I went to a Catholic parochial school in St. Paul for six years, was an altar boy, could pretty competently read Latin, and casually accepted my Catholic faith. But I never believed in it, any of it. It all, even to a child, seemed to not…work. But I didn’t finally lose all semblance of any belief in a god until I worked for the prison system here in MN. I’m an RN, and have always chosen to work in the underbelly; treatment and detox centers, group homes for profoundly developmentally disabled adults who also had mental illness diagnoses, psychiatric units, hospice, and where I totally lost my faith, in a maximum security prison hospital unit.
Every day I addressed the health care needs of many offenders in the system, some not so bad, some inconceivably horrid, and dangerous, most stupid, lazy, and incompetent. But one offender, a sexual predator and murderer of children, totally destroyed any possible belief in a god. This man kidnapped a five year old girl from a church, and over the course of a day, forced upon her almost every filthy, violent, savage assault you can even imagine, and many you most probably can’t. But it wasn’t the rapes, or cigarette burns, or hair yanked out, or the beatings that killed her. It was his feces forced down her throat. Then he tossed her in a dumpster like some dead cat.
I usually never read the court transcripts from any of the men I took care of. I didn’t want to know, afraid I might be influenced to provide less than good health care. I wish I hadn’t looked up this piece of shit’s court record as well. But here’s what killed god for me. This little girl “loved Jesus” according to her mother. And god is supposedly all good, powerful, knowing etc. All I could think of was where is god? When this child went through every possible humiliation, forms of pain, terror, you add your own adjective here, where was god? Theodicy is always the fly in the ointment, Epicurus nailed it a long time ago, but the kindest thought you could take from this is that god is, as Twain put it, a malignant thug. No manner of convoluted magical thinking can excuse what happened to this little girl. If there is a god, even remotely like what most of us have been taught, he’s an enemy, beneath contempt, worthy of our hatred. If he exists, fuck him. But he doesn’t.
One last thing, to all those idiot whining pharmacists and other “health care professionals” who are troubled by Plan B birth control pills. I provided competent, professional care to the monster in prison. I changed his diaper, he was an old man by the time I knew him, after a quarter century in prison, gave him his medications, checked his blood glucose levels, in short, acted professionally. Professionals don’t get to pick and choose who they care for.