Street Epistemology: Carlos | A Crisis of Faith


Hey, dude. Hey. Hi! Hey, man! What’s up? Not much. You look like you’re having fun. Yeah, I’m just jamming. What are you listening to? Just got my new iPhone, so. You got the new one? Oh, it’s not the new one, it’s my new one. It’s your new one. I used to have one that looked like it had been shot or something. Oh, OK. Yeah. I’ve seen a few of those. Like weapons. Cracked glass, Yes. You know you can put clear tape over that? Really? Like clear shipping tape so you don’t… No, I didn’t know that. Let’s just say you break the screen on that
one, put a little clear tape over it and you’re
good to go. I wouldn’t put it past me to break this one. I have a habit of breaking phones. Be careful. Do you have five minutes to have a conversation
about God? Sure. OK, cool. My name is Anthony. Nice to meet you, Anthony. What is your name, sir? Carlos. Charles, Charlie, anything, they all work. What are you taking here? Right now, Sociology and college algebra. I’m a Political Science major. Tuesdays, Thursdays I have those classes,
then Government, Psych, and Anthropology on Monday,
Wednesday. You’re a busy guy! Yeah, very busy. Dang! It’s taxing. It sounds like it. Do you have time for a God in your life? Do you believe in a God? Yeah, I actually go to Chi Alpha; the church
here on campus. Mostly on Thursdays at about eight-thirty. I usually go over there. I’m part of a Bible study. You’re a Christian, then? Yes. How strong are you on the belief if, let’s
say zero percent was I don’t believe, a hundred percent was I absolutely believe, where do you put yourself on that, Carlos? Um, at a solid seventy-five. I’m at seventy-five percent I believe. OK. The twenty-five percent is just, I don’t know, inhibitions, things that are preventing me from fully embracing it. I appreciate your honesty. Yeah. That’s probably not easy to say, especially if you’re a part of a group like that. I feel like honesty is necessary. Too many people lie about their faith, or they try and pretend they believe in something they don’t, put on a facade. But no, I’m at seventy-five percent sure that I believe. Were you ever at the hundred? Was I ever… once upon a time I was. And what brought you down to where you are now? I think my parents’ divorce. Hmm. I think definitely, you lose a bit of your faith in a higher power when your life is just kind of ripped apart, And so that’s what happened, at least in my case. I saw that the divorce was pretty nasty, my sisters. I have three little sisters, and it was tough for them, and I had to be the big older brother, the strong one. So that definitely, I think, affected it. Do you think if they had stayed married, and you didn’t have to go through that traumatic event, and your sisters going through that traumatic event, and you seeing that, do you think that you would still be at the hundred percent mark today? I think so. Because we used to go to church as a family, then it became I go to church with Dad sometimes, go with my Mom sometimes, and it just, all your beliefs get mixed up, especially because of the different churches. My Mom is a Roman Catholic, and my Dad is Christian. Were you getting different messages? Yeah. Conflicting messages were causing it. Yeah, very conflicting messages. The Christian faith is a lot more open and receptive, and the Catholic faith is kind of more staunch and traditional, and they’re no-nonsense, Yeah. My Mom got custody and I had to deal with that part, the Roman Catholic part, and I guess that’s what lowered my faith a little bit. I find it fascinating that this upheaval in your life with regards to your parents’ marriage resulted in you sliding down on the scale. Yeah. I don’t know, I guess, yeah, that’s the correlation between my faith falling down. It all has to do with my parents separating. It was really just that I had a crisis of
conscience, just a crisis of faith in general; I lost
faith in a lot of things, including my relationship
with God. I think father figures in general, and God is, you know, our Father. Yeah. I just kind of felt slighted, like, “Why are you doing this to me?” “Why are you tearing apart my life?” I felt like I was blaming my Dad, and in essence I was also blaming that Dad. The Almighty Dad. Why did you level off at the seventy-five
percent and not just continue drifting down? I guess just internal faith, fire in the belly I refused to let go of. There’s the mental doubts, What do you mean by that, exactly? I’m a very passionate person, I’d like to say, so anything I once liked or once believed in, I’d hate to just abandon ship altogether. There’s something inside me that refuses to ever just give up altogether. And so, It slid down a little bit; I have my doubts, but I never let it reach the point where I was going to have an absolute destruction of my faith. I still wanted to make sure that, if it’s what I once believed, I might as well stay true to myself, and keep believing. That’s basically how I see it. Does your rigour in just wanting to maintain the belief make the belief true? I’m not sure. I feel like I want to maintain it so bad, that I make it true to myself, that, I’m a strong believer, so yeah. I guess trying to keep up with my faith is, You’re making the belief true? Hmm. I’m not sure how much of it is me, and how much of it is, I do just believe it. And, it’s a combination of the two, I’d say. Of the fact that I really just do whole-heartedly, I mean, seventy-five-percent-heartedly believe, have a strong belief. And the other half I guess, is that I want to believe so bad that I do believe. Hmm. What does that say to the truth of the belief, if a large part of it is just wanting to believe in it? It sleights it a little bit, yeah. It makes it seem less true, and more of a, more of a yearning on my part. [LOUD BACKGROUND NOISES] They’re ruining my interview right now. Ah! I know, right? That just kills me! Inconsiderate. [Laughing] So, You do have a point there. The yearning for something to be true doesn’t necessarily make it completely true. It’s more me wanting to believe it’s true, you’re right. Carlos, but why are you, Is that a, Let me just hit our timer. It’s fine. We’ll continue. Is that an honest position to hold? No, it’s not. It really is not. It’s a position, it’s almost a fake position, a facade. I’m almost as bad as the people that I say are putting on fronts. If I say I do believe in God, and at the end of the day it’s only seventy-five percent, I’m slighting myself, and I’m slighting God. So I am in the wrong there. Definitely. It’s a lot of soul-searching deep down, but, I still do try my best, for the most part, to make sure that my faith is assured. But you’re definitely right it’s making it look bad if I’m forcing myself to believe. It’s kind of diminishing my faith; the honesty of it. You’ve mentioned faith several times. Do you have a definition of it? Not a… How are you using it? How are you using that word. Faith in the connotation that what I believe in, the moral, the ethics that I hold close to my heart, the values that the Bible has taught me. Things that I like to retain. OK. Faith. I guess that’s how I’d use it. The things that ultimately I believe in. What would have to happen in your life to get you to move from the seventy-five percent mark down to the fifty percent mark? It wouldn’t have to be anything spectacular. I think it would just take a little more dedication on my part, because I haven’t really, with all the classes and stuff, I’ve been trying to balance out my time, and I miss Bible studies sometimes, and I miss church. I could get more dedicated to… Oh, no, no. Maybe you misunderstood. I want to know what it would take to get you to move further down the scale. Oh! To move further down. What would have to happen in your life? Further down. Huh. I’m not sure. Maybe the death of a family member, I know that always strikes a crisis of conscience, a crisis of faith. Let’s say, you know, not to have any bad vibe here, but, Let’s say that as you’re walking away you get a phone call that a very close family member just passed away. Ooh. Would that get you to move down on the scale? It probably would, just a little bit. Really. I think humans, we all suffer from the ‘Woe is me’, like, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ ‘Why me?’ We all suffer from that, and I think that I would also, I would be one of the people who would definitely blame God. I feel like, it’s not fair, it’s what everybody does. Right away they jump to conclusions, that everything is His fault. Let’s say you were walking away you get a phone call and somebody says that they just discovered that you inherited a million dollars. Oh. Would you move up on the scale from that point? As terrible as it sounds, I think I might. I think my first words, really would be, ‘Thank God!’ I think that’s very telling. I would feel like I had moved up on the scale. It’s sounds selfish, You see what’s happening here is that, it sounds like whether the outcome was good or bad, bad or good, You’re interpreting that as this God working in your life. Yeah. Definitely. That is, It seems like you’ve almost set up a scenario where, regardless of the outcome, you’re going to view it as this God helping you, or working in your life. Yeah. In what way does that make the belief in the God true? I’m not sure, because it almost diminishes the free will aspect of life if you’re putting so much faith in the hands of God. Ultimately, I’m not sure, I guess, that’s all I have to say, that really is eliminating the free will aspect of my life if I am always saying, ‘Well, it’s God.’ ‘Leave everything up to God’, whether the outcome is good or bad, it’s in His hands. It kind of diminishes the role that I play in my own life. Does it diminish the likelihood that there is even a God in your life, working? It does, it could. Just a little bit. Yeah. I think it could. Thank you very much. No problem. Have a great day. You too. Take care. I didn’t get your name. Anthony. Anthony. Yes sir. Alright, bye. I’m going to stand over here so I get that music behind me. OK. Alright. So, what I’m doing is trying to talk to people that believe in a God, I want to understand how they concluded that their belief is correct. And typically what I find is that, the method that people use to get to the God belief is not extremely reliable. Yeah, I know. ‘I believe because I was born in it.’ Or, ‘I believe because…’ I noticed that when you were talking to me, I kind of realized all the errors of my way, or just that, I don’t know, the little quirks in my faith, and how it’s all very unconventional and unorthodox when I really think about it. Oh really. It put things in perspective a lot. My entire bus ride home, I was just thinking about, I had a crisis of faith, I was like, ‘What do I believe in?’ ‘Do I believe in myself more than anything?’, and I like to project a higher power as a coping mechanism? Or do I really believe in a higher power. And I was like, it’s been in my brain ever since then. Interesting. But we’re about to run late to class, so thanks for talking to us, Andy. I’ll catch you later so maybe we could talk some more. Yeah! Sounds good. Thank you. See you, man. It’s been a pleasure. Same here. Awesome.

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