'I Love God, Even Though God Is Not Real'


The best part about writing a parenting blog? Sometimes your kid composes the blog for you. Remember the time she drew a picture of God, and it turned out looking like a yellow cyclops with male pattern baldness and a handlebar mustache? Good times.

Well, it happened again this week when Maxine walked into my room while I was getting dressed and showed me this little goody. If you're not familiar with kindergarten composition, it's meant to say: "I love God, even though God is not real."

See what I mean? Silver platter.

So here's the story.

It's Monday morning, and I'm telling Maxine about Eid al-Adha, which I wrote about for Monday's blog. I'm explaining how Muslims all over the world are celebrating a holiday that consists of sharing meat with people who don't have food, etc. I ask her if she wants to hear the "God Story" about how the holiday came to be, and she answers with an enthusiastic "Yes!" So I tell her about Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son to God. The name Abraham rings a bell for her, and she asks if she can get down her "God Book" (which is what she calls her beginner's Bible) and flips through the pages looking for Abraham.

He's, of course, hard to find because every other man pictured in this book is a middle-aged white guy with a long beard, but we eventually find him and she's thrilled. Then she goes on to show me a picture of Noah and his ark and insist that it's a picture of "God making the world." At that point, I duck out of the room to get dressed, and leave her chatting happily to herself about God and Abraham.

After about five minutes, she comes waltzing into my room.

"Mommy, look what I made!"

She hands me the above message, and does me the enormous favor of reading that last part aloud.

My first reaction is to recoil a bit. Oh shit, I think. Are my own beliefs indoctrinating her to be a nonbeliever? Is she bothered, on some level, by my lack of religion? Is she trying, in her 6-year-old way, to open up a more serious conversation?

But my second reaction — which is almost always a better one — is to, you know, chill out. My daughter has just made me some artwork, I remind myself, and she's come to show it to me.

"That's awesome, babe! I love it," I say.

She beams proudly, and announces she's going to tape it to my bedroom door.

"So you don't think God is real?" I ask.

"Nope," she says. "Do you?"

What can I say?


She affixes her message to my door with tape and walks away. I swear to you, she has a spring in her step.

I know Maxine will change her mind about her belief in God — probably dozens of times! — before she's an adult. And that's great with me. But I can't tell you how happy I am that she made this.

And, no, to answer your question, it is NOT just because I was able to get a blog out of it. I mean really, people. There are lots of reasons ...

... that ...

... there would be ...

... I just need to ...

Okay, fine. It's all about the blog.

What God Looks Like (Surprising, I know)


Maxine found some glitter glue and a piece of typing paper in her room yesterday and created some fold-over art. You know the kind — those Rorschachian ink-blot pictures that usually come out looking a lot like butterflies. When she’d finished, she brought out her work and laid it on the table next to me.

“This one is God,” she said.

“Wow!” I said, because that was completely unexpected. “Cool!”

She walked away, proud of herself, while I inspected the picture.

I’ve always wanted to know what God was meant to look like. And now I do. He's a yellow cyclops with male pattern baldness and a handlebar mustache.

(Or maybe I'm just reading into it.)