Religion, Skepticism, and Being Alive

November 9, 2011

The god botherers were out at the university yesterday. What makes these rude bigots think they have the right to tell the rest of us how to live? If we want to hear their narrow-minded hatred, we’ll seek out them and their cult. This assumption religious people share, that they have rights denied the rest of us to preach and impose their point of view. I cannot like it. It devalues – dehumanizes the rest of the world. And certainly, it devalues their god. If their god was real, and had omnipotence, it wouldn’t need humans for anything – except abject, worshiping slaves. What a horrible creature that would be.

No, when I hear the god botherers’ rants, all I can think is “#@!!# sadist!” Anyone who had the power to heal, to help, to restore and chose not to use it … no words games needed. That being – person or god – is a sadist.

Apparently the gay rights crowd set up a rally right beside them. Good on them! I missed that. I don’t really regret it, though. I am not fond of altercations. Hence my lifelong commitment to hanging my head and enduring and enduring and enduring rather than speaking out.

After learning about various systems of spirituality, I’ve long wanted to think of myself as water – smooth, life-giving, but powerful in its endurance and determination. Foolish fancy. I have lived more as packed earth – with, to be fair, an occasional sparkle of gemstones. (why am I always so determined to put myself down?) Lately I’ve begun to wonder if there’s not quite a bit of fire in me. I feel the stirrings of it now and again, but am not sure how much of it is due to specific emotional states.

Transitions times are tough. I do understand why people seek the comfort of religion. To be able to step back and say, with conviction, “I’m being taken care of. I don’t have to worry about what I do, what I need, who I am. God will take care of everything.” How blissful. I respect people who can hold onto a belief – any belief – and use it to cushion the upheavals of life. (We all hear me adding the proviso “As long as they don’t impose those beliefs on others”, don’t we?) And I admire how much practical charity and kindness comes out of many religions ( see above parenthesis). But I cannot seem to hold onto that illusion. I want to see what’s real.

I am confronting a dilemma I hadn’t thought to. I am a skeptic, in the sense that I ask questions, withhold judgment ( not that you’d believe that after my complaints about god botherers, but I allow them their rights – IF they allow me mine. Break that courtesy, and you put yourself outside respect), but, most importantly, seek information. I don’t knee-jerk respond to things, and I’m actually pleased when my beliefs are challenged by new information (yes – skeptics have beliefs. We all do We just need to recognize them, allow for their influence, and try to work around them).

Right now, my beliefs in how the universe works – physics and all – are being undermined. It is surprisingly hard to say, “Maybe this is real” when it goes against the apparent reality that works in experimental and practical life. (total tangent. Am working in a coffee shop right now. The people next to me are physicists, arguing over quantum stuff. A scathing voice says, “So on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday it’s a particle and on other days its a wave” Wonderful!)

But I know what I am experiencing. And it doesn’t fit.

Well, hooray! and all that. A new test of my reasoning abilities and open-mindedness. Unfortunately, I also, like, I suspect, most people, prefer certainties. That’s another thing religion offers that so eases the turmoil of human existence. The certainty that even if you can’t know, can’t understand, can’t see clearly, there is an entity who can do it for you. Ah … bliss. No responsibility for understanding myself or the world, let alone other people. Nope. I can’t let go of my self like that.

Long tirade. Sorry. Yet, despite the uneven tenor of the words, I am quite pleased with life right now. Oh, I am confronting decisions, realities, challenges that sometimes overwhelm me. I can’t see a clear path anywhere to the future I envision so clearly. I get despondent at times.

But a new element has entered my life. Not new – a returning of something that never actually left. Just lay quietly out of conscious thought most of the time, with occasional resurgences. Now it is active again. And it is a catalyst in my writing, my thoughts, my self, my life.

It brings uncertainty, eagerness, mental and physical reawakening. I have been inert for so long. I was waking up – have been waking myself up. But now – a flame has been ignited, and I know I am alive again.

I like being alive.

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