Thursday, January 8, 2009

Flirting with Agnostic Theism

I don't know exactly what agnosticism means to me, but I have all at once let go of the ethics and beliefs that I have had since early childhood and I am waiting a little bit to decompress before developing/choosing new beliefs and ethics.

I think I kind of felt, you know, spied on. By God. Which I'm sure is a very childish way of looking at an allpowerful loving entity. But now that I don't feel like I am disappointing any omnipresent being I feel quite free. Like, my couch is stained, so I disdained Spray and Wash and sharpied a space scene on it. I have an Art Couch. And I'm looking in to craigslist dating. I started with some penpals in Maine and Pennsylvania. And I approved my financial aid which I somehow never realized I had. And then I looked up plane fare to the bahamas, which makes it more concrete a goal. And then I looked up colored contacts, which I have wanted continuously since I was 14 years old.* And a 2 month supply costs $80. And I have wanted them for 6 years.

I guess when I was Catholic I felt Important. Things were At Stake, particularly my immortal soul. Eternal is quite long. I mean, 70 minutes of Statistics is quite long, Eternal is just insane.

Last Sunday I was sitting in Jesuit Church with my great aunt Sue, and the irrelevance of what we were singing about (camels) to the immensely pasty north american crowd hit me really hard. I started crying and my chest, you know, cracked open. I have often felt a little bit unconnected to the topics of sermons, such as obedience. Also the miracles are not very exciting. And the things we are meant to take from the sermons are just... just something. I can't explain very well, but the stripped down events in the New Testement doesn't have anything for me to key into and absorb.
'This one time? Jesus was walking on water, and-'
'Walking on water? What, like that one lizard?'
'No, like the Son Of God.'
'Oh, right. Yes.'
But the lizard is a miracle as well. And I have seen it on television.

I was reading the introduction to my little Gideon's Bible and there were no words there that felt relevant to me. Allow me to transcribe it:
"The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here paradise is retored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, our food the design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgement, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest reponsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents" -Gideons International New Testament Intro

Great labor? Mind of God from a 2k year old perspective? Condemning triflers? Eh... I want a religion that doesn't worry about triflers. Doesn't even give them a thought. Something really, really simple. Not like transubstantiation.

I think I am quite interested in Equality. Earthly Equality. Also I think there is a sort of positive godesque prescence in my life. I am trying to resist fleshing this out until I have decompressed.

Everything I am doing I am doing from a new perspective. Things that were scary (singing in church, being critical, ruining a couch) are not at all scary, because the people watching me are just people, they didn't create my world and/or die for me. Things that were not scary when I was in my cozy catholic womb/bubble are quite scary because it seems like things are Up To Me now.

Along those lines, I have had a terribly frightening few days. I know part of it is my different perspective, described above. But is my life always this scary, and I just felt immune?
Sunday: Had to drive through a snowstorm, 25 mph on the freeway, minimal visibility, the car got stuck on a hill and had to get help.
Monday: Just a little turbulence, nothing too scary.**
Tuesday: I got home from work at the hostel at midnight and no one was home except a stranger sitting on my couch- but he was just my new roomie. I had most of a heart attack before he came out with "Hey, I'm Nate!"
Wednesday: riot where my mom works.

I'm sure Thursday will be fine. Actually I will probably get eaten by a shark.

*My understanding of my faith was that nothing at all was a problem except sin. Like, if you get killed- you live forever in a golden sky kingdom with everyone good. But OTOH colored contacts are vanity! And vanity is a sin. And if you sin you will have an unfullfilled earthly life and then on to wailing, and nashing of teeth.
**That was the first time I have flown as an agnostic theist and it occured to me that the early popes, the disciples, and everyone, couldn't fly.*** (neither stay in the sky nor travel incredibly fast) They couldn't eat fresh foods from other continents. They couldn't communicate with people in, say, japan, instantly, or even know about japan. Or the Americas, where I live and study their lives.
***I looked it up and Pius X, the 257th Pope, was pope until 1914 which I think means that the first 257 or more popes had never been in the sky. (until they were martyred or died of heart attack) And I have, and I'm just some girl. I can't make a plane stay up but I still get to go in them.

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