My niece Selah, Nov 31, 2009
“You have to put in that photo of you and the baby” said my adopted aunt Joyce from Florida.
This is Selah, my niece.
Funny thing is that I can remember Selah’s dad Chris the day he came home from the hospital. They looked so much alike, the same chubby cheeks, full head of hair. However, Chris did have a alien piece of embryonic tissue which he wore like an awkward hat for at least a week.
The photo was taken in Atlantic City. I volunteered to watch Selah as the rest of the clan pillaged the outlet stores on Black Friday. We sat on the third floor of The Pier Shop at Caesars enjoying the late afternoon sun. She napped while I read from my Kindle. As self-portraits go, it’s not too shabby.
The origin of the name Selah is from the Hebrew Bible although the exactly translation is unclear. It can be loosely translated as a ‘musical interlude’. Selah is the perfect name for a daughter of my cousin Chris and his wife Miriam. Both of them work for a church that uses music as their vehicle to spread their message.
It would be fair for me to tell you now that I’m an atheist. I’m a non-believer but I’m far from uninterested. My interest in All Things Bible started when I read Bruce Feiler’s book Walking the Bible. I take Biblical events with a grain of salt, but for me it tells a great travel story of the Middle East. I’ve traveled a little bit in Israel and Jordan and one day I would like to see St. Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Egypt.
I’m definitely in the minority. To be an atheist, one must have quite the Ego. It’s one thing to say that you’re unsure about a religion but quite another to say that you are certain that God does not exist. I didn’t lose God. There was no great tragedy in my life that caused me to forsake God. I’ve simply never felt the need for God to exist. There was never a time that I can remember when I believed in a higher being. I didn’t heed the warnings of my Buddhist grandmother when she took me through the realms of hell exhibit at a temple and I didn’t observe Lent while attending St. Augustine in Ocean City, NJ.
While sitting there with Selah on my chest, I thought about the “Miracle” of childbirth. This miracle is the continuation of the species. Somehow we crawled out of the soup and learned to procreate. A woman walked by and sighed “Oh my God, how precious”. The idea of a higher power is somehow always invoked when talking about babies. How can anyone deny the beauty that is the Miracle of Babies? Professor Dennett, my freshman year philosophy professor ( strange that a man of his stature would be wasted on the stupid ) would argue that it is only beautiful because it is useful. These are just words that describe a deep feeling buried in our genetic code.
Indeed she is a beautiful baby and life is miraculous. Even an atheist can see that it is a fitting description.