that stuck with me when asked if he prayed to God to cure his cancer was that he said he didn’t believe in an interventionist God. He says he’s unsure what happens after you die but one thing he’s sure of is that love endures. Here’s a great sermon he gave on love and death:

    http://www.forrestchurch.com/writings/sermons/Love-and-Death.pdf

  4. Well, the theology in Christianity is pretty clear that this is a place of suffering and pain due to a fall – whether that fall was gnostic, eastern orthodox, or western orthodoxy. It is of interest that the oldest book in the Bible is the Book of Job . Many scholars believe it to predate Judaism by a lot.

    Past theology, there is the idea within science that energy is never destroyed. It is converted to something else. Now, how that works is something we still don’t fully understand.

    I have never seen any of it as an either / or kind of thing. There is a thought in Christian theology that while God does not change, man must evolve to understand things properly. God gives simple stories to shepherds and nomads because physics would have been way beyond them. For that matter, physics is way beyond most of us today!

  5. I am more spiritual than religious. I cannot accept that the end of the physical body is the end of the soul. I just feel the truth. I don’t think about a god giving and taking favours. That does not ring true for me. For me, life is about love, kindness, living in the present moment and acceptance.

  6. Our souls are eternal, including the souls of the babies never born. Souls are energy, a part of God. Energy cannot be destroyed. I can’t comment to previous posters who have lost their children. I can’t imagine the pain of loss for a child, but I’m terribly sorry.

    Science and belief in God are not mutually exclusive. I had a very religious friend whose idea about the “world was created in 7 days” thing hinged on the word “days.” Why couldn’t a day be a period of millions of years? Clearly the Earth is over 4 billion years old. The Creation Museum, depicting man and dinosaurs together… *sigh*. That didn’t happen, no matter how much some would like to believe it so.

    I don’t have all the answers, but I do know it’s a lot easier to have faith when things go the way you’d like them. A book that made an awful lot of sense to me is “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Brian Weiss, M.D. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it too.

  7. I’ve buried two babies after stillbirth and I can honestly say I don’t believe in God or heaven…for a lot of reasons. My main problem with God…I can’t believe s/he couldn’t or wouldn’t save my boys. Either God isn’t all powerful or God is immeasurably cruel…neither type appeals to me or inspires my faith.

    As for heaven…I do sometimes wish something of my sons continues on somewhere. But I can’t bring myself to believe in a magical city in the clouds where everyone wears wings. And because I’ve never felt their presence since they left me, I can’t subscribe to a belief in spirits or any other mysticism as far as they are concerned. They’re just gone. Does it make me sad? Yes. But that’s life.

  8. I blame science for my loss. Things needed to happen in order for that babe to “become”. Somewhere along the line, the almighty DNA missed a step and our baby was lost.

    However, while still under the anesthesia following the D&E, I SWEAR I saw my Dad. He told me that he had the baby & everything was going to be ok. When I cried out to him & told him that we were going to name the baby after him, he gently whispered to me, “next time Kitten, next time.”

    My faith in God never wavered. Who do you think *gave* scientists the smarts to figure out the miracle of IVF?? See, we can have it both ways.

  9. I always marvel at the people that staunchly believe in heaven, God, the afterlife etc, without any hesitation at all.

    I know it is called “faith” for a reason but I can’t help but think science too. THere are some things in life I am black and white about, but for some reason I have so many questions about this subject. At times I have needed direction and clarity and I have gone to different religious ‘leaders’ (mainstream, nothing psychedelic mushroom here;) and even they have not been able to give me direct answers.

    I was answered with many “I don’t know, but you MUST believe” or “God has his reasons and we may never know” etc.

    I like concrete. I want a yes or no with a reason why, yet, like you I look at my miracle children and think there has to be more than science involved but I can’t see it.

    Damn, its going to be a long day of thinking now.

  10. Hmmm, I buried a full term still born daughter and I believed in god at that time, I don’t/can’t see her as an angel and at the risk of sounding sappy I see her as a beautiful memory of what should have been.

    That was then this is now and I’m a huge hypocrite, I don’t pray for myself or believe in heaven or happily ever after, but I sure as hell (pun intended) do pray for others, because ya know maybe possibly there’s a slim chance I’m too bitter to believe for me. so yup I hedge my bets too.

    Just in case there really is a big guy and he’s listening, I was just joking about my butt looking too big with wings and white not really being my colour.

  11. No, I would not want to believe that my child was an angel in heaven if she died. I would prefer to understand everything about the pathology of her death that I could. THAT would bring me so much more comfort than trying to force myself to believe in some mysterious, never-ending afterlife.

    I also take comfort in knowing that good or bad, I am at least partly responsible for everything that happens to me. Sometimes shit happens that no one can control, but I can always control my response to it and the actions I take to get me out of it. THAT is much more comforting than praying to some unknown entity for some unknown form of help when I don’t need it. I only need to look inside myself for strength and to the people I love for assistance.

    Consider this instead of perpetuating your hypocrisy (kidding!), most religions in this world do not have a concept of hell, so you can be an atheist and, even if you are wrong, the odds are you aren’t going to end up in hell.

    1. Frankly, I wouldn’t care what would happen to me nor my spouse nor my parents. We bandy about the phrase “worm food” frequently. But there’s something different that I perceive when it comes to a child’s death. Of course I’d want to know why from the physician since I know I would never get an answer from any god.

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