The People's Exhibit A (davidology) wrote,
The People's Exhibit A

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Shrug and Pray

"Just say a prayer. That's all we can do now," my dad said to me on the phone. My mom said a similar thing to me Saturday night when she called to tell me Mamam was in the hospital.

But what if I don't believe that there's some cosmic helpdesk waiting to queue the requests of the faithful? It would be nice if I could believe such a thing. It certainly gives us humans the feeling we can do something in situations in which we are otherwise helpless. Nonetheless, I told them I would. I knew saying that would make my mom feel better, and the last thing my mom needs to worry about right now is her son being an avowed heretic.

We had a bit of a foray into that subject over the holidays when my dad asked me (again) if I were Catholic. I stopped going to church the moment I was out on my own, and excommunicated myself shortly thereafter. I've told them this, but I think parents hear and remember what they want (as I always did to them, so seems fair). After I answered my dad that past Christmas, my mom followed up by asking if I still believed in God. I told her I believed there was an energy that unifies us, and we could call that "God." But, I added, that I thought the whole "Jesus being spawn of deitic seed thing" was downright silly.

But all this does make me wonder about spirituality — a subject that has been on my mind for a little while now. My fraternity taught that a person should be balanced physically, mentally, and spiritually. What if there's some truth to this?

Truth is, Catholicism is largely to blame for my seething disdain for religion in general. Some will say I'm exaggerating when I say this (but I'm serious). I think raising kids in the Catholic religion is tantamount to child abuse. It's a horrible, unbending, mean-spirited, and spiteful religion that discourages free thought and encourages blind adherence to its dogma. Well, that's not totally fair. You are free to think what you like, as long as you don't mind spending Eternity burning in the fires of Hell. Of course, the idea of there being such a place with a pointy-tailed devil is ridiculous, but to an impressionable child, it can be a bit frightening. Despite my quite vocal challenges to my Catechism teachers indoctrinators, they managed to assimilate some of their guilt into me. So this, the rhetoric spewed forth in the news by groups like the American Family Association, bin Laden, and their ilk constitute my experience with religion.

But what if I threw the baby out with the bath water?

I've been of the belief that I don't need any organized religion, and I still believe that. But I wonder if Sue wasn't right when she told me she felt I could stand to see a different side of religion. She grew up in the Reform Judaism faith and feels my view of spirituality has been tainted by the rigid dogma of the Catholic Church and similar believing religions.

I don't know. I guess that even if religion is indeed just the opiate of the masses, that doesn't necessarily exclude the idea that there might be something good to be found there that's just been perverted by some. Regardless, I might be a little more open minded to religion if I saw something good come of it.

But of course none of this answers the question: If I don't pray, what can I do besides wait?

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