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Under the influence of faith and confusion
Posted April 24, 2009

A decade ago I was a chubby fifth grader playing foursquare with friends at recess.

Today I have grown to be a less chubby version of that same kid, with the same fears, doubts and questions about the world.

In 1999 it seemed that kids my age were only concerned about playing video games and watching TV.

While I shared those same benign concerns, I remained preoccupied with more serious issues, like Y2K.

I remember hearing about people buying cases of water and food to stock in their homes in case chaos ensued when computer systems failed. I even heard about people selling their possessions and getting right with God incase the world ended.

It is not very inspiring for an eleven-year-old to be contemplating the end of the world whilst trying to learn fractions in math class.

Not until Jan. 1, 2000, could I put my mind at ease as I did not have a reason to be fearful anymore.

Unfortunately, not all my fears and doubts have definite endings like that.

Around the same time as the Y2K scare, certain members of my family showed me a graphic video of cows and chickens being tortured and abused before being slaughtered.

It was nice thinking my golden chicken nuggets were once part of a happy healthy chicken that lived a full life. But that video unveiled the harsh reality.

Since I am not vegetarian, I can never be certain whether or not the animal I consume was once tortured or well cared for.

It is out of my power, and I accept that. All I can do is pray before I eat.

Of course learning new bits of information helps with growth and maturity.

But how does one learn to filter out the significant information from all the crap?

Should I believe that Apollo 11 actually landed on the moon or follow conspiracy theorists’ claim that it was a hoax? Was John F. Kennedy’s assassination an inside job? Was 9/11 an inside job? Will the Illuminati take over the world? Is Dec. 21, 2012, really doomsday?

I wish I could be the man who has it all figured out and knows exactly what to say when these questions come up. But I do not have the answers and most of the time I am left confused.

They say knowledge is power but sometimes I wonder if ignorance really is bliss.

Basically I am left with a choice. I can worry about all these things or dismiss the madness on account of faith.

The latter seems like the wisest choice, even if it is easier said than done.

People who lived before me dealt with the same issues and probably never got their answers before they died.

Frankly, I do not think I should waste my time because I have some things to do.

I need to continue going to school and going to work so that I can make something of this life. If I get some answers along the way, may God help me determine the meaning.

One thing is for certain, if I sit around and absorb all the controversies, all the conspiracies and all the negativity in the world, I may very well lose my mind.

Finding the equilibrium between knowledge and faith is a daunting task but I pray to find it sooner than later.

Mark Vidal, a junior communications major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at mark.vidal@laverne.edu.