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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

In God We Trust?

How can I think of new and positive ideas to talk about when my thoughts are constantly being interrupted by the many uplifting reminders that our country is currently in a recession? I want to be intrigued with new topics and conversation starters but I can’t turn my head without hearing someone prelude their statements with, “In these tough times…” Today I sit in the waiting room of the endless, unopened doors of opportunity; I am on the top of the mountain peak of life where they sky is the limit, and in a few weeks I should be more than eager to dive, arms open, into the ocean that is the real world. But… I am looking down, into this imminent ocean now, and its heavily polluted, many are drowning fast and even though I am teetering on the edge of reality ready to take the plunge, someone is going to have to push me. While I should be more than ecstatic to graduate from a university and be the first in my family, I am terrified of what is to come because of our society’s current state of peril and depression.

  The only place I thought I could possibly escape these constant reminders turned out to be where I felt the effects of our current crisis the most. The recession hit home when I was sitting in Easter Sunday Mass at my local parish in Orange County. The priest gave his homily, of course, on the current economic status. He assured the congregation that in such unstable times, we need only to put our trust in God. He said we should be living like its Easter Sunday everyday but in a “Good Friday world.” So basically, he is saying to celebrate and be joyous every day while we live a life of fasting and minimalism. This is a hopeful state for our acquisitive society, especially this specific crowd in Newport Beach. It was comforting to know that people are turning to their faith in the face of adversity, which provides community and spirituality to help through difficult times. But is faith as fulfilling when it is only used as a crutch?

 On the contrary, May 5, 2009 the front page of Newsweek magazine read “The Decline and Fall of Christian America”. Inside it brought to light how almost two thirds of the public now say religion is losing influence in American society, and the number of Americans who think religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" is now at a historic low of 48 percent, according to a recent poll. I could not help but think, were people giving up hope because their chosen god was not saving them from suffering?

  Recently an interview on CBS News discussed the role of religion in a time of economic crisis by questioning various religious leaders. A Reverend responded, “Faith teaches us that we should not align our selves with materialism and therefore the recession should not affect our faith or our hope in God.” This concept was hard to swallow in a church filled with people who only attend Easter and Christmas Mass. Looking around at all these people squeezing their eyes shut and probably praying for an improvement in the stock market made me start to abandon my faith.  I couldn’t help but speculate the validity of prayer and the reasoning behind it.

 Thankfully our forefathers knew the struggles we would face and imprinted In God We Trust onto our currency as a reminder of who to turn to when all we have left is a dollar. If faith provides strength through God to help us through our challenging times then it must have the ability to bring people together and out of despair. Yet while studies show more and more people’s faith diminished because of the economic status do we continue to instill our only trust in God or should we abandon our faith and take it upon ourselves to find hope for our great depression? 

-Madeline L. Weese


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