If there is no God, God is in it

God is dead.
God remains dead.
And we have killed him.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I spend at least two out of every seven days believing that there is no God. That we are a profoundly amazing collection of molecules, and cells, and fibers, and electric impulses and that at the end of it all, we turn back into dust. It is absolutely terrifying and still there is something instructive in the finality of that option: this is all there is, what shall we do?

This morning, I saw Nietsche’s quotation in Adele Sakler‘s email signature and responded “Your signature totally resonates with me right now.” Moments ago, I read through a ‘zine Vincent Cervantes posted on Facebook and commented, “Raw and touching and true and beautiful. God is in it.” Both of those statements are true.

I recently spent three weeks documenting young-adult led activism at Hope College. Their final action for the school year was a petition (along with faculty, alumni, and community members) to the Board of Directors requesting the removal of a 1996 anti-homosexuality policy. The board concluded their meeting issuing a statement denying all aspects of the petition.

The ministers of Marble Collegiate Church, the oldest Protestant church in North America and the founding congregation of the RCA–Hope College’s denomination–each responded to me personally reminding me that justice will one day be served. My pastor, Rev. David Lewicki closed his email with “God is in it.” Yes, I said. Of course God is in it. If you’ve read my reflections from Hope, you can see that I inspired over and over again by the community at Hope and young adults around the country. God is in it all.

Even when I do not believe in God, I believe that God is in it.

It is in moments where the human spirit is pushed to the breaking point and yet thrives that I understand there is something moving here that cannot be stopped. In activism I found that faith is bigger than 15 minutes of “quiet time” in the morning and that spirituality is both alive and ancient. “Baruch hashem adonai” and “(Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody) Turn Me Around.”

I am never more convinced of the goodness of queer people and the rightness of our causes than when I speak to anti-gay college administrators or church pastors. Their words ring empty and dead. If we killed a god, that is the god who was slain. And in the silence of their empty echo, melodies of truth and goodness fill the air written by Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, worshippers of the divine feminine, atheists, and humanists–and those who are just human. This is the God who is still alive.

The words and presence of Vincent Cervantes, Allyson Robinson, Leo Andreas, Micah Matthias, Taueret Manu, Delfin Bautista, Wick Thomas, Abby Reikow, and so many others inform my life in deep and profound ways and teach me all over again that there is something moving among us.

In the times when oppression reigns and heartbreak ravages, in the face of misinformation and outright opposition, in the face of discouraged disbelief and justice-fueled atheism, in acceptance and rejection,

In all things, God is in it.

Photo by lautsu

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14 Comments

  1. Shawn May 25, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Did you see the Dalai Lama’s Op Ed in the New York Times this week? I think you would enjoy it.

  2. Shawn May 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Did you see the Dalai Lama’s Op Ed in the New York Times this week? I think you would enjoy it.

  3. Brian Gerald May 25, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I had not. Reading it now, thanks!

  4. Brian Gerald May 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I had not. Reading it now, thanks!

  5. Liz June 1, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I love this post and admit that I don’t typically have whole days of believing in God – but I do have moments and somehow that seems to keep my faith alive. I’m going to share this on twitter with what I think is the money quote “there is something moving among us”

  6. Liz June 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I love this post and admit that I don’t typically have whole days of believing in God – but I do have moments and somehow that seems to keep my faith alive. I’m going to share this on twitter with what I think is the money quote “there is something moving among us”

  7. Matt June 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I love this post, Brian, and feel this way often. You might enjoy reading Jason Boyett’s “Oh me of little faith” which explores a similar theme. I gave my copy to someone, so you’ll have to get it elsewhere, but you’d like it. Well, you’ll hate some of it too, but that’s ok.

  8. Matt June 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I love this post, Brian, and feel this way often. You might enjoy reading Jason Boyett’s “Oh me of little faith” which explores a similar theme. I gave my copy to someone, so you’ll have to get it elsewhere, but you’d like it. Well, you’ll hate some of it too, but that’s ok.

  9. Brian Gerald June 2, 2010 at 4:13 am

    Liz & Matt, thanks for your comments. It’s comforting (and exciting) to find others who are down in the depths of unbelief in the conventions of religion which we’ve been taught and yet still find faith in something bigger, bolder, and even more beautiful.

  10. Brian Gerald June 2, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Liz & Matt, thanks for your comments. It’s comforting (and exciting) to find others who are down in the depths of unbelief in the conventions of religion which we’ve been taught and yet still find faith in something bigger, bolder, and even more beautiful.

  11. Brian Gerald July 31, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, I will give that sermon a listen.

  12. Travis Mamone April 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I like to consider myself a doubting disciple. My faith can be summed as as this: “I believe. Help my unbelief.”

  13. Brian Gerald April 24, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I dig it. I think I might be a believing critic. “This is all there
    is, and somehow there must be so much more.”

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