The staples are gone, and it didn't hurt.
Amanda and I went for a quick breakfast after my appointment. Niko's restaurant, across the street, was the obvious choice.
We had been eating for a few moments when two guys came in, and were seated behind us. We soon learned that both men were Catholic clergy. I can't say what their exact positions were, but both spoke of recently holding Mass...so they're obviously active.
The restaurant was very quiet, so we couldn't help overhearing their conversation. It wasn't long before we heard a remark that stopped us in our tracks.
One man brought up a member of his congregation, and how the gentleman in question had recently been diagnosed with a serious illness.
He said, "I'm not saying God is punishing him with this illness, but he has been a lot kinder to his wife since the diagnosis."
Where do you start with that?
Did God give me ALS because I haven't been good to my wife? Am I sick because I'm a bad guy? What kind of spite or malice must God have to inflict terrible illness on people? If God is forgiving and omnipotent, what must I do to be forgiven and cured? If I am good and God does not cure me, is God unforgiving, or simply without power?
Regardless, at a time when Amanda and I are in deep discussion about how/when/if to introduce religion to the girls, this comment has cast new light.
Is religion really about morality and ethics? If so, why can't we guide our children as parents? Our values hardly exist in contrast to common religious values. Love, kindness, forgiveness, charity - to name a few - hardly require a deity and scripture to be instilled.
I think the point I take real issue with is the frequency with which religion is self-serving to the faithful, and seemingly ignored when a teaching doesn't line up with a need or belief.
Do you need to believe to have faith? I have faith, but not belief. You may well question what I have faith in. I have faith in myself.
I hope my girls at least grow up with the same faith.