I think my parents must think I’m a heretic. They’re divorced, but people of great religious faith. Both are Christians, able to quote the Bible at the drop of a yarmulke. I think I had doubts en utero.
I was raised Catholic by a Methodist mother. My parents married in 1952, pre-Vatican II, so my mater had to make an almost Faustian deal with the Church, that any and all children born from her Protestsnt womb, would be baptized Catholic and raised as such.
My father was hardly the zealot he is now and Mother never converted, but during our formative years, she kept her vow to Rome. We were baptized, made our first Communions and Comfirmed, but Pope Paul would’ve publicly pooped in his papal potty had he known that while I went to catechism every week, I also attended Vacation Bible School during the summer. The differences made me self conscious. I would instinctively cross myself after every prayer and at the time, my Catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer ended seconds earlier than everyone else. Back then, we didn’t include the “for thine is the kingdom and the power…..etcetera, etcetera. Beyond that, the Protestants had a far less complicated belief system. It was more about God (read: Jesus) and less in the process itself. By that I mean, as a Catholic, I was beholding to a three-in-one deity structure AND the Church. Often, dogma over scrupture.
As a kid, I was fascinated by magic. I would grow up to call it “special effects” and imagination. I used to love the TV shows, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I liked the idea of affecting reality with a nose twitch or folding one’s arms and extending them outward while nodding one’s head.
Twitch, Tabitha gets an orange unicorn in her kitchen.
One head bob from the blond broad who the FCC and most of the adults I knew, thought dressed like a tart and BOOM! Dr. Bellows questions his sanity after finding himself in his underwear, standing in Red Square in mid-January. Silly, but to a kid who wants to be anywhere but in small town South Texas in the mid-1960’s, these shows were a haven; a brief respite from the monotony of sameness.
As a kid, I saw a lot of magic in all the Almighty tale. It was like a Catholic version of Darren Stevens’ life without the soundtrack, but with a lot more smiting. Then again, there was Endora.
So, I while I believed in a power greater than me, I had my doubts as a kid about Jeses’ role in the whole thing. I tried to understand God, then the son of ahhod and they threw in the Holy Ghost?? From a non-secular standpoint, going to college only elevated the diminished beliefs I had.
As the years progressed, I’d have dalliances with Catholicism–been there, done that. I even looked into Judaism but I didn’t have the cultural discipline. I read a lot of books and articles, I even talked to people who believed strongly and those who didn’t believe with as much conviction. But I always prayed, at least, in my own way. God was never an issue. Mono the sim in its strictest sense, made sense. I’d have conversations with God. There was no hard core reverence. I omitted the thees and thous and spoke very candidly. These conversations always ended up being conversations with myself. I’m not God, but isn’t God me? I mean, why not? It can’t be like that old axiom–talk to God and you’re praying, but if God answers, you’re mental. Would/ could religion Roth established sciences be that controlling? Would science even give God a flashing glance?
If you can pray at any time and any place and if God is omnipresent, then church is everywhere, right? Are there more psychological things at play with being a member of a congregation? As in, power in numbers combined with a sense of belonging? Huh? If that’s case, then individuality and non-conformity must frighten organized religion. Intellectualism, too or are these things really one in the same??
Again, I ask, huh?
Look, these questions can’t contribute anything new to those fully entrenched in Christianity, Semitism, Islam, Wiccans, to those with their agnostic leanings or the atheists in the world. I know what I know, doubt what I doubt and question everything in between. I’m not smarter, better educated…I’m not more sophisticated. If you don’t share the same quest as I do, that’s fine. I won’t burn you at the stake, confine you in an iron maiden, throw you into a death camp or hijack planes and fly them into tall buildings.
I’ll continue to question everything and apply the logic that seems the most logical to me. I’ll continue to believe in God on my terms and have my “conversations” with and I encourage you to do the same, in any form or fashion. And if you ask questions, dare to seek the answers. Stay at home if you must, but imagine boldly. Travel mentally. Read. Connect. Engage.
Be fearless in your pursute to believe what feels right to you.
And above all, don’t read Spinoza on a night when you’re really, really focused.