Thursday, December 10, 2009

FINALLY Coming out of the closet

No no no not that closet. Not to worry honey. I still like you and boobs.

I just watched Julia Sweeney's "LETTING GO OF GOD". Expecting stand-up comedy, this was more of a one-woman theatrical work. Perhaps even more of a philosophy lecture. I rarely talk about it, but this video, currently running on Showtime, really summed up way to many thoughts of my own far better than I could ever say.

The show's focus is Julia's conversion from Catholic to Atheist. She talked about how what was once a conversation with God, became a question of existence. She discussed years of research looking for God, from bible study to science class to submersion in nature, that only lead her away to conclusions opposite from her original hypothesis.

Now I am not yet ready to say I am an Atheist. But I have had many serious discussions with myself. For a long time I said the cliche "I believe God Created Man and Man created religion" But after a while it sounded cliche. As Julia Sweeney talks, she says she discovered science and free thought late in life. I discovered it early but guilt kept me from jumping to conclusions. I would think "So God, are you or are you not really up there?" Growing up a good Catholic going to CCD, getting Baptised and Confirmed, getting married in the church, singing in church for a living, i heard a lot more pitches for God than against. And most of the Anti-God crowd were more arrogant, drugged, hippied etc Not folks I respected as intellectual or sources of useful thought or information.

BUT I left "religion" behind - meaning "MAN's" interpretation, worship and use of God to justify selfish or unreasonable and irresponsible or sometimes even violent behavior- when I was 13ish. My home Church was attacked by fanatics. Let me tell you fanatic Catholics is a fearsome bunch. A middle school age girl with Leukemia was allowed to pass because "It was her time". This is not typical Catholic I know. Not even typical protestant etc. But it was the beginning of the end for me. There were a lot of other details that I am not 100% sure of as true or not, but the important thing, that is when I began to second guess it all. Problem was, I loved the spiritual teachings, but disagreed way too much with the practice and practical application of religion. Especially as there were so many interpretations. And for every interpretation, there were fanatics claiming their way or the high way.

In high school I slowly drifted away further. As late as Junior year I was still going to teen nights at church but I think this was because we did have some cute girls there. I thought the two adult males leading teen nights were creepy and the nun running the CCD program evil and spiteful... in other words - Old Skool Catholic.

In college, while performing Harold Hill in Music Man, a good friend of ours said she was getting awards for memorizing the bible. Further she was learning proofs for God. Now this really shook my ideas of science and philosophy. A "proof" as learned in geometry and continued in applied sciences, is taking the unknown and using known principles to directly OR indirectly prove something. As actors/musicians go, I was a very good math/science guy. On the other hand, religion is mostly based on "Faith". How could one use science to prove a concept based on "Faith"? I have long forgotten the examples, but I gave new meaning to "Devil's Advocate" as i argued all she did was prove Gravity etc. Something about a Frisbee rising and falling I think it was. Now she was a very nice person and meant nothing but the best. But this was what closed the final religious chapter in my life.

Over the past 20 years since the only time I have been to church has been to Weddings, Funerals and when paid to lead or sing with the choir. Every time i feel at home - I hear soothing words and spiritual thoughts. But never enough to lure me back full time. I can't really remember the last time I went to church for myself. I went a few times for my wife.

So where do I stand now.

The funny thing I feel sorry for those that never knew religion. I learned a lot from it. I still have not denounced God. Not 100%. Watching Julia's piece I feel better that if I ever do, there will be life after. I still believe that there is or at least could be something out there watching over us. I still let my private thoughts become conversations with God. I feel, that if I am wrong, and there is a God, he will be forgiving that I am not second guessing his existence because I desire to sin - murder, rape, steal, covet etc. I still feel Godly guilt every time my mind wonders of these extremes. But it is because of those trying to shove God down our throats that convince me, if these are the new prophets, God is not the choice for me. Extremists and Evangelicals equally turn me off to THEIR idea of God. For decades now, i lived selfishly thinking my private relationship with and interpretation of God was enlightened. NOW?.... I don't know. Not ready nor do I ever want to preach my thoughts as a way to convince others i am right or to think like me. There are enough assholes in this world doing that.

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