The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

  God is everywhere, they say.
He is your life, your breath, your bread, your death.
But I’ve been taught the contrary.  
My house: an atheist’s dwelling. My parents: baptized unbelievers.
I: an un-baptized believer, of sorts.
America: a most religious nation.
My grandparents: god-fearing folk.
My experience with religion:  You shall burn in a lake of fire.
My experience with God: pleasant, mutual, understanding.
I don’t know where to go. My lessons are disconcerting. My faith is a mystery.
I have gone to mass, witnessed precious ceremony, understood God’s house as a shelter intrinsically good.  See, mom? Not a hint of that fierceness you mentioned. See, dad? Welcomed with warmth.
See grandma and grandpa? I am being good. Am I one of you, now? Am I saved?
Sometimes I want to save YOU. Do you expect me to embrace the fire with which you always threaten me? To pray to a ruthless authority? Do you want me to carry myself through the days, parading my exclusivity and shunning others?
Mom, did you hope to cultivate a cynical woman? Smiling as I spit on the sacred, becoming a hollow house devoid of spirit, devoid of faith?
Grandpa, had I followed your example, would I be the perfect Christian? Laughing when you say “Jew” and crying for the death of a saint? Preaching acceptance of all yet saying, "Come 'ere, boy", allowing sourness to drip from my lips in words like "faggot"?
Dad, do you laugh at me? Are you ashamed to think that I sink my knees to the floor, eyes searching the sky for divinity? In "My god, why have you forsaken me" moments?
I am torn between two worlds, and neither an ideal version of what they are meant to be. In the hearts of my grandparents, organized religion has hardly instilled the acceptance it should. Their ignorant attitude and lack of tolerance, then, has for my parents generated a disdain for higher power, a disdain imposed on me.
But I am different.
I find no perfection in the religious people I've known, and none in non-believers. Yet I do not take these to be the sole representative of either world. I am a product of both, and perhaps the founder of a hybrid belief, as many are.
America breeds this kind of shake-up, this invisible dividing line. And there is no pure truth because there's no precise fact; or maybe there ARE existing facts that are in need of dispute, truths hidden in their cracks. Either way, we fight against the trap of choosing sides. If your faith is certain, fantastic. But I am uncertain and will possibly remain so for the rest of my life, so don't pull me either way. Solid spirituality and even solid lacking of it are beautiful concepts alone, for they take us beyond our given surroundings. I haven't more to say other than this is an issue through which many struggle, and one having the power of great importance. And don't shun unbaptized babies!
-Ali May


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