Some feel a need to know that there’s a god. Presumably to watch over them and make sure things go the way they’re er.. supposed to go? I mean he/she/it doesn’t like to interfere so to speak…
Some days I look for the meaning of life, I look in the computer, I look outside, I look in my sock drawer and even occasionally in the chicken pen out back.
I might equate searching for the meaning of life to searching for god or God, depending on your persuasion.
Today’s post is not about me and my search for red herrings however. Nah, that can wait for another day.
While on the topic of theology..
I’m introducing for the first time ever, a guest writer. One who’s been on many a plane (aero and otherwise). Well traveled, well read and well spoken. Versed in the words of philosophy and prose.
With Easter upon us, so begins the musings on religion and meditations on virtue and fate. What compels a civilization to follow a piece of scripture? Why worship a man? Unlike many devotees, I was never forced into faith by family tradition; when I was younger, I used to go to church off my own accord. Something about the whole ritual mesmerized me. Like an ethnographer, I silently observed the Sunday congregation, mostly with eyes barely open, lip-syncing the Our Father in a trance-like state, probably hung-over. I was amazed at these peoples’ will to sit in the pews, then kneel, then stand, then sit again. I remember the high I got when I accepted the Holy Ghost, and tasted Christ’s chalky body from the hands of a guy in a bathrobe. I remember how tipsy Christ’s blood made me before going back to standing, and sitting, and kneeling again. But mostly, I recall the sense of community and the warm comradery that fused into the ambiance – that sense of togetherness which separated us from the pagans; because we worshiped a celestial overlord, we were to go to heaven, where we would be treated to Christ’s delicious, wheat-like body, and get drunk off his blood for all eternity. And the other people won’t.
As I got a bit older, as happens to most people, I began demanding proof. This began in secondary school – a quaint all-boys Catholic school, where we were to confess to the priests once every three months or so. This was a traditional place, where the teachers acted as a voice of holy consultation as well. My skepticism took shape when I found myself in the confessional, admitting to my math teacher that I frequently masturbated. That experience ushered in a range of questions surrounding spirituality and morality. Are they necessarily linked to religion? Do we need an age-old manuscript to tell me how to think?
Then as I grew older still, “agnosticism” became rather boring; there’s only so long you can sit on a fence before your ass hurts, and you chose a side to jump off to. I then decided to explore a couple dogmas, like finding the right shoe-size in a store. Couldn’t hurt to be open-minded, right? It’s all the same thing anyway: Eat, Pray, Love. At first, I grew curious of Islam, but got frustrated when I was told that my questions could not be answered in a straightforward way by the Qur’an, since the original text, written by a prophet who supposedly couldn’t read or write, was an amalgamation of multi-layered Arabic epithets. I then grew tired of all monotheisms, and their embedded self-victimization. I grew tired as well of all the irrelevancies attached to these faiths. Why not simply leave it as “do unto others…”? Why the insistence of not eating pork? Or not mowing the lawn on a Sunday? Or not depicting images of real things? I looked towards polytheism instead. Those guys don’t make any fuss, I thought. And I was treated to a plethora of comic book stories of Vishnu dreaming up the realm of reality; of elephant-headed gods; of two-tongued men; of virtue and fate. I could pick and choose whichever gods I preferred, and the other ones wouldn’t grow jealous or angry, and condemn me to eons in hell. I thought maybe it would be easier to revert back to sun-worship. I can understand why people would do that, at least – it’s big, it floats, it’s the source of life, and if you look at it too long, it punishes you with blindness. If you’re looking for supernatural, look no further. Plus, the sun does not judge you, and there’s no implication that it has any vested interest in human affairs, or has any compass pointing to “bad” or “good.” It was a neat idea, but I imagine that astronomy kind of threw that whole idea into disarray.
In a sense, my quest for spirituality was also a quest for community. I don’t like the argument of judging faith based on its believers’ actions. It’s neither here nor there, and maybe the ideologies should be judged at face value for whatever insights they bring, or the sense of community they create. But in most cases, it’s as the saying goes: “we have enough faith to hate, not enough to love.”