Lent is about sacrificing vices. It’s about giving up that which you rely on most to see if you can hack it without your addiction.
So, i thought to myself, what am I most addicted to in life? What do I rely on the most?
It wasn’t that hard to figure out. I grew up in Texas, in a highly religious family. We went to mass every Sunday, sometimes multiple times a week. God was my rock. Any time I had a problem, I just gave it up to God, and He solved it for me. Anytime I saw something bad, or negative, or anti-Christian, I gave it up to God. God will Take Care of Us All And Solve All Our Problems. He solved all my problems. I prayed to Him to keep my family safe. He did. I prayed to him to let me into graduate school. He did. I prayed to Him to not let me be pregnant. He did!
Wow!God gives me everything I want!I thought.I wonder if I can hack it without God? So I decided to give up relying on God for Lent.
Week 1 was hard. I saw two homeless people begging for money. One of them had a dog. I couldn’t ask God to take care of them. But if God wasn’t going to take care of them, who would? So instead, I bought them hot dogs. The dog too. That’s not cannibalism, is it?
My parents were flying somewhere for a vacation. Oh no! i can’t pray to God to keep their plane safe! I paced in circles, terrified that the plane would crash without God’s assistance and constant oversight. I constantly refreshed cnn.com’s homepage, certain that they’d die. But no. They landed safely. Weird. Someone else must have been praying.
A few other minor things happened. My dogs didn’t run away, nobody died, I didn’t get cancer, I didn’t fall down the stairs and break my neck, my car continued to run, I didn’t lose my job, and they even renewed Breaking Bad for another season!!!!!!!!!!!
Things were going okay without God’s intervention. I had a sacrilegious thought of ‘what was the point of even praying to Him, if He was going to do all of these things anyway.’ But i realized it couldn’t be sacrilegious because I’d given up God for Lent. How great! I wonder what other things I can do?
That weekend, I got really drunk and danced in a cage suspended from the ceiling at Shooters II, a
classy disgusting bar for college students in Durham. Because you know what, God wasn’t going to punish me! Because i’d given him up! Ha God! Take That!
The next morning, as I knelt in front of the Porcelain Gods, I was sure that other God was punishing me. I thought about praying to God to not let me die, please not let me die, and I’d be a good Christian every day, but i didn’t pray. I resisted the urge. Because I am nothing if not strong willed. And guess what. In spite of my non-prayers, I didn’t die. The tequila stains even came out of my skirt after only one wash cycle.
I started to actually listen during Biology 101 instead of trying to figure out whether the world was 6,543 years old, or 6,547 years old. (There is a line in Genesis that is unclear). This week was on Evolution.HA! SACRILEGIOUS FRIPPERY! CARBON DATING IS BULLSHIZ!But wait. I’ve given up God for Lent. I opened up my mind to Science.
My brain did a flip flop when I allowed the evidence to seep in. Evolution was real. Wow. There were no non-religious, science based arguments against it. Wow. I was speechless. My mouth hung open a little bit. The fossil record….current evidence of geographical separation causing speciation….carbon dating……it was all real……….
I couldn’t stop thinking of those homeless people. God wasn’t going to take care of them. I had to do something. So I built a homeless shelter and a soup kitchen and got some of my rich friends’ parents to endow the shelter so it could run for 10 years. SNAP. Several of the residents had severe, untreated medical conditions. God wasn’t going to take care of them, so I got them medical insurance.SNAP. Who needs you, God, anyway?
The doctors found a tumor on my shoulder. I thought about breaking my lenten promise and praying to God, since science and medicine is all bullshiz anyway, and then decided not to, and I allowed the medical team to remove my tumor. I was pronounced cancer-free, without God.
Hmmm. My life seemed to be pretty much the same without God. Better, actually. What was God’s deal, anyway? He didn’t really seem to care if I prayed or not. Then I had a perspective shift.
Maybe it wasn’t that he was doing all those things anyway. Maybe it was just that he wasn’t ever doing anything, at all. Maybe God was just a big lazy fathead playing in the clouds and inhaling plane exhaust. Maybe he was just this selfish dude who demanded everyone worship him or he’d send them to Hell, and did nothing in return. Maybe he used to be able to handle everyones prayers, when there were only like 10 of us, but now it was just too much to handle. 7 billion is a lot, yo, even for an omnisciently omnipowerful God, and our prayers must contradict each other a lot. Maybe he was addicted to Jersey Shore and Downton Abbey and the X Factor and he’d just gone AWOL for the rest of us.
Or Maybe God doesn’t exist.