Monday, July 28, 2008

Regarding Religion

I spoke on the phone with my mom today, and the topic of religion came up. Having been very active in the church when I was a teenager, she hasn't really gotten how I could have lost faith somewhere along the line. She's not a jesus freak by any means, she's at most spiritual with a slant towards christianity. Still, she can't get how I can "not believe" since she feels that that must make the world a terrible place to live in, if you don't believe someone or something is watching over you.

Having given this a lot of thought, I had a reply ready for her, and I mean to share that reply with you, now:

Religion is a crutch for many. It's something to lean on, take comfort in, when you're feeling sad or scared or alone. To many, it seems to be a comforting thought that although they're going through a lot of pain right now, it's not for naught; there's a meaning behind it. And everything's going to be OK, because God watches over you.

Before I return to what my own view of that particular stance is, I want to make something else abundantly clear: I can't believe for a second that any of the religions I've heard of (which includes quite a few) can be anything but completely man-made. I am also completely sick of evangelicals referencing parts of the old testament (but conveniently ignoring others). They think the 10 commandments should be mandatory in US courtrooms and schools, and happily reference that God certainly don't want gays to marry. They're not quite as keen to quote passages about stoning people left and right. Or any of the other very numerous atrocities listed in the old testament.

Having said that, I want to return to the crutch of religion: It doesn't apply to me. The idea that I should take comfort in God at times when everything goes to hell in life is so foreign that while my mom can't understand how I manage without it, I can't fathom how she manages with it.

Look.

If while riding my bike tomorrow I get run over by a car and become an invalid who will spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair and have Lori change my diapers, I can tell you right now that the idea that "it's all a part of god's plan" would be the complete opposite of a comfort. If Lori falls ill with some vicious disease, I can guarantee you that it would make me feel worse, not better, to think that the Lord is watching over us. And there are two reasons why:

I take solace in randomness of things. Because randomness, unlike a divine being, does not play favorites. Randomness isn't prejudiced or bigoted or mean. If something random happens, like me falling down the stairs and breaking my arm, then I don't have to wonder if there's some divine purpose behind it. If very many bad things happen to me, I don't have to wonder if I'm cursed. Imagine how painful that must be! Not only believing in a supreme Maker, but actually fear, when everything else in life is already kicking you in the nuts, that you may have fallen out of grace with God? No, this is not comfort.

The second reason I wouldn't feel better about God watching over me is because I'm not comfortable letting go of the reigns of my own life. If bad things might happen to me, I'd much rather be at the rudder myself. I want to take responsibility for my own actions, and I gladly accept that random bad things - that I could have done nothing about - may happen to me. But if I work really hard towards something and have it snatched away at the last minute, I do not want to have to wonder what I had done to "deserve it."

Religion obviously works as a comfort for millions - billions, they say, although I doubt their way of measuring it - of people, but it's simply not for me. When the shit hits the fan, I'd much much rather think that it was nothing but a bit of bad luck, the great variance of life, than to think that my life has to be shit for some grander purpose in which I have no say.

1 comment:

Crippa said...

Well put.

And a very nice blog, sir.