Yesterday, after much bashing the primary theist religions, I promised to write about my "religion". I probably should have thought about what I was going to say before sitting at the keyboard, but, anyway, here comes the stream of consciousness...
Of course, listening to the Grateful Dead, August 24th, 1980 to be exact. And got myself a can of Miller beer on this Friday morning. I think Red said it best in Shawshank Redemption:
We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy - he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.
Just something about a cold beer on a hot day. For those who think it's silly, I'll add something a bit more "upscale" to increase the snob factor:
Carl Sandburg - Happiness
I asked the professors
who teach the meaning of life to tell me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives
who boss the work of thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile
as though I was trying to fool with them.
And then one Sunday afternoon
I wandered out along the Desplaines river.
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees
with their women and children
and a keg of beer and an accordion.
Probably singing the "Hokey Pokey" (-:
So, what does this have to do with religion? Only everything. Religion is a warm friendly conversation.
But what about "church"? I think Jesus best summed up prayer:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your god, who is unseen. Then your god, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the nations, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your god knows what you need before you ask him.
Here in lies the catch. Just what is God, or are there many gods? I don't know. I feel I should care, because if there is a god or gods, getting things right should be of utmost importance, I'd think.
So, let's have a little background... A new religion has been started. It's me and just a couple of friends. We call our religion "Faith". We have a "prophet", her name is Ann. She didn't volunteer, I just told her that she was "the prophet". She has a good sense of humor about it. That's important. She hasn't quite decided on this god part yet. That's not so important, which completely contradicts the previous paragraph, so as to set up my babblings. Let me explain...
What do we know? We have history, we all have a conscience, we have people who study ethics, and we have role models. From this we can form a pretty good moral foundation. We don't need a god to lay down eternal guidelines.
Religion in the past was often used to explain the natural world. Now we have scientific methods, models of thought, and philosophical discourse. Quite simply, if I cut myself, I'm going to the hospital to get stitches, and so would you. If I want to know about a flower, I'm going to read a book, or talk to a person, or maybe just meditate on my own.
Here I've just covered many points of life, albeit rather indirectly, yet a god does not enter the picture. We have what we need.
Here is a "straw dog" -- people say God should make things clear to us just what is expected. Hey, things are pretty clear! Not perfect, but we're not perfect people. Why should god make a perfect religion for imperfect people. No. We have an imperfect religion for imperfect people.
I think God did a GREAT job. It's just all these people running around claiming to speak on Gods behalf who have confounded matters.
Here comes another "straw dog" -- life is just too organized to be a big mistake. These factors couldn't have happened by chance. Sound familiar? Great, you have just reduced god to a gamble, a chance, a probability. And guess what -- you lose, big time with a big fat exponentially large mental debt. If life is too organized to be an accident, the chances are even less that something even more complex exists by accident. shake head. I see probability a bit different from most. Common example is the lottery. What are your chances of winning? One in a million? I think that is the wrong way to look at things. Depending on the type of lottery, the chance may be 100% that someone will win, while others might be 1 in 10 or some such other small ratio. It's not if YOU will win, it's if SOMEONE will win. Life is here. We won, whoop dee doo. 100% certainty, cogito ergo sum, baby. (see Descarte). Life is here, God has shown it to us, I'd say. And we've got lots of information. Try reading a book or two if you think we have nothing. If that's too much, watch a movie. Too impatient, listen to a song. Then try thinking a thought. God abounds.
Answers that aren't important, we don't know. Some questions aren't worth asking in our lifetime... BUT if you have a brain, by all means, pursue. More importantly, please also do the hokey pokey and eat popcorn with a spoon. That, my friend, is life, that is god.
You will find god in my frequently mentioned comic books. May you go to the local comic book store, talk to the clerk, and have the person help you find something that may be of interest to you. Maybe make yourself a new friend during the course of your comic book purchasing trips. Ain't no need to make this stuff complicated.
I've scattered enough unintelligible words already. The above themes will be rehashed ad nauseum. I ain't so smart when it comes to expressing stuff. This is why Ann is the prophet (-: But in parting, I'd like to share what we have decided on.
1) Everyone is a member of our religion called "faith". Doesn't matter if you agree with the thoughts presented above. It's not a choice for you to make. Everyone is in, but everyone has different portions of the gross sum of knowledge, and on different waves of opinion. Wait. Let us take the assumption that there is a god or gods. How could we not belong to its or their religion? If we are in the domain of a god or gods, we are part of the religion. No joining, no quiting, no magic words or rituals. You are in. (I blame Sartre and that "condemned to freedom" thing he had going.) So, to repeat needlessly, you are part of our religion.
2) Now that you are part of our religion, welcome. Feel free to tell others. Maybe some day we'll discuss freedom. It'll twist your brain into knots. I think it's a hoot. If that's not what you dig, that's cool too. Me, I like to water ski, catch a live baseball or basketball game, flirt with girls, those are the things that put into place abstract words like religion and freedom.
3) There has to be a three. As a member of "Faith", you make up point number three.