Well I figured I covered one of the most controversial topics out there yesterday so why not tackle another one today. I don't think this one is as potentially offensive though. The topic today will be religion.
I am fascinated with religion almost as much as I am fascinated by racism. However, I am by no means as educated about religion. I actually find it somewhat scary. Don't get me wrong I love to gather around the Christmas tree and the seder plate when the time comes but I can count the times I have been to a religious edifice for something other than a wedding, funeral, bar or bat mitzvah, or tour on one hand. I think I only need one finger but I am probably leaving something out. Needles to say, it is obvious that I don't much go for organized religion.
The one class I took that dealt with the subject "The Birth of Europe" was utterly fascinating. Although it was not the first time I had read the Bible (for pure scholarship mind you), it was he first time I got to discuss it in a proper forum. I secretly want to go to Bible study because I find it fascinating but all the hard-core-religious people around me would give me the heebie-jeebies. I don't knock anyone's beliefs. Actually I think my life might be better if I had more faith. It seems really comforting to have something like that to turn to. I just can't roll like that. I ask far too many questions and doubt entirely too much of what people have to say.
In a way, I feel that religion is the cause of an abnormal amount of the world's suffering (as well as its joys) and getting mixed up in something like that says trouble to me. One of the things that I really remember from my class is the story of Abraham. If you really look at it, he is the source of 3 of the world's major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Now, my scholarship on this subject was rather superficial compared to that of much of my study but, if I remember correctly, the Islamic faith has Abraham taking Ishmael up the mountain to be sacrificed rather than Isaac, thus making him the divinely chosen son and therefore making Islam the "chosen" religion. There are some texts that included a third party in the story, a servant whose name I can't remember but apparently appears later on in the New Testament and is seen as predicting the rise of Christianity (or something like that). However, since those three religions share so much of the basic back-story, why is all the hatred and fighting necessary between those groups today.
Although I am technically Jewish, as it follows the maternal line, I obviously am not immersed in the culture. Yet, when I talk to members of my family who are more traditionally Jewish and ask them what the tenet of the faith is they basically tell me that you are simply supposed to be good to people. I can't really front on that one. Plus they throw a great party. I try and live my life by being good to people. I can't say that I always succeed. I have been a downright horrible person at times. But I do try.
Maybe that is my problem with religions that focus on good people going one place and bad people going another. I mean that is so subjective. Then again, who better than God to be subjective about such things. I just don't think it can be that simple. If there is some final judgment won't they look on what is in your heart rather than all the mistakes you have made over the course of life. Life is hard and there are no training wheels. Isn't that the right thing to do?
Over the years, people have asked me if I am an atheist. At times, I wrongly though that I was. It's not that I don't believe I simply don't know what to believe in. I have a very hard time with a being sitting up there watching everything. It just doesn't seem logical to me. I feel it has to be something more internal. What makes sense to me is some kind of vital life force that connects everyone and everything and influences our sense of morality and judgment. I guess if you have to put a label on it I would fall into the Agnostic category.
Is it hypocritical to feel this way and still enjoy religious holidays? I don't think so. I think that whatever this life force is wants us to gather and to love and to enjoy each other. I think that is truly the divine plan.
The divine always appears in music. Let's listen to some.
Yo Mamma, Pharcyde- Uh, not divine. Maybe this belonged on yesterday's post. This reminds me of an episode of Benson when Clayton and Benson learned they were related and had a battle of the dozens to decide who would inherit the family fortune. Benson whuped Clayton's ass all over the kitchen.
Punky Brewster Theme Song- What a sweet show. I wanted to be just like Punky. The only thing I think we have in common is big boobs, and she got rid of hers.
Come On Home, Franz Ferdinand- I remember watching Degrassi on the N and seeing the video for Take Me Out and telling Monica how great it was with stomping feet all over the place. She had no idea what I was talking about until she saw it and then she got it. We loved us some Take Me Out. Unfortunately for Franz Ferdinand, the whole album kind of sounds like Take Me Out but not as good. I don't hate it, it has a good beat and you can dance to it.