GIVE ‘EM GOD: Scene 5
(Spotlight over YOUNG TAD and YOUNG DEBORAH, sitting on the floor in the corner. They are outside. YOUNG TAD is smoking. The Moonglows’ “Ten Commandments of Love” plays quietly in the background, repeating if necessary.)
YOUNG DEBORAH: I guess… I never really thought about it.
YOUNG TAD: Yeah?
YOUNG DEBORAH: Yeah. You know. You grow up in the church and learn not to question things. Certain things.
YOUNG TAD: So you just—
YOUNG DEBORAH: Shut it out, really.
YOUNG TAD: And here you are in college, and your professors tell you differently.
YOUNG DEBORAH: I guess so.
YOUNG TAD: Before you didn’t think much about it. Now you have to think about it. That right?
YOUNG DEBORAH: It scares me. What if they’re right and biology and evolution and big bang and… explains all this? It’s Santa Claus all over again. How fashionable… lying to children. Somedays I do feel I’ve lost my faith. But I look everywhere for it. The cupboards, the closet, under the bathroom mat. The toaster if I’m hungry. Lord. Somedays I don’t find it.
YOUNG TAD: Your problem, stranger, is that you never had any faith at all.
YOUNG DEBORAH: Well! Excuse me? How dare—
YOUNG TAD: You had your parents. Your pastor. You had your youth group and Christian summer camps. Everything ever taught to you was force fed, but only you didn’t know so you gladly took it.
YOUNG DEBORAH: I have faith, damn it.
YOUNG TAD: No. No. I don’t think so.
YOUNG DEBORAH: Because I have doubts I have no faith?
YOUNG TAD: Doubting is as crucial to faith as air is to breathing.
YOUNG DEBORAH: Then what?
YOUNG TAD: You’re on your own, you see? Hearing things, different things. Realizing God, your god, cannot possibly exist in this New World. And how could he? Force fed, yes.
YOUNG DEBORAH: So god is a creation of man. You sound like my professors: God was invented to keep children like us from doing drugs and screwing. Of course the opposite happened.
YOUNG TAD (jovial:) Yes!
YOUNG DEBORAH: Don’t you lead worship every Wednesday morning in chapel?
YOUNG TAD: I thought I’ve seen you around.
YOUNG DEBORAH: You sing well. Though, I’m confused. I don’t…
YOUNG TAD: As I said. You had no faith to begin with.
(YOUNG TAD stands and faces the audience.)
The god we learned about as children never existed. I’m sorry, but he didn’t. An heirloom, maybe, but a fabrication. Handed down like an old sweater, generations and generations, keeping us warm at night, in the dark, in the pouring rain, in new lands and in old. To me, he was comfortable and familiar. But I had to give him up. So I threw him away.
YOUNG DEBORAH: And yet you sing His praises.
YOUNG TAD: No. No. No, no. Stranger, God exists. Just not the one you were taught about.
YOUNG DEBORAH: You some sort of Mormon?
YOUNG TAD: Worse. Baptist.
YOUNG DEBORAH: Ahhh. I see, and that explains the drinking and the smoking.
YOUNG TAD: Throw away your God. Everything of him! The god you fit inside your head, the god you explain, or approach with a plan, or impress, or vote in a presidential election, or kill in the name of, that is no God. We melted our gold and bore it into a calf; we worship it because in it we see ourselves. Our reflection. Don’t you see?
(YOUNG TAD relights his cigarette and sits down.)
And that’s why you have no faith. Our God, the real, the true, the thing we can’t describe or even assign a name to, he/she/it can’t be contained—not even by a Bible. And that’s why I sing.
(“The Ten Commandments of Love” is heightened in volume.)
I’m Tad, by the way.
YOUNG DEBORAH: Deborah. And I think you’re crazy.
YOUNG TAD: Just a tad.
(They shake hands but don’t let go. Music continues. Lights fade slowly. End of scene.)