You know, I was just reading a Christopher Moore book (always an enjoyable pastime), when I came across a a few phrases describing a girl named Calliope -
"...Calliope was able to define everything in her world, accept the highs and lows of life with resolve, and never be burdened by the need to understand. Why understand when you can believe? For Calliope, every event was mystical and every moment magical..."
And it hit me - that's what bothers me about the way most people use religion. It's an excuse to not think.
I sent out an email at New Year's concerning all the changes that I'd faced over 2004. And I got a reply back from one girl, worried about the state of my soul because I hadn't given God credit. Well, if you believe God is the divine author of all events, then I don't need to mention Him, do I? And if you don't, then nothing I say is going to change your mind. But most of all, I can't imagine the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the entire universe sitting at His throne, worrying about the content of one of my emails.
Everybody around New Orleans seems to be totally into Astrology. And no matter what you do, they blame it on your sign. If I'm either happy or sad, it's because I'm a Gemini. People ask me for advice on what Geminis think, as if one in twelve people will react to all events the same, because of the tilt of the earth on the day I was born. (In fact, due to changes in the calendar, all astrological signs are about a month off... But that's another story). I've heard one person talking about manifesting a parking space for themself, by using good karma, or something like that.
I'm on a quest to understand everything. As a result, I tend to believe nothing - unless it can be proven, or the evidence very convincing and thorough. I use religion as a basis for my understanding of things spiritual, and am more philosophical about it than anything else. I can quote Scripture with the best of them, and consider myself a Christian, but I find that I have very little in common with most people who call themselves Christian.
And I find it sad that people have so little faith in their professed beliefs that they can't handle either being questioned, or entertaining the possibility that they might be wrong. The "Religious Right" is STILL fighting a battle to prove evolution wrong, when it's a moot point for virtually any scientist, or even open-minded rationalist - and has been, for decades!
I find it sad when people must place every event into a category of "Good vs. Evil." I'm sorry, but if I'm a good person, it may change a lot of things, but it won't prevent a flat tire. And if I get one, it's not Satan testing me. I remember being on a Youth Trip with a charismatic church about ten years ago. One of the cars broke down, so the elders of the church tried to cast the demon out of the carburetor. Ten guesses on whether it worked? And when it didn't, it was obviously because of the lack of faith amongst the youth.
Religion can be a great tool for understanding things spiritual. But when applied to things physical, it quickly becomes little more than a joke. But people are so determined to not have to think, to not use their intellect, to not strive for understanding of the physical world... And religion quickly goes from being a source of freedom and truth, to a set of shackles, preventing them from truly understanding the world we live in. And I find that sad. Very, very sad.
Okay, getting off my soapbox, now. Talk to you all later,