Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, having a baby has done little to my faith. My faith is simple and always will be. I still believe in a simple God; I still live my life as if God exists; I still look at a world infused with meaning, loaded with purpose and potential, and on fire with love and benevolent creation. I still believe in loving my enemies and strive to actually do it. I must admit my faith has waned in intensity over the years, but this is normal. We all become moderates and emotion comes and goes. In college I would constantly think about God and it would fill my heart with ecstatic joy. Those events come less often, probably because I have other things on my mind. I must also admit that having a baby was a different kind of ecstatic joy. In a way God wasn’t there at the birth of my son. My faith has always been very personal; He is with me mostly when I’m alone. So at the hospital of course God was present, but in a more secondary, distant way (at least in my mind). As Immanuel came into the world, I was focused on him and my wife only–nothing else mattered at the time. When I’m in a crowd, I’m a Deist; but alone, there I have my personal God. Perhaps that’s why I don’t go to church–or why I should go.
Yet if “faith” means anything, as James says in the New Testament, it means works, action, conduct. Faith without works is dead. Contrary to what Paul makes us think, faith is not believing in x, y, or z. “I believe in one God, the father almighty, creator of blah blah blah.” Either that belief makes you do great things, either it purifies your heart and will, either it makes you a good person–or your belief is meaningless. To take a silly example, Jon Jones is never a champion without his faith (this goes for many champions, but the real champions of course are moral, not athletic, champions).
In this regard, having a baby has compelled me to become a better person and will only intensify. I’m sure this goes for all fathers, faith or no faith. It simply gives me another reason to be better, which leaves God where he always was–a fundamental reason to be better. I want Immanuel to grow up with a father that he truly respects, and he will–thanks to God, my family, and every other person that has made me into who I am today.