5:33 p.m. - 2012-04-08
How many people go to church on Easter, even though they never go to church the rest of the year, because that's what they did when they were kids and that's what they've always done?
Or have a family barbecue with salsa music, or have a barbecue with a keg?
Matt and kids were in Maine and I did on Easter exactly what I did on Easter when I was a kid: Nothing.
My mom went to 12 years of Catholic school and that turned her off to organized religion forever; my dad comes from a strong episcopal tradition (his uncle was the archbishop of Los Angeles) and has never said a word about God or religion in my life, as far as I can recall.
Matt's parents are very religious Christian Fundamentalists, so they're pretty much the opposite of my parents. There's actually not one book in their house (that I've been able to find) that is not about a religious topic, other than five versions of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. They live, breath, eat and talk God. And they shower all of their grandchildren with books about Jesus, videos about Jesus, Godly wisdom and toys that say "Jesus Loves Me."
All of that is fine with me, and I'm actually glad they do it. I don't have any faith to offer my children; I've wavered between athiesm and agnosticism my entire life.
There have been times that I have wanted more than anything else on earth to believe, but I don't. It's like trying to believe in the Jolly Green Giant -- I just don't. I can want to believe in the Jolly Green Giant, say I believe in the Jolly Green Giant, pray to the Jolly Green Giant and live my life in accordance to the rules of the Jolly Green Giant, but I can tell you right now, I don't belive in the Jolly Green Giant and I don't think I am going to start believing any time soon.
Anyone who says that all you have to do to have a relationship with God is want to (and read the Bible of course) is full of shit.
I wonder if I don't believe because I was raised not to believe -- my parents never said God didn't exist (or did), but they made it pretty clear to me that only stupid people go to church, and the reason my family didn't go is that we weren't stupid.
Church-going was sort of like playing the lottery -- my mom always said that the lottery is for people who can't do math, and chuch-going was for people who can't think critically for themselves.
I stand outside and smoke and watch the rain and try to go through all the evidence I know of that there could be a God -- my children for example -- but none of it proves much of anything to me. People say that miracles happen, life is beautiful, our prayers were granted -- ergo there is a God. This makes no sense to me; the fact that a miracle happens only proves that miracles happen -- not that there's someone behind the miracles.
But there could be ... I want there to be a God because there are people I want to see in Heaven. I want to believe that all those dead babies in the cemetary down the road from my house are in a "better place." I want to believe that I'll never lose anyone forever, that it's just a matter of waiting until you can be together again. I want to be unconditionally loved and accepted, and have someone to love who won't one day throw my love back in my face.
"You could believe in God; try," I tell myself. But I don't. I guess what I believe is that we're just another bunch of cavemen worshipping the moon and sun, seeking hope and help and protection from inanimate objects and spirits. Someday 20th century religion will seems just as primitive and bizarre.
I can't snap myself out of thinking like that. I wish I could because it must be unimaginably comforting to have the tranquility and security that most religiou folks seem to have. Not believing is like being out in freezing rain with no shelter, while other people are happily reading and eating chocolate next to a roaring fire.
They see you through the window and call and wave you in ... they don't have to say it twice. You come; all you have to do is step over the threshold into the light and warmth and family and you're in forever -- but then when you try to step inside the house and the fire and teh family disappear and you're still standing in the sleet.
God is a mirage to me.