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The makings of free will and spirituality

I had yet another typical college student realization the other day. Experiencing it was about as unsettling as seeing Charles Bronson come back from the dead to tell me that I’m pregnant with his alien baby.

To be specific, I was pondering the concept of spirituality and organized religion (something I do far too often) a few days ago. Afterwards, I came to the realization that if I was raised in an impoverished and destitute family, my belief in a divine creator(s) or my dedication to organized religion would probably be stronger. Inversely, I realized that if I was born into a rich family and had an easy, over-pampered lifestyle, then my beliefs would be more of the atheist or apathetic persuasion.

Coming from a middle class family, however, I guess it’s no surprise that I fall somewhere into the middle ground of those two spiritual belief extremes.

And that’s precisely where my feelings of disconcertion stem from. It’s quite nerve-shredding (to me, at least) to understand that my spiritual beliefs can be partially determined by my family’s financial background and how I was raised!

That’s trippy.

Even without the Charles Bronson reference.

It’s one of those things that really (and I mean really) makes me question whether or not we humans possess free will or not.

Taking a philosophy class last semester didn’t really help to clarify things, either. I learned a metric ton of information about philosophical theories that I didn’t even know existed, and it was truly a great part of the college experience for me, but it didn’t set anything in stone.

In fact, it showed me that when it comes to philosophical issues such as spirituality, the whole thing is about as clear as a glass cage filled up with black ink.

The ambiguity is so frustrating that it makes me want to rip out all (and I mean all) of my hair and use it as fuel to keep a fire burning to warm my non-hairy body.

And then the ambiguity gets a punch in the face when it comes back to the predictability issue. I find it positively sickening that my spiritual beliefs could be stronger or weaker based on my family’s background.

It’s almost as if I have absolutely no say in the matter!

If I’m poor, then I’ll make sure to pray to God every night so that I don’t have to eat cottage cheese for breakfast every day for the rest of my poverty-ravaged life.

If I’m filthy stinking rich, then I’ll make sure to vote Republican (AHA! An ever-so-cleverly-placed political joke!)and then not really care about whether or not God exists, because I’m making $3,000 a day by moving money around.

And if I’m neither, which I am, then I’ll probably go through that standard phase of spiritual searching and questioning from seventh grade to late college, if not later.

But that’s the way things are sometimes.

Or, am I just merely propagating stereotypes with this column? I very well might be. Check this out:

Everyone’s heard of the single-child rich kid with too many toys who’s proud of being an atheist.

Everyone’s heard of the impoverished kid who prays to God on a regular basis because his or her family is having trouble putting food on the table.

And EVERYONE knows about the kid with not too much but not too little who just can’t figure things out for the sake of anything.

That’s me.

Wait. Am I a stereotype? Holy crud. I just labeled myself as a stereotype.

That’s really sad. But is there any truth in it?

There’s definitely got to be more to the whole “I can predict what your spiritual beliefs will be based on how much money your family makes” thing than that.

Besides, I know a few financially-advanced kids who are ardent believers of their faith, and I know a few die-hard atheists who are not financially-advanced.

I guess I’m trying to say that family wealth can be a possible indicator of how strong one’s faith will be in his or her later years, and not a foolproof measuring tool.

But there are always exceptions.

Aw, garbage truck.

– Respond to Levi at [email protected].

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