Monday, December 29, 2008

My Spiritual Location

I’ve had a spiritual rage building inside me throughout the holiday season (okay, throughout most of the year), and I’d like to achieve some sort of release and get a few things off my chest.

So, here’s the thing – I’ve slowly grown from a vague distaste for organized religion into an intense distrust and aversion to it (and its followers.) I find myself immediately discounting the argument of spiritual people, even if they are friends. I know that I shouldn’t assume I’m right and these religious folks are wrong, but isn’t that what their kind does about me every day? At least my beliefs aren’t tethered with an invisible string of faith to something that may or may not be there. I require testable and observable evidence, proof, and reason – not faith.

I find it upsetting that most spiritual people use blind faith as a safety net; if something doesn’t jibe with their worldview, they take the easy way out and explain everything away with faith. It’s common to hear things like “Well, I believe that (insert religious figure) was right. I may not understand (said religious figure)’s motives, and I may not understand all the nuances of my religion, but I’m going to stay the course and stick to what I believe in.”

In college I briefly attended a bible study group; not out of interest in the subject or a deficiency of faith, but because I was interested in a certain girl who attended the group’s meetings. My contribution to the group could best be described as “nervous silence.” I didn’t enjoy myself or speak up much, and I never got the girl. However, we read and discussed C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and one of his ideas hit home – Lewis said that if you can’t be a good Christian, just pretend that you are and soon you will start acting like one (that’s a heavy dose of paraphrasing I’m doing there, but that’s the gist of it.) In my college days, when I was fighting a losing battle with my spirituality, this idea really made sense with me. I could pretend I was a good Christian, and just adhere to what I’d been taught, closing my eyes and letting my faith surround me. I was a Catholic, so who was I to question what the Church had told me all my life? According to Lewis, I should just pretend I’m a good Christian, pretend that I believe what the Church teaches (even if it is sexist, racist, homophobic, outdated, or just plain impractical) and be a good little sheep for my Shepherd.

Looking back now, I find that idea one of the most repulsive and destructive I’ve ever heard. To choose ignorance, to not question, to accept something when I know it to be incorrect – these things go against everything I am as a person.

I believe that blind faith is destroying us. It justifies terrorism, slavery, greed, racism, sexism, and class warfare. For too long, people have lived their lives based on worn-out and flawed value systems, believing beyond belief that what they are doing is right because that’s the way it’s always been done.

At the end of every year I make resolutions, and this year is no exception. These are usually little things I’d like to change about myself or goals for the year that I’d like to accomplish. I am making a conscious effort to focus on spirituality and philosophy in 2009. I’d like to read up on atheism, agnosticism, and rationalism. I want to learn about Christianity as well, in an effort to better understand its followers and not dislike them so much. Finally, I’d like to learn about Eastern Religions as I’m virtually ignorant on the subject.

So, with only a few days left in the year, I’d like to describe how I’m feeling right now.

I am a rational human being and I require truth, proof, reason, and evidence. I refuse to use faith as a safety net for things I don’t understand. I understand that there may not be a purpose to my existence. I recognize that life is not fair, and that no one ever promised that it was. I would rather know the truth, even if it makes me feel insignificant, powerless, and alone. Finally, I realize that it is my duty to rethink, reconsider, and reevaluate everything I believe in.

Hopefully, after a year of spiritual study, I will be able to add to or correct this worldview.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


--The difference between the right word and the wrong word is really a  large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

--An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.

-Mark Twain

This is a test

"You gots to get up on your vocab
you gots to have vocab
letters makes words
and sentences makes paragraphs."