Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Damn the crusaders, put down the sword

There are many diverse religions out there. Because we all need something to believe in, whether it’s a God or the sun or a fruit fly, or even that you don’t believe in anything. It’s why 6 major world religions cannot possibly suit us all. There is not one size fits all. Religion is not the only truth.

Truth is about what you feel, each of you individually. It’s what you know is true in your heart, not what you read about or are taught. Trying to convince people to believe something they don’t feel is not truth, it’s futility. At best it is sisyphean. At worst, it’s a bloodthirsty crusade. Billions have been slaughtered in religious wars, in wars in which enemies have forced 100% adherence to a faith even they had doubts about.

We all have doubts, it is the natural state of things. Ironically, some say doubt proves faith. But soldiers who are ordered to crusade for a doubt-filled faith are the most dangerous kind. Fighting to the death over something you don’t fully believe in is an ill-fated commission, a tragic scourge. An endless battle.
The sabre of blind faith rattles loudly and there is no satisfaction of its thirst for blood, for validation, or for company in its misery. Religious conversion at knifepoint yields a confused and fractious and fearful flock.

The crusaders tell you to believe. If you don’t quite believe it all, they tell you to believe harder. If you still don’t believe, they tell you to have faith, belief will come. My God, I still don’t get it, you say. We forgive you for being so stupid and graceless, we know you will come around eventually and we are praying for you and for your sake hope you finally get it before you die. Best of luck! Have faith! Our brains are screaming at the illogic of it all. This blind faith. The faith that never grants a reward in this life. The faith that never lets you touch or see or hear your God. The utterly unattainable, utterly unsatisfying quest. It does not make sense to the trinity or our hearts, brains and bodies. It’s why we can still argue about every single line of the bible to this day. It is just that: an argument. A prayer of a shot, lobbed from half court. A riddle that leaves us breathless and tormented and frayed at the edges and hostile to those around us. That leaves us racing around in that damn maze. That keeps us veiled.

As I look up at the stars above Fayetteville, I think how comforting it must have been for ancient people to look up and see the stars. You knew they were true, they were real. They were predictable. And they were bigger than all of us. We didn’t need an imagined religion. We had a perfect order in the universe, in the nature of things. “Religion” as we know it today just disordered what we knew. Created chaos. Created anger and pain and fear, while at the same time tantalizing us with abiding hope. The paradox.

I'm slicing through the dogma and the dictates and rescuing God from religion. He is greater than a book or a prayer or a creed or a commandment...he is you, and you are phenomenal.

1 comment:

  1. The last line speaks so clearly to me. Thank you for putting it into the written word. It comforts me just to read it.


God, to have these guys in a room together again....