"We're not in the pews now, Monsignor, but it's time I made my confession… I stopped thinking that Christ was divine when I was twelve, the day I discovered evolution. I'm Catholic because it suits my family, because I'm comfortable with the rituals and inspired by the traditions, and by people like you and my mom." - Ellen Shea, p.244-45
Most who've lost faith can empathize with Ellen, especially those of her generation. A recent poll says that a third of those under 30 doubt the existence of a god as compared to a tenth of those over 65. It confirms the existence of an accelerating trend in the younger cohort, that more and more young adults check the "none" box for religion, forsaking the faiths of their parents and the institutions that champion them.
Not documented in the survey were the fraction of doubters who returned to the fold or found a new way, nor was reported how many disbelievers who began without faith ended up worshipping. Father Jonathan Morris echoes the thoughts of Christian theologians like Kirkegaard and Bonhoeffer when he says that doubt and skepticism are natural and desirable for all Christians. A wealth of literature tells us that it wasn't just Thomas who doubted, and like Mother Teresa's deathbed confession, it betrays a common phenomenon.
He can See Heaven tells the story of Ellen's search for things lost, first for a cache of ancient scripture and then for her faith. Like so many nonesters, she's on a path separate from the one she was shown, and when she stumbles on the Hierophant and his message, she wonders if his wisdom is meant for her.
Do you sometimes doubt your beliefs or lack of them? Are you as brave as Ellen, brave enough to wonder and search for another way?