The Lark of Conviction

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Opinion Column

I’m an astereotypical human being, and as such, I’m in essence normal. One irregularity of mine, however, is particularly astounding: I’m neither a-, mono-, or polytheistic. And I’m Jewish. To repeat — I’m a bar mitzvahed, kippah-wearing Jewfro employer and don’t believe or not believe in God(s). Reassuringly, Judaism is more than a religion, my Jewfro is composed of atoms, and there exists a word to describe my condition: agnosticism.

Why am I agnostic? Because I am equally incapable of defending God as I am a void. There is definitively some cosmic glue, some force pulling Earth towards the center of the universe, defining the spin and velocity of electrons; that gives me hope, that gave you life. Maybe hope is a neurochemical, life an illusion. Though, to the human mind, they don’t seem to be such. They seem critical, visceral, magical. And maybe they are. And maybe they stem from some being, some God, with the same characteristics. To which my logical mind interjects, “What about randomness? What about chaos?” Hope could just be a complex chemical constellation, life the culmination of variable upon variable, so many variables as to potentially be unique to Earth.

But they’re both wrong: my existence is meaningful, not the product of a void. Yet my sentience can be monitored with an MRI, transformed by medicine. So I’m agnostic. I swim through the intermediate ether, taking breaths of the heavenly and sips of void as I desire. Am I not entitled to both, believing fully in neither? My starved lungs at times need to breathe comfort in the face of death; my parched lips need at times to drink certainty in the face of a lack thereof. Often, the ether can fulfill my desire to breathe in addition to my desire to drink. With the ether comes contentment: to be, to relax — in spite of, because of, or without God or void.

One could say my position along with my argument in favor of it are jumbled. One could say that I lack conviction. Of this I am certain: in lacking conviction, I am steadfast, transfiguring my “lack” to something of a lark. And my Lark of Conviction has yet to conclude. My path may be jumbled, but jumbled paths can still be followed, and this one might have a noble end. It must be noble if while strolling my path I feel at ease, content, unburdened.

Then again, maybe my argument could be refined. Maybe my path won’t end, leading infinitely deeper into my aquarium of ether. Maybe God exists, reassures, comforts, or brings joy. Maybe a benevolent being floats above us all, giving us virtues, families, and happiness, letting us die in wars, genocides, and pandemics. Maybe instead there is a void; science explains all. Maybe the confluence of innumerable variables that is this column is entirely random. Maybe said confluence was aided by no floating benevolent being. And maybe the maybes cancel each other out—

Maybe the Lark of Conviction is that having conviction is to not be considering some major detail. Maybe uncertainty is more authentic than certainty ever will be. To expand on Shrödinger’s point, God simultaneously does and does not exist.