Prostitute, Mother of Six and Child of God - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Prostitute, Mother of Six and Child of God

Have you heard of Hunts Point? I hadn’t until I came across Faces of Addiction: a project done by photographer Chris Arnade which contains some of the most striking photographs of mankind I’ve ever seen. I’m not kidding. Hunts Point is a neighborhood in the Bronx–cut off by rivers and an expressway; it is not easily accessible and is riddled with crime. “Addicts and prostitutes. Drugs are everywhere. It’s the culture of Hunts Point. This place is hell.” speaks one of its forgotten residents.

I spent a long time unable to speak out of shock from the suffering I saw in those pictures. You know, I think it was their eyes. You could see the raw humanity in these people: what has been all but forgotten but is still yearning to be remembered, acknowledged, nurtured. Every single person’s eyes were full of such pain, hardness, and grief. Some were born addicted to drugs and never given a chance. Many have never known a life outside of this place. How shocking it was to realize that this sort of living exists inside of America, the richest nation in the world.

But these people have incredible faith which persists among them, and this is an inconvenient truth that atheists like to ignore. Why? Chris Arnade wants to say this is because atheism is a luxury of the rich and privileged citizens of America who have the time and the convenience to insist God does not exist. This was originally expressed in an article published in the Guardian called “The People Who Challeneged my Atheism Most Were Drug Addicts and Prostitutes“. It focuses on the rational characteristic of atheism and how void it is of emotion, necessarily excluding the unpredictable, uncensored human life with which the citizens of Hunts Point are painfully acquainted. Life cannot be fit into a simple box. Perhaps suffering–counter-intuitively, I admit–gives humanity evidence that there is a God rather than that He is not. Something these people seem to be aware of intuitively is that our capacity for joy is determined by the pain we have gone through before.

Thus, one resident named Takeesha very simply responded to the question of how she wanted to be described:

“As who I am. A prostitute, a mother of six, and a child of God.”

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