Red Portfolio Preface

Dear God,

I've been having a little trouble lately. You see, my initial problem is some time ago I lost faith in you. Don't get me wrong though, it wasn't your fault at all. Many years ago I began to question my belief system regarding all things spiritual and religious. Along with this forced reflection I began to evaluate the reasons I grew up with to rationalize my blind faith in such a creature as yourself.

I tell you, Lord, my arguments didn't bode well for you, but again, please, do not take offense or feel hurt in any way. It isn't that there's a lack of valid arguments to substantiate believing in you, for there are countless. The problem is that for every argument in your favor there's an equally valid argument in opposition. Since both sides have valid arguments, I'm forced to stay in the middle and be agnostic. I must admit, however, that I lean towards not believing in the traditional views of your existence, immortal life after death, and the nature of suffering in the world. Though you may be happy to know that my conceptions have allowed for the possibility of a God, I do lean against the traditional views of such a being. Sorry.

As I was writing this letter to you, God, I decided to fill you in on my recent ideas, since I'm sure you are interested to know what I have chosen to believe instead of the traditional views. I took the liberty of including two of the papers I wrote in my seminar class which best demonstrate my beliefs.

However, before you read them I should fill you in on their origin. I didn't just churn them out yesterday, you know. Dr. C., my FYS teacher, assigned us three major papers during the term. The first paper deals with my beliefs concerning the origin and nature of God. I anticipate that you will find this one interesting since it deals with you, so I am including it. Also, it presents my beliefs concerning religion. I must warn you, however, that I chose to stray from the assignment just a bit.

The assignment required us to read three texts and comment on them and the views presented, or we could go with the second option. This second option, the one I chose, asked us to write a religious quest where we discover and evaluate our own beliefs, possibly using the three texts. I wasn't completely sure what that meant; I felt it was a little ambiguous. However, after discussing the assignment in class, I figured out what I wanted to do. Later that day I went to my room and began the physical part of the writing process. I had been thinking about the nature of your existence for quite some time; therefore, this paper was relatively easy for me. All I had to do was write down the thoughts that were already in my head. That very day I wrote ten pages and later that night went to the writing center for a consultation.

For the next hour or so I discussed in great detail the whole God issue and religion with one of my friends. She held a more traditional view (for example, she was certain you exist). It was a thoroughly helpful discussion because some of her views are quite the opposite of mine and a good lively debate ensued. I did not come up with many new ideas but it was helpful to verbalize what I was trying to say. My brain was in full gear and ready for some stimulating writing. After I bid farewell to my friend, I waltzed (not literally, it was more of a foxtrot) back to my room to begin revising.

The next day I handed in my paper and awaited a response. When I received it back I was a little shocked because I was unaccustomed to actual feedback; there was a lot of writing on it, but it was purple, not red. In high school I received either a grade or a grade with a few nearly useless remarks. However, on this paper I received a plethora of questions about what I wrote, places pointed out where I contradicted myself, and hints letting me know how long-winded I am, something I've been told a lot lately.

I took my paper back to my room and a few weeks later I began revising the paper once again. I haven't received feedback on the new version but I feel that I did address a majority of the problems of the initial draft, while adding three pages. So much for curbing my tendency of blabbing away! Alas, I am beginning to believe that there is no longer a chance for me. Anyway, the new version is what I have included for you; I hope you find it insightful.

The third, and last, major paper in my seminar class dealt with immortality on Earth and life after death. There were definitely some major stylistic changes in order to make it more formal. Besides the tendency to ramble on endlessly, my first draft was very informal. It read like I was coming up with the ideas as I was writing. The reader could see how my thoughts progressed and could get inside my head a little better. I personally enjoyed how it is written, as it was very personal, but not everyone felt the same way. In order to make it easier to understand, I modified the style and this is the version you will be receiving.

While writing these three papers, I learned about my own beliefs and why I believe the way I do, as well as a new appreciation for the writing process and how beautiful, and difficult, it is. Writing is a ferocious beast to grapple with, but it makes an interesting mistress of sorts. I have always enjoyed the creative process of writing but I was always too immature in how I wrote and thought. This term has been my coming-of-age in writing. During the past four months I have experienced a new thirst for the written word, in particular creating it myself, as well as a new appreciation for religion and the art of thought.

I don't believe that I have ever put so much of myself in any paper and enjoyed writing for class as much as I enjoyed the three papers for my seminar class. I was used to writing fiction and poems but this was the first time I ever truly wrote about my beliefs. It was an exciting experience. I don't think I'm ready to start writing non-fiction, but I have begun working on a fictional short story based on events in my life, which is a major experiment for me.

By putting so much of my own thought into these pieces and by getting useful feedback and the opportunity to revise my papers, I have improved dramatically in my writing as a whole. I don't believe there is a great difference in the writing style and ability demonstrated between the three pieces, but I have noticed a change in the writing I do outside my seminar class. It is really amazing to see how big the changes are. I know that I'm not yet ready for a professional writing career, but perhaps I'm on my way to some thought-provoking, world-changing, gross-amount-of-money-making career in writing, or at least I would like to imagine so.

At any rate, I hope my brief (don't laugh) introduction will help you appreciate what I have written. If, by chance, you choose to strike me down into the deepest depths of Hell because of my "heresy" then I didn't mean any of it. It is all a joke, ha ha. You have a sense of humor, right? Well, anyway, have a great day. Now, where did I put that address?

Return to FYS Portfolio page

This web site created and maintained by the Coe Writing Center. Copyright 2001.
E-mail Dr. Bob Marrs with any questions, comments or suggestions.