The 98%

There's this part in the beginning of Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, when Binx Bolling is discussing what we seek. He says,

"For, as everyone knows, the polls report that 98% of Americans believe in God and the remaining 2% are atheists and agnostics—which leaves not a single percentage point for the seekers…

Truthfully, it is the fear of exposing my own ignorance which constrains me from mentioning the object of my search. For, to begin with, I cannot even answer this, the simplest and most basic of all questions: Am I, in my search, a hundred miles ahead of my fellow Americans or a hundred miles behind them? That is to say: have 98% of Americans already found what I seek or are they so sunk in everydayness that not even the possibility of a search has occurred to them?

On my honor, I do not know the answer."

Binx spends the entirety of the book looking for that answer.

Do you ever feel like that? As though you are so far ahead of yourself, let alone others, or so far behind you'll never catch up? I feel this way often enough.

On good days I am behind and on bad days I am ahead, egotistically wrestling with existential questions of paramount concern that I'm sure no one has ever wrestled with before (You see why those are bad days?).

I ask questions of myself, of God, and of others that I'm sure must frustrate or irritate Him because they certainly frustrate and irritate me. I believe He is good, but I want Him to explain His goodness for goodness sake. If He is good, why doesn't He make all the bad make sense?

Does that make me ahead of my time or behind it? And if it just makes me part of the 98% percent (of 1961), are you asking the same question and can we be friends?

The truth is we are all walking a thin and narrow line of faith. Some might say walking on water or jumping off cliffs, but isn't it all the same? We are taking small steps of great faith to even seek at all.

He says to seek him while He may be found and it makes me wonder sometime if there is an after. As though we can only seek Him while He makes himself able to be found. After that, too late, get back with the 98%, you sloth. That'll turn your choice theology on its head no matter which end of the spectrum you come from.

Binz was asking a question I think we all ask in our moments of greatest vulnerability: will I ever get this right? Whether I am behind or ahead, it matters not, but will I get it right? Will I find what I am looking for?

The answer, I think, is we will. It is those who never ask or seek who will not, those who never lift their frail and fragile hands to knock—not to be let in, but to be let out of their death drenched bodies. I think we will find what we sought all along and what we find may surprise us.

Because we will find it is He who found us first.