Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Lord (Or Lack Of One) Works In Mysterious Ways

They say that there are three things one should never talk about at a dinner party. Sex, religion and politics. Well if my blog was a dinner party, I think I very much violated the rule with my stance on Chavez and maybe with a few crude jokes. Religion, on the other hand, I've very much kept quiet on. Mainly because I kind of wanted to talk about it at a different time, on a different forum. It's funny though, because I tend to leave those thoughts on what I believe in terms of god and spirituality swishing in my head constantly. They keep awaiting a time to leak out, and yet I keep the floodgates closed. It does make me wonder why I keep it closed though. Is it because I think my views are too controversial? Perhaps if I was in some other part of the world, maybe, but I think that may give me a bit more incentive to open them up, simply to make a statement. Is it because I want to make a grander gesture out of what is on my mind than simply on a blog entry? If I had the fame and the time to put it to a more sophisticated and polished medium (like a book or a speech), I suppose it would reach a larger audience but it's not like I can't reiterate what I write currently to when I'm at that point. Maybe it's because I know how it comes off when people mention religion on the internet, but then again perhaps I need to have a little lack of restraint on this as those who live their lives preaching their beliefs on Facebook. As long as I'm not declaring any act of violence, this should be alright to talk about.

Religion and I have had a sort of bizarre on-again, off-again relationship that can best be described as platonic. At the very start I came from Venezuela, a mostly Christian nation. What I sort of characterized as Christian was in some respects casual to what I would later find out. It was in that sort of vein of being traditional and relaxed, you'd see imagery of the Virgin Mary and Jesus here and there and the occasional prayer and visit to the Church. I was baptized and had to go through Communion but other than that, it wasn't as if I had a community at the church or it was a common occurrence to be there. The practicing of Christianity had loosened up further when we moved to Canada, with the only times I recall being at church was because my high  school had this commitment to go to one for Christmas for some undiscernible reason. What has managed to persevere is the Thanksgiving prayer and the Christmas celebration, though they are more symbolic to the idea of family rather than symbolic of keeping with our religion.

Now while religion was the kid that I would sometimes be forced to have a playdate with, spirituality would be the hot mother that kept me coming back to the house of worship. While it may seem a bit callous to personify spirituality as such, I think it works. Spirituality can be caring, insightful and enticing, though it may be completely out of one's bounds to fully experience and understand it. To me, spirituality is a very awe-inspiring and wonderous aspect of religion. To imagine the mystical power and the grander, otherworldly schematic that our world is a part of in the tales that are in the holy book is a grand part of the glory of religion itself. It's with spirituality that matters like faith, hope and superstition take hold, where the larger questions and the inner journey of the self are explored. Religion is merely a vessel in which spirituality can take form. So, because of spirituality, I could grow to tolerate and even like Christianity. In some ways I'd have to admit that it has helped with shaping the moral bounds. So I could still very much be okay with hanging out with religion.

Eventually I start to explore more about religion and Christianity and when I start to flirt more with spirituality. I was more interested in what religion had done before and what it had inspired rather than it itself. I certainly found some more troubling matters, and it was hard for me to really make sense of why I should still be around it if it has done so much terrible things. Sure, religion was nice to me, but it does kind of expect some things from me that are kind of uncomfortable. And certainly the crowds that religion hangs around with are not necessarily ones I'd like to be with. But I know that religion, be it whatever it decides to call itself has been with some pleasant people too. Under Christianity, it has been kind to my family and to me. I certainly have no beef with the institution that others rightfully could.

Soon, a rift starts to open and the way I start to feel about religion and spirituality start to contradict with what I find out, with what I experience. At one point I outright reject the two and consider myself an atheist. After all, I cannot really say there is any concrete proof that God exists and since the world is so cruel and unjust, how could it be that God exists and yadda yadda yadda, you know how the atheist rhetoric is when you come across it at a basic, somewhat childish level. I did get out of that funk, which didn't really make me and religion all that comfortable with each other, but spirituality could still be willing to talk with me. I could continue to explore the ideas and the possibilities of the spiritual world and of God without having to be so burdened to have to hang with religion. And certainly while I broke away from atheism, it's not like it didn't have some pull towards me. Essentially, it brought me to the middle ground, agnosticism.

I believe agnosticism is a fair ground to be on. But anyone who is agnostic will probably lean towards one side or the other. I tend to imagine the scenario of a deranged man pointing a gun against me and shouting whether I believe in God or not, and I can't say I don't know or else I get killed. What would I say? In all honesty, I feel as though I would learn more to theism. But not under any of the religion constructs. While I may doubt whether God is there or not, I would side with the possibility of God being there. But God is a larger, more incomprehensible being that I could ever fathom. I cannot realistically put a form to God. I am unaware what gender God has or even if God has one. As far as I know though, I believe God is a scientist and we are the experiment. God put an assortment of variables together and set everything up and then let it loose, which then created the Big Bang and the formation of the universe. And ever so often, God will change something within that experiment that is our universe. When we finally come along to the universe, we will go about our actions and our lives. And something that may happen might have been from God's doing or from our own. But we will be so wrapped up in our worlds, in our view, that we won't really know.

Ideally, I'd like to believe that once you die, you get to see God's true form, and you are able to look at your life and be able to understand the things that you couldn't at the time, as well as figure out little facts about your whole life. But that could not be the case. That's more for the imagination. Even this construct I have of how God could function could just be an exercise in imagination. But I still can't find myself to outright reject the notion that God could exist. Or that there's some otherworldly force that has a greater say and impact in our world. We know so little, we see so little and we are so little. We may be aware of a vast array of dimensions and ways in which celestial bodies work, but we are unable to comprehend them. We cannot fathom how huge the universe is due to the limitations of our body. It seems equally as foolish to me to be so staunch and stubborn in the views of atheism much in the same way that some atheists look down on those who believe in religion.

So I stand now as Christian In Name Only agnostic theist. I will continue to do the standard rituals my family does out of respect for them. I still have those silly quirks that came from being religious like faith, hope and superstition. I also recognize that atheism has more concrete evidence on its side of no proof of God and that the onus is on others to show that there is a God. I know my argument for the possibility of one is flawed, and yet I still lean to the idea of God being there. For there's something that spirituality always has given me. A feeling of something there that while I can't explain it, I know it's there in some form. God is in essence an extension of that idea. God controls the way in which spirituality moves, in which the forces of spirituality take effect on you. One can try to shape it in some way and try to provide an argument for it, and that argument could expand to a religion. But the fundamental aspect of God is not something that has to be explained but rather felt. It's something that takes you on your own path. Or maybe all I'm saying is a crock o' shit, who knows? I'm agnostic after all. 

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