My personal, heartfelt thanks to those who have offered me love and support across the past twenty-four hours. I accept! I am drained but pressing on, given a leg up by your love.
I’ve been thinking again this morning about the evolution of personal belief, and as this topic is in the air around Obama’s statement that he believes same-sex couples should have all of the rights of heterosexuals.
Many of us have spent years within a faith tradition, reinforcing our beliefs with ritual and repetition. We have reiterated to each other how wonderful and powerful God is, how miraculous one and another event, that everything that happens is meant to happen and so on. So programmed, we condemn those different from ourselves and those who believe differently or not at all.
Enter science, and the argument for evolution. Only recently, within a matter of months, has it begun to sink in for me that we susceptible humans for whom the universe is so mysterious have the ability to brainwash ourselves, to indoctrinate ourselves, even to imagine what we need for the sake of our own survival.
What problematic territory! For God becomes a cosmic umbrella for the rainy day of existence and we hide under that umbrella afraid to step out from under it, afraid of what we might see, endure, or learn. We are also afraid, in buying into the imaginative hierarchy that has God as the crown jewel and humanity as having debased God’s will, to trust the self and intellect.
So it is within the patriarchal priesthood and those who stand in for Jesus in “feeding” the people consecrated delusion. Inside theological doctrine, the bubble of ritual, with the euphoria that comes with communal praise and singing, it is indeed possible to attain a state in which it feels as though one is experiencing a living God.
I was deeply entrenched in High Church Anglicanism when in the course of reflecting on all of the aforementioned things, my psyche turned a corner.
There are many comforting and beautiful things about faith, but for many of us, operating within a faith tradition comes with a huge price-tag; to invest in dogma and become its mouthpiece requires the selling out of the soul, the forfeiture and diminishment of intellect, true creativity and celebration of being–and giving oneself permission to be an individual, all that one is.
Therein lies the problem. Conservatives participating in Christianity appear to me now to be operating within and from illusion and delusion insofar as they reject individuality and freedom of thought and to find it heretical for anyone to suggest that it is evolution that explains our existence but not God’s.
Am I still suggestible? Absolutely. I surround myself with the great works such as the Bach Mass in B Minor, which puts me on a transcendent high. And, regarding the texts, oh, those patriarchs and how mellifluous their words. How beautiful the Book of Luke, the nativity story. How salient the commentary attributed to Jesus. How utterly seductive, compelling, persuading one to drop to one knee in humility, to imagine and then to believe the ancient testimony: that God died for human kind and rose again from the dead.
But how safe is it really to give our intellects over to the paradigms of religion, and buy the notion shopped by theists that God is supreme? Unfortunately, the world over and since the beginning, so much incarnate evil has arisen from dogma and a static faith. We get high on religion and wave our arms in the air believing we who profess are saved, but perhaps we need a reality check! For, from within that fervor we believe we take God’s part in condemning abortion and same-sex partnership/marriage. We are in the haz-mat suit, we think, God has our backs…and there is then no question that we are right and have a corner on the truth.
We are, in fact, the most fully programmed when we begin thinking we need to convert others to our view point and when we believe we know what God wants from us and from everyone else. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Catholic Church’s stance on life beginning at conception and therefore being sacred. I saw a quote that was somewhat shocking but rang true to me; “It’s about time we got over this love affair with the fetus and concentrated on children.”
Yes and no. Obama has claimed the right to have his position on gay marriage evolve and it certainly appears that our beliefs do evolve and change. Replacing the faith of my upbringing, seeming now to hold and refine ideas that subvert my own religious indoctrination, is the belief that we have everything we need within us to deal with life and that if we are to believe in scientific explanations for things, there is in fact nothing “out there” to save us from ourselves or our mortality, or our vulnerability to be struck down like a blade of grass at any moment.
This position, fitting into the mindset of secular humanism, demands a different commitment and a very challenging one completely opposite to the concept of spritual “surrender”; it requires finding meaning in the sheer fact of being alive as all living things are alive, in the cycle of coming into being, living out a life span, and dying back, to draw ourselves up to our full stature and to make of one’s life a celebration of being.
I love the photos posted by Amo L’Natura on Facebook– Nature herself is an immense, powerful and beautiful mystery, infinitely diverse, everything evolving even as it appears and disappears.
What further purpose to we need for our lives than to love one another and ourselves, living out our allotment of minutes as the feats of nature and masterpieces of evolution that we are, to resolve the afflictions of the universe, to be that which is in our genes– a pianist, a carpenter, a poet. I disagree vehemently with the brand of atheism that says that life is inherently meaningless. But I believe that we live the great drama of existence, here, on terra firma, looking up at the heavens, looking out at the sea.