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Religious wisdom on a boat

Charlie and I are on a paddleboard in the middle of Dunning Lake when I hear the first rumble of thunder in the distance. Charlie hears it, too.

“Time to head to shore,” he says.

He’s not wrong. The lifeguards will call us in soon enough. But it’s one of our final days of summer, so I want to stretch this moment out as long as possible.

“Don’t worry,” I say. “That was just God bowling.”

“Dad,” Charlie says, sounding exasperated. “You don’t believe in God, and neither do I. You know that.”

“I know,” I say. “But don’t you kind of wish that God was real? Don’t you want God to be real?”

Because I do. I’m perpetually envious of people who possess complete and total faith in God and the afterlife. I would love to believe in heaven. I hope that I’m wrong and that God is absolutely, positively real.

Maybe not the terrible and murderous God described in The Bible who indiscriminately kills people for the pettiest of reasons, but a kinder, gentler, more benevolent God.

Hopefully female. Or maybe an all-knowing, all-powerful puppy.

When people ask me about my religious beliefs, I often describe myself as a reluctant atheist. It’s the perfect summation of how I feel/

Charlie rolls his eyes when I ask him if he wishes that God were real. “Dad,” he says, “Do you really think it would be a good idea to have just one guy in charge of everything?”

And just like that, even an all-knowing, all-powerful puppy sounds like a bad idea.

Damn that boy.