My thoughts on religion.
| Usually, I keep my opinions on issues that have the potential to be explosive to myself (possibly due to a childhood spent creating awkward silences in Sunday School, in which the only aspect that I found remotely interesting was discussion of Dante’s The Inferno), but it has recently come to my attention that the movie adaptation of one of my favorite novels, The Golden Compass, has received speculation by the Catholic Church. After removing any references to atheism, and practically hollowing out the essence of Daniel Craig’s character in the process, now the Catholic argument becomes that the movie is meant to entice parent to buy the books for their children, which will in turn spawn a generation of atheism, which will damn their children to hell. Because God hates these books. And if parents want to worship a God that would do such a thing, I need to ask if they are suitable parents. Because they aren't really worshiping. Is it even possible to get on your knees and really love someone who will deny paradise to someone you love and believe to be a good and honest person, just because they didn't choose to worship him? If that's the God I've been believing in for all of my life, the "just and good" God I worshiped every Sunday for the past 16 years, then maybe I'm in the wrong Church.
My parents (bless them) never avoided subjects when I was a child. If I asked them where babies came from, my dad would look at me and say, “Sex”. None of this “sexual intercourse” crap I have to look at in “Health and Human Development”(Sex Ed) class each Monday and Thursday in my high school. And yet, I went to church each Sunday, went to confession, and held good faith. It didn’t matter if I believed in the “Big Bang” theory, because I think God caused it. My faith never wavered, not even from the “corrupting influence” of known atheist/agnostic Phillip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials. It is laughable, then, that the reason I am now considering becoming agnostic is because, apparently, my beliefs don’t match up with the extremists’, and this religion doesn’t view God the way it claims it does. I think God is forgiving, understanding, and all that. I always thought killing a man in self-defense, or in the defense of others was okay. Provided you felt bad about it. Basically, what I’m getting at is, I always thought God would judge you based not on how you lived your life, but on how you wanted to live it. By no means is this critique intended to push on you my own beliefs, because at my core, I only believe in living my life the way I want to. I was confirmed under the name of St. Thomas, and no one cared. Sure, he doubted God, but he was an apostle, so he’s always holy or something. No one cared. But someone writes an intellectually stimulating saga about two children exploring worlds unfamiliar to them, one of whom has an atheist, philosopher father who wants to kill “God”, and everyone takes it at face value.
As a Catholic myself, I have to look on my fellows and ask.
“What the hell are you going on about?”
I read the books all the way through (thrice, actually…) and found them intellectually stimulating. And yes, in arguments, I tend to have atheistic views on certain issues, but does questioning the elements of something turn me to hell? I disagree, because if that is the case, I’d want to “kill God” too. Well, that might be a rash statement, but I’m going to leave it in this piece. Those books made me the person I am today, which I am proud of, and if you want to call me a heretic, go right ahead. Frankly, I don’t like hanging out with ignorant people.
Religion has always, always been a touchy subject. My brother hates the topic. He is, by the way, an atheist, and I get along with him fine. We’re practically best friends. Then, I have a kid I hate at school that is “Pastafarian”. Basically, he’s an atheist who decides he want to ridicule anyone who keeps to anything resembling a faith. I cannot elaborate further, for personal rage kicks up at this subject which I do not want to include in this query, if you are curious as to the elements of this religion, by all means, look it up on Wikipedia or something. For you see, if I were an Atheist, looking at this kid, I would feel the same way about him as I do about these protestors. It’s not a particular religion I hate, it those who decide to take it too far. I still believe in God, I still believe that I should not steal, adultery or any of that. I believe Jesus had a good idea. Now, we go into spiritual aspects, where all kinds of sects break off. The problem is that everyone is trying to convert everyone to the “true” path. Here’s what I say.
For all we know, all we really know, God is a lobster.
I can’t claim that “my” path is right, and I can’t prove the other path’s wrong. I can’t look at those protestors and say, “shut up and go home” because for all I really know, I really will go to hell because I don’t conform to their beliefs. I don't have any control over that, and the chances of blindly guessing which religion is "right", if any one really is right, are astronomical. I have no control over that. I do have control over how I spend my time while alive.
Now here’s the difference. I go to Church, not as a sign of my exclusive submission to the teachings of my faith, but as a way to furthor understand the world and improve the manner in which I spend my time here.
Faith in my decisions, belief that I'm doing the best I can possibly do each day.
I live my life the way I feel I should. I try to be a good guy, I try to keep the peace, but it is not because I have different beliefs than these people at church that I look down on them. No, it is because they are trying to tell me how to live my life.
And you know what they're protesting, and prohibiting their children to read a work of art? Exactly what the "Magisterium" (whose similarities to the Church cause this uproar) does in Pullman’s novels. Censor ideas, kill the intelligent settled person the child might become. Now, you go back and think about how many children in the world ask their parents to go see a movie only to recieve a heated rant about how they are never to read the book the movie was based on, or even see the film altogether.
What would you call that?
There is so much in this world that you, that I, that anyone who reads this does not know. Maybe there is a religion out there that I can throw myself behind, full force, and believe in, and maybe I'm a lone worshipper of this field of thinking, but at least I'll know I lived my life the way I wanted to, and left behind an image that people will remember as the real me. And in the end, isn't that all that really matters? So please, don't censor someone because they don't agree with you. Go out and buy books on religions you don't follow, and present them to your kids. When they mature, they can decide for themselves, and whatever religion they choose, they'll be more involved and faithful than they would ever have been had you forced it upon them. Who knows who God is? Who knows if he really had a Son? Who knows if he is a lobster? But I know one thing.
I believe he exists.