Happy Thor’s Day
People ask me now what I do on Sundays. Well I work when I am scheduled. When I have the day off and it’s football season I watch pregame and whatever game I am watching. I do homework or just relax. I find that I get more rest now than I ever did as a Pastor/Christian on the so-called day of rest.
There is of course a more serious thing to address here isn’t there? What has happened to me now that my faith in Christianity is gone? Well, I don’t go to church and I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about sin anymore. I don’t obsess with other people’s behavior. I pretty much actually follow the golden rule better than I ever have before. I leave people alone and expect them to do the same for me.
The bigger question for many of Christianity would probably be – in rejecting Christianity, have you rejected Christ? Well, that depends on whether you feel Jesus of Nazareth was just a historical figure or the Messiah. I am not sure and it’s because of the accounts of his life. I don’t reject Jesus as a historical figure or even as a revolutionary figure. I just think like Paul Bunyan and John Henry, some people have added some tall tales to his life. My point is that all the gospels are written by sympathetic believers and it is a reasonable criticism that they might have embellished the stories to prove what they wanted to prove, including the story of the resurrection.
Truth is, I like Jesus; I like his style. I know it may surprise people but I still read the Bible but not with the same eyes I used to read it with. I just think it contains truth with a small ‘t’ but I don’t think all of it is Truth with a capital T. Yes, I know someone once remarked that Jesus either is a liar, a lunatic or Lord. The problem I have with that observation is that Jesus might not be seen as a liar or lunatic if the disciples hadn’t probably added a bunch of stuff to make him seem so.
So what do I believe? I believe in some form of higher power. Whether that is a god, gods and goddesses or the Force I couldn’t tell. I don’t know enough to say and probably never will. Like I said before I think it is unreasonably to say on the one hand there is no God and on the other hand it’s also equally unreasonable to think you know for sure what the divine is and how he, she or they work. I just don’t buy either extreme based on a reasonable look at what humanity knows. I am learning it is far more relaxing to be comfortable with this ignorance. There is little I can do to change it, so I might as well live life as fully as I can.
Now, the one thing I will tell you is that if you are a Christian, I am not saying you are stupid or going to decry you for having faith in it. I mean I had that faith myself for decades and I consider myself a reasonable human being. Faith has that effect and so I get the struggle because I have struggled with it too. I am not going to decry you for it or even make fun of you. I get it. For me walking away was years of agonizing frustration of wrestling with something. I simply could not have faith in something that to me didn’t make sense anymore.
As a former and now retired pastor, I can say I miss some elements of religion but not many. I miss the fellowship of being with people. I like gospel music for the vocal harmony of it. I was never a fan of the pageantry and the rituals. I did like putting together service that I hoped would inspire people. I did enjoy preaching. The Pagan Pulpit every week will do the same for me, so I guess I am still good with it.
Putting aside the religion and the nonsense, I actually have been able to focus not so much on ‘avoiding sin’ and living with less sin; but rather, I have been able to focus on what I want to build in my life. While I can agree with some that religion has done some great things, I also can see that it can also be used to justify some of the most evil acts in history. It has also allowed those who believe a particular religion to look down their noses and think they are superior to others who are not of their faith. Worse yet is trying to order society so that others are forced to follow their religion’s ethics even though they might disagree.
If there is a god, gods or whatever, I think the theology of special revelation is the last place we want to look to discover what that divine power(s) is like. Mostly this is because any revelation of the divine, if it actually happened, has to pass through the filter of human beings. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are good as a race. People tend to look at humanity as evil but the vast majority of humans are just trying to make a life for themselves. I think if a person goes bad, it’s just that – they went bad. They didn’t start that way.
No, it is not our lack of goodness that make special revelation problematic, it’s the fact we are prone to mistakes and such revelation has to be preserved over the centuries and like a game of telephone, the story gets edited and changed over time until the story we have is no longer what actually happened. Too much humanity gets to play with special revelation and through ignorance, good intentions and yes the occasional person who uses religion to control, changes are made and the original revelation is lost. Assuming, it wasn’t completely made up in the first place.
Yes, I do meditate. But meditation is not exclusively Christian nor is it exclusively religious or a matter of faith. I am not looking for any personal special revelation when I do it and a lot of other people don’t do it for that reason either. Meditation is simply the act of clearing the mind and calming the emotions. It allows you to think much clearer and so it is what I do a lot to calm myself down and think.
What I don’t do is pray anymore. I mean looking at it you see so many people using prayer to ask for stuff. They ask for wealth, fame and love for themselves. It is very rare for people who pray to be truly selfless in their prayers. If I ever do pray again, it will be like Esmeralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I remain the happy outcast,
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.