Religion is one mystery of the world that people attempt to explain or deny. With religion there is typically the discussion of whether or not there is a God. I personally believe there is a God based on various events that occurred in my life that I will discuss in a bit. In the interest of objectivity there are two things that I have heard regarding religion that do have some bearing on if there is or is not an omniscient, omnipotent, all powerful being. The first was said by the Greek philosopher Socrates. He said that religion was “the opiate of the people”. This basically means that religion makes people feel good and does not have the power that the Gods of the time claimed to have. This was when the Greeks worshiped many Gods including Zeus, Mercury, Hades, Aphrodite and so forth.
My family had a bearing on the fact that I believe in God. While it is not always 100%, it is proven that children often learn many of their values and beliefs from their parents and people around them in the early years. As I said that is not always true. In my case the belief in God is tied to the fact that my parents were both Christian people who believed in God. My parents did not raise me perfect. No one is perfect, but they did raise me to believe in God, my country, and my family and to be a good person according to the commandments of God. Of course I also was made aware that it’s impossible to never sin, but you want to try not to. God is aware man is not perfect since eve ate that apple. Just like a woman to get a guy into trouble isn’t it my father would often say.
Multi culture education and diversity do have their place, but the politically correct make them out to be the best thing in the world not realizing how the country has changed as we become more and more multi-cultural. This issue will be an article in and of itself, but here is my take on how my youth also shaped my belief in God. When I grew up there was not the taboo belief of people about God being in school. We always had Christmas parties in the younger grades. I also recall the story of various Christmas stories, some of which had religious themes, while I was in school. There was also nothing wrong with teachers discussing God, to an extent as long as they were not preaching. We also learned Christmas songs in music class such as the first noel and silent night. Easter also had the same things in parties, Easter stories and songs in music class. This was also in public schools all through out my years except kindergarten. I attended a private religious school when I was in kindergarten. This also helped my faith in the fact that there is a God since it was all around me when I was growing up. Things have changed significantly though. I will write a separate article, but you if do some research you will see that the less God has been in our schools worse the younger generations are becoming.
This article could go on forever, but I figured the simplest way to explain my belief was to share some experiences I had. I don’t know that God will grant special favors, but there are some things I have prayed for that have turned out for the best against all odds. Some of it was very surprising to me. Here are a few of them.
I decided at one point that I wanted to play football. I don’t think I ever even watched a football game until I was in my teens since I was not really into sports when I was growing up. Not sure why because now I love football and baseball. I initially went out for my high school football team and was hurt and not able to play. I had no desire to play a position but instead wanted to be a place kicker. I really thought that it was neat to do. I kind of had the odds stacked against me because I was much larger than the typical place kicker and people seemed to think since I was big I would be clumsy and not able to kick. I ended up initially leaving the team because my knees (I had an injury already) could not take the pounding from playing offensive and defensive line, but I wanted to come back just as a kicker. The coach would not go for it initially and reminded me that “you quit on us”. While I understood the coach’s disposition I had my mind made up that I was going to play for the team. I practiced very hard and prayed that God would help me get back on the team and also be the best that I could be. I really wanted to prove people wrong. I tried to talk coach into letting me back many times to no avail. A funny thing happened though with my focus in that I also became a much better student. I was previously a C student, but I made the honor roll from that point on in high school. I took a straight A report card to coach and he agreed to let me come back out for the team as a kicker only.
This should be were the story ends. To keep things short I ended up having two main sources of competition in camp that behaved very different than me and had much different priorities. At the time I lived the life of a good Christian I was respectful of women and did not drink, carry on, or participate in salty locker room talk. This really distanced me from many teammates. My competition in camp were the complete opposite of me. Both of them wanted to be football players and could not so they figured that they would be kickers. They totally used football as an image. One of them actually would wear his jersey three times a week to try to impress people. I think I wore mine three times during the 12 times the whole year. I wanted people to like me for me not the fact that I played football. Initially I was the second string place kicker and the starter was really obnoxious. When he was named the starter you would think that he was named the starting quarterback at the University of Alabama the way he was going around like he was the stuff. He also talked about how good he was all the time. I was a firm believer in knowing when to hold them and when to fold them and especially not counting my money while I was still at the table. My two peers did not subscribe to that fact. The other back up had a mother who was on the team’s booster committee. I believe to this day that he got the playing time he did, usually at my expense, because of this and not actual talent.
Finally after part of the year, being very frustrated, and thinking of quitting the team yet again I finally got my chance. The starting place kicker talked better than kicked and he missed an extra point in a game and coach told me to go in for the next one. It was pouring at the time and I was a tad nervous about this. I just said a prayer and told myself that I would do the best I could. I went out and shocked the hell out of everyone when I not only made it but showed how much leg strength I had by hitting the school with the ball. Not many kickers could do that at the time. Coach then started using me in every game. Once I got over my stage fright I had it down with the help of God, encouragement from my parents and hard work and practice. The starting kicker still got more playing time and actually managed to miss three extra points in one game once. The other back up got as much time as I did. I actually nicknamed my back up “Saturday night special” because he would get a shot or two of and then break. It went the rest of the year like this. In the end I did earn everyone’s respect and was considered the best kicker on the team by almost everyone even though I only started one game and did kick offs. I did manage to achieve my biggest goal, which neither of the other two kickers were able to do. I got a college scholarship for my football abilities and played one year before injuries forced me to stop once again. I think in the case of football God answered my prayers and rewarded me for living a good life unlike many of my peers.
There was also a time when I was in college that I got a knock at my door early one morning and two professors told me that my father had a heart attack back home. Since I was over 1500 miles away at the time and did not have a phone my mother could not call me to tell me what was going on. I was devastated. My dad did make it through, but it was really touch and go. I wanted to come home, but mom told me to stay put and she will get me home if need be. I prayed for my father to make it through and he did. I was not ready to lose him (not that you ever are) and really wanted him to see me graduate college. I was the first one in my family to finish high school and the first college graduate and did it with honors. This served as a very proud moment for my father. He shared how proud he was of me over my grades, athletic prowess, and overall being a nice guy and staying out of trouble. I lost my father in 2005, but thank God all the time for giving me ten extra years with him that I probably would not have had. He got to see me get married and that was really nice and I was very thankful.
In addition to the above mentioned instances that reinforced my belief that God exists and does hear our prayers he also managed to help me in other matters. After my father died I ended up not drinking anymore. I just quit cold turkey and used to drink very excessively especially after I turned 21 in college. I did not drink before that in high school or college and took lots of flack for it. I saw how my brother acted after my dad died and he was really a drunk and just cared about his booze. I decided that I did not want to be that way and prayed for help in giving it up. I have not touched a drop in 5 years. Not that I think there is anything wrong with drinking. It is just not for me.
These are some of the things that have occurred in my life that make me know that God exists and keep him in my heart. I am sure many things that occurred in my life were because of my faith including finally meeting the right woman. I had done some bad things in my life (mostly sex with lots of girls and drinking) but God forgives us if we ask and mean it. I think my belief in faith and family really helped me with some of the success I have had in life.