April 2, 2003

Is there anybody out there?

I wish I had religion to comfort me. Religious people are much more at peace than the rest of us. I'm using the term religious loosely. I don't mean religious people who are off the deep end like born-again Christians or Jehovah Witnesses. I just mean your average Joe that attends church on Sunday, doesn't question his beliefs, and is sure there is an afterlife.

I was forced to attend mass on Sunday as a child. My father never went to church, yet he was the one forcing us. In his mind, if we went to church it gave him a better chance of getting into heaven. I remember him coming to my First Holy Communion, a sacrament practiced by Catholics. For me, it meant I got to wear a white dress and veil and pretend I was an 8-year-old bride. I remember my dad and his brothers sitting in the back of the church with their racing forms discussing loudly who to bet at the racetrack that day.

I didn't start questioning the existence of heaven and hell until I got older. I did, however, question the idea of sinning when I was about 13. I was really into boys by that time and my mind was filled with sin. I figured I might get punished by God, but I didn't give a shit--I was having fun. One thing I do remember is the prayers and the Rosary. When you're raised Catholic, it becomes second nature to pray. You say the Rosary whether someone is dying or you wanted a new pair of jeans. I always said I believed in God when asked, but did have a problem with the whole Jesus walking on water thing.

It was my first philosophy class in college that really screwed me up. I remember analyzing the theory that "God was all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all good." We analyzed how a God that was all those things could watch children suffer. That's when I really started wondering about the existence of God at all. Which changed me as a person.

It's comforting when you have God to fall back on. When you lose that faith, you're stuck with the reality that this is it. This philosophy professor made a real impression on me as we sat in class taking apart Pink Floyd songs. He believed that Pink Floyd were modern day philosophers. "Long you live and high you fly, and smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry, and all you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be." The realization that this is probably it. That we only go around once. I want to believe in something more, but I've lost faith. Like Woody Allen says, "If there is a God up there, give me a sign, cough or something."


Posted at April 2, 2003 3:39 PM

Comments

I'm a little bit confused about what your distinction is between "born-again Christians" and people who attend church every Sunday. To you, what is the difference? I was just wondering. :)


Posted by: Jess at April 2, 2003 5:19 PM

Jess- i meet people every day who have a relaxed attitude about death. "I'm ready when the good Lord takes me," they say. Or, "It was meant to be" or "Let Go, Let God." They don't push their religion on you but have a certain peace about them. A belief in a higher power. My sister-in-law is a practicing Catholic who believes she'll go to heaven when she dies. The born-again Christians I've met shove their belief in Jesus down your throat-believe if you don't accept Christ as your personal savior, you're goiing to hell, and if you're gay, well, you're going to burn. The difference is the extremist point of view.


Posted by: toni at April 2, 2003 6:34 PM

Thank you Toni. I asked because I consider myself a born-again Christian, but I would never shove anything down someone's throat. It's just not fair. I'd rather live it than tell it, I guess, and I don't have a problem with other groups of people. I'm always curious to know how others see the Christian faith, because I seem to be very different than most Christians, or something. Thanks for explaining.


Posted by: Jess at April 2, 2003 6:41 PM

Yeah, that's one of the biggest roles of religion. Comfort. I loved your Woody Allen quote also. He's so 'to the point'.


Posted by: Adam at April 2, 2003 7:38 PM

i was about to ask the exact same question as jess. i consider myself a radical born-again christian and try go to church every sunday. but i don't force it. i'm eager to talk about my beliefs with people if the oppurtunity arrives, but i never force it. i too hate those street corner fire and brimstone screamers.


Posted by: dd at April 3, 2003 9:14 AM

I'm very much with you in the feelings about the Christians who find comfort and this sense of security in their faith. My husband and I have often wished things could be so simple. Writing things off with "well, it's all god's plan", or my favorite, "god works in mysterious ways". It's fascinating, but fails to address so many contradictions, so it just won't work for me.

I was a born-again Christian for many years so I certainly know the thought processes involved. There's comfort, but also a requirement to overlook the contradictions and big questions and I just got to the point where I couldn't do it anymore and the quest for answers just blew the lid off the whole thing.

Oddly enough, sometimes the simple thought that I'm just a bunch of matter is rather comforting.

Ever seen the movie "Mindwalk"?


Posted by: Heather at April 3, 2003 1:14 PM

god is dead and shall forever be.


Posted by: catherine at April 3, 2003 2:47 PM

Heather. Never saw it, but it looks great from what I read. I'll have to rent it. Thanks.


Posted by: toni at April 3, 2003 9:36 PM

Religion and Empires naturally go together. The fall of the Roman Empire and the birth of the Catholic church coincide -- one empire begat another. Those who do not see organized religion as a powerful form of governance are blinded by their faith. This can be good -- faith is really what's important, not the organization -- though some take comfort in congregation and one another. In fact, organized religion, war, violence, greed, and the use of God's name are eternally interlinked. Takes a wise person to snap oneself from this bondage, and turn to faith for soulful sustinence. love you, Toni ...dee dee


Posted by: dee dee at April 4, 2003 7:57 AM

i wish i had religion to comfort me, too. philosophy has completely removed any inclinations i had toward christianity, and generally fucked with my mind. so naturally i've drawn to the dark side and become a philosophy minor. i'm with ya, toni.


Posted by: kathy j at April 4, 2003 8:09 PM

It happens to all of us Kathy. One philosophy class and you're throwing all the religious stuff out the window! Check this out (forget the guy in the middle!) http://www.transy.edu/homepages/philosophy/Reason2.html


Posted by: toni at April 6, 2003 3:27 PM

woody allen - go figure ;p


Posted by: kathy j at April 7, 2003 12:39 AM

hey I am not regligous at all and I am born again so tell why must you be regligous I you don't you should be in a realtionship with more than regligous? Do you what regligous beliefs are of they of the devil becuase he wants you to think that way so you will loose you think that you will go to heaven being regligous no thats not true not at all thats mans way of thinking if you think that way your are lost so acceppt with a open heart anybody who asks will if it is from the heart and be sincre trust that God will provide even at the worst we all need help from time to time watch what church you go ask are they born again test the spirit see if it is good or evil then you will know but let jesus choose the church for understand we need a root you branch I am the vine and the root that means the church cause you are the church god bless praise jesus for everything?


Posted by: mike tryban at January 21, 2004 3:05 PM

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