#76 Chase doesn't know when he lost his faith in God.
Chase doesn't know when he lost his faith in God, but he knows it's gone. When he prays, a habit he can't seem to break, he can't find anyone up there to pray to, no matter how hard he tries. When he looks back, he sees only his footprints in the sand.
Treating Sister Augustine makes him wonder how one knows they have faith, and realises he's answering his own question just by asking it. He still prays for people sometimes, people he loses, people he worries for, and wonders whether that makes him a hypocrite or just arrogant enough to think that if God exists, the words of his lapsed son will make any difference.
Chase likes to avoid questions about his religious beliefs, because in all honesty he doesn't know how to answer them. Sometimes he gets angry with God, for abandoning him to this harsh life of watching people die, of having so many lives depend on his words, but he knows just how irrational it all is and wishes he could go back to being ensconced firmly in the happy, sure little world of the seminary. He doesn't know if it would actually make a difference, but sometimes it's comforting to think it would.
Sister Augustine's words made him wonder if he could find his faith again, but in the end they only make him realise just how definitely it is lost.
He wonders if it's actually possible for a doctor to believe in God, as he pumps futilely at a patient's chest, eyes desperately searching the monitor for some sign that God has not abandoned this child as well. When he starts to breathe again Chase wonders for a moment if God heard him, but then he crashes and this time nothing Chase can do will bring him back and he leaves the room trying not to think about how empty the universe suddenly seems.
A test of faith. That's what they called it, in the seminary. A test he failed. Or perhaps a test he passed, while his faith slowly seeped away; a test of his self-knowledge.
Perhaps that was when he stopped believing, or maybe it was a long time before that. Maybe it was when he watched his mother fade away in a haze of vomit and yellowed skin, and prayed desperate, childish prayers every night for God to fix his mommy, only to find her sprawled the next morning barely knowing who he was.
The faith healer they treated, and the tally he kept, House versus God. Maybe it was that that destroyed any remnants of religious belief in him, watching his very mortal, probably amoral, definitely-not-a-good-person boss cure or explain every little 'miracle.' House won that round. Maybe it was because there was no one there for him to beat.
Chase never likes to talk to religious patients. They get under his skin, their blind belief making him wonder, making him hope, that maybe, just maybe, if he tried hard enough, he could find that inner serenity that comes hand in hand with faith. But he's been so lost for so long that no manner of trying will lead him back to God.
They always try to convert him, and their reaction on finding out that he's a lapsed son is always pity. It makes him angry to think that these people, these complete strangers, learn one thing about him and decide he's pitiful. Who are they to judge so? Surely that is God's prerogative?
He said all this to one patient, once, and made her cry.
Sometimes, when he's being very stupid, he tries to find god in a bottle, but all he ever finds is his mother.
He tries to find god in his work, but sees only a never-ending list of the patients he's lost.
He tries to find god in people, lovers, but all he can see is his father calling him a whore.
And so, at thirty-two, Doctor Robert Chase resigned himself to life without faith, and a death without anything.