I almost became an atheist last night. Almost. I was reading the Mental Floss article on John Green, noted YA author and star of innumerable Mental Floss videos, and it started with a bang. Green said that he doesn't accept that things happen for a reason, and it occurred to me that there's comfort in randomness. He had experience: He'd worked briefly as a student chaplain in a children's hospital and watched children die after being in pain their whole lives. That's why Chris didn't want to work in pediatrics--you have to be willing to accept that children die all the time. It is, to put it mildly, messy business.
But now I'm awake and thinking, But if suffering has no meaning, doesn't life have no meaning? I have depression and anxiety that are often debilitating--does that have no meaning? Yet there is comfort in randomness ... the comfort of not having to figure out why terrible things happen. Why do terrible things happen? I have no fucking clue. I can't even pretend to have an answer anymore, and the answers that usually get trotted out seem trite. God has a wonderful plan for your life. (Tell that to martyrs having molten lead poured into their eyes. You think I made that up? The Ottomans were particularly clever at devising tortures.) We don't want God in our lives. (Tell that to the Christian family desperately praying for healing for their child with cancer.) We kicked God out of our schools/government/whatever. (Yeah, this is really relevant when I want to go to sleep and not wake up.)
Why do bad things happen?
I DON'T FUCKING KNOW!!!
There are times when I don't want to believe in God or at the very least not be Orthodox. That's when the things I'm thoroughly convinced of shine through: the lives of the saints, the goodness of the Theotokos, the words of Jesus. For some reason, I can't let go of those things. I can be unconvinced of God's existence while being fully convinced that the same miracles that occurred in Acts are occurring among the living saints of Mount Athos. Sometimes that's all I have to go with, so I go with it. I learned in my John Milton class that he thought faith untested was heretical. I disagree with Milton's definition of heresy, but there's something to the sentiment. Maybe I'll come out of this okay--or better.
My apologies for the profanity.