Monday, April 18, 2005

Some Dissonance is to be Expected

I am not a religious person by any stretch. To even call myself "spiritual" may be an affront to those who actually are. I'm not even on the fence, really. That would require me to ponder it more than I do.

But there are certain situations where I return to the idea of some sort of god. A shared spirituality. Free-floating souls. An afterworld of some sort. Anything, really.

Death is the most common cause for me to re-raise the question. Not my own, because that would be beyond my feelings. But the death of those around me is a much more difficult to reconcile. Outside of the fortified walls of organized religion, there aren't many comforts afforded in the case of death. Whatever it was, simply ends. Naturally, we as curious and emotional creatures take serious issue with this.

I don't know about you, but when I have an issue, I like to write pointless letters to complain about it. I don't know why. It helps me cope, I guess. So here goes.

Open Letter to Christian God (based on assumption of existence).

I am writing you this letter, and you specifically, because I am not well versed in any other varieties of deity-by-human-construct. I don’t know how to refer to any of the Eastern Philosophy gods, Wiccan deities, or anything the American Indians may have worshipped. My stepping in Religious education ended when I discovered that I could simply stop listening to boring, poorly offered, and wholly unsubstantiated bull shit. Hey, it's your design buddy, from what I can gather, so there’s no point in getting huffy about it. Feel free to blame yourself, for me and my ways. Since I’m agreeing to temporarily suspend my disbelief in you, I am certainly excited for the opportunity to genuinely blame someone (something, whatever) else for my transgressions. It’s all very new to me, and it is all rather badass.

I doubt it will last though. I tend to get bored quick. Moving on.

We’ve never met. So let me begin this by saying that I never really believed in you. I’m sure you feel the same.


Let me also say that I, just like the vast majority of mankind, have a strong tendency to ‘admit’ to ‘believing’ in lots of complete horse shit like:

The positive movie reviews for Tomb Raider.
“There’s nothing really wrong with Nutrasweet.”
Size doesn't really matter.
My distaste for mayo is only in my head.
Whisky makes me attractive and fun to be around.
Michael Jackson is of the same species as his victims.

Of course, all of these things have been either proven completely false, or remain deeply suspect. Your existence comes right after the MJ crack. That’s right, asshole. I’m keeping a strict eye out, so mind your p’s and q’s.

And just in case you take issue with me calling you an asshole, well please allow me to explain (because really, that's the whole point of this letter, asshole).

Based on my own personal experiences in life, I do not believe in your existence whatsoever. But for the sake of argument, and for the sake of this open letter, I am assuming you exist. In some form or another.

Having an open mind about this assumption, I have three basic god-type personalities as probable candidates for whatever the hell you actually are. I realize that the potential manifestations of your personality are limitless, but I believe these descriptions capture the vast majority of specifics. Here are the personality types, in short:

1. The average neo-Christian-esque religious interpretation
2. The non-judgmental creator who stands back and watches with curiosity
3. The vacant creator who forgot the human project altogether

Religious variety

Sweet Jesus, where to begin with this train wreck. Basically, if you are, indeed, a god by the general description, then you need some serious help. Makes no difference which Christian-based religion you come from. They all seem to focus on the wonderful play between open-armed benevolence, and the all-consuming fury of negative judgment. Standard carrot/stick deal. Some religions subscribe a little more Yin over Yang, but they all tip it on the same scales. Six, one-half dozen, or the other. Your doubled-over and blatantly hypocritical demands that your vanity be propped up by us little (and apparently worthless, yet ultimately valuable) human soul-baskets, is just plain masturbatory. If you are, indeed, an all-powerful entity which nods and guides every little possibility in the universe, demanding that the entire human race bow down at your feet and constantly thank you for delivering us the possibility to burn in eternal hell… well that’s just stupid. You need to get beyond the need for us knuckleheads to give you praise. You’re already top dog. You win. Why do you give two shits about whether or not I fucking admit it publicly? Get over it already, for fuck’s sake. If those who follow scripture, and believe that god is some kind of all supreme thing, looking down and judging me based on my acceptance of his superiority… if those people prove to be right about you? Well then. A spade’s a spade, and you are an asshole.

Non-Judgmental Creator

You are, by your own actions, an asshole. Why? Because you created this whole mess for your own entertainment. That’s why.

Call it whatever you want. Call it an experiment. A big ol’ ant farm. Call it a collection, a project, a work of art, a race to implosion, whatever. We’re all here wondering what the fucking point is, and making up all these grandiose reasons for our own existence. And there you are, just hanging back, knowing that it all amounts to absolutely nothing, watching us squirm. Either that, or you have no clue what the hell we are, because we are an accident of some sort. In which case, you wouldn’t understand the words in this letter, so I can call you whatever the fuck I want, you illiterate, supreme fuck-nut.

And if we are entertainment or an experiment, then just consider me calling you an asshole to be either: a) part of the show, or b) part of the results in your testing. Asshole.

Negligent Creator

Hey, asshole, over here! You fucking forgot about us you prick! We aren’t equipped with much beyond a penchant for self-destruction. You left us here to fend for ourselves, and I have my doubts about our abilities to do so with any level of success. If we are to overcome this whole ‘extinction’ thing, which no species appears immune to, then we’ll need some help. We aren’t a turn-key kinda group. We’re pretty god-damned high-maintenance over here.

Pun intended.

Or maybe I’m just saying that because I don’t believe in you, and it is easier for me to thumb my nose at figments than it is to honestly reconcile the finality of it all. Much easier than accepting that many of the people I love the most will forever leave me, while the remainder will be completely abandoned by me. ‘Asshole’ is the first word that comes to mind here, because it makes me feel better about the whole thing. It helps to balance out how powerless I feel otherwise. It gives me the gumption to continue building real relationships with loved ones who I know I will eventually lose entirely. It cuts the darkness of it all. It gives me something to hold on to. It almost makes me smile.




Wow Craig

What does a believer say to a nonB? I guess that it helps, to believe that when people have left the building that they have some place good to go, that they just don't turn it to dust - it gives living a better spin. It makes you feel good to know that this could be true and that someone you lost isn't so far away, just around the know?

well good food for thought

Truecraig said...

I can see that Misty. I can see how it could possibly aide with coping. I'm not the 'blind faith' variety though. I find no comfort in "know[ing] that this could be true." I'm more into proof. Something solid, and real, for me to hang my hat on.

But I respect every one else's right to make or shake that kind of faith. Different strokes for different folks.

Sean said...

A boy kneels before his bunk bed, wearing his GI Joe pajamas. Mom stands, gracing the dimly lit doorway, waiting to hear which prayer he's going to say tonight. He only says four or five different prayers. He recites the one about his grades with an addendum regarding his upcoming soccer game.

She tucks him in and turns out the light. She closes the door so quietly he has to sneak a peek to see if she's still there, taking one last look at her little man before she goes to bed. They do this every night.

Tonight though, he gets back out of bed after he's sure she's gone. He paces briefly, then looks out to the night sky from between his empire strikes back curtains. He bows his head through the window's sihlouette, into the only ray of light allowed into the otherwise complete void now filling his room.

The moon is waning.

He clears his throat.

He then says what Craig wrote here, word for word.

dungsta said...

Dude ya'll are some lucky mutha fockers. Seriously, i mean you even had star wars curtains!!! i had a broken model of the human brain and an erector set that my cat pissed all over. i had one pair of incredible hulk underoos that i painfully wore too long. i asked for han solo's gun and got an a-wing fighter. i asked for a light saber and got an intelivision. Then again i never had to fake "believing". im so spoilt.

Zander said...

Damn, I could have written that myself. Well, except I didn't. And probably never would have. But you know what I mean.

Truecraig said...

My brother - That is great prose. Our mother never required us to pray, except at dinner (rub-a-dub-dub is what we always picked, for its brevity, our sister always picked a long-assed one). I do like how you point out that on the surface, many put their faithful faces on. But when alone, the doubt blizzards its way in, and the honesty comes out.

Dungmeister - my cousin had an intellivision. It was doooooope. I only played it twice though. We had Atari, and loved it more than life itself.

Zander - I think I know what you mean. Many of my opinions aren't popular, but I feel the need to express them anyhow. I was a bit worried that this would be viewed as a 'flame' post of sorts, when it was not meant to be that way. I am glad that it has been taken seriously so far.

Sean said...

When I raised my fist to God,
he mistook me for a lightning rod

Girl With An Alibi said...

One of the most liberating things I've learned is how to get pissed off at God. It opens up a whole new world...just really really slowly. Funny thing is God can take it, and He's not as ego-sensative about it as traditional theology would have you think. I wrote a similar letter about 8 years ago. More along the lines of demanding straight non cryptic answers to the bullshit in my life by 9 am sharp Monday morning. Unfortunately I did not specify which Monday so I am still waiting. Which makes it kind of like being in a college class with a really smart professor who's also your dad and refuses to cut you any slack whatsoever. You can't drop out, you're too proud to fail, and the subject matter is fascinating and totally inscrutable at the same time. How can you help but be pissed off? Keep raging until you get some solid answers.

Debbie said...

I wonder if the things growing in my fridge feel me.

Dungsta, I LOVED my erector set! I'd have played with it even if it did smell like cat piss. In fact, I - more than once - pulled pieces out of the toilet.

Nu barbie for this girl. Hand me an erector set and a big wheel!

Truecraig said...

I wonder if the things growing in my fridge ever refer to me as 'asshole'. If I were growing in my fridge, I would have written an open letter to me.

And I would right to do so, because it would be true.

I broke our family toilet when I was a kid because I flushed a G.I. Joe backpack. I had finished pissing (on the wall, the back of the toilet, the side of the bath tub, and a goodly amount actually landed inside the bowl). When I lifted my G.I. Joe-clutched paw to flush the thing, my pinky knocked the backpack off, and it fell down into the toilet. I didn't want to touch my own piss (even though it was probably all over my hand anyway, as little boys are dirty that way), so I figured I'd flush all that nastiness away and snatch the little plastic piece once a fresh bowl arrived. Nothing went according to plan.

My dad invented some new cuss words for me that afternoon. Because I was all like, smart and stuff.

firedancerdancin said...

how appropriate this post was for me, in my current state of raising a big middle finger to whatever dude or dudette is looking down, pointing and laughing at me.

fuck you "god". thanks so much for "testing" me. love it. bring it on. I'm a tough bitch.

okay. i'm quit it now.

anyways...word. thanks again for saying all the stuff in my head that i'm just too damn lazy or inept to write.

Anonymous said...

If there is a so-called "GOD-ALMIGHTY", he could suck my left nut and make the right one jealous.

This BLOG was a good one!
brother nick

Truecraig said...

Mel… I know you’re pouring over some tough times right now. I wrote this post before I found out what was going on with you and yours. It is rather strange, such a coincidence, but there appears to be something in the air right now. I’m starting to wonder, myself. Regardless, I sincerely hope things brighten up in your part of the city.

There you go Nick, with all that high-falutin’ talk about your testicles. Why must you always speak in riddles?