7.27.2007

Whatever Gets You Through The Night

I recently had my daughter christened/baptised/whatever. I personally don't believe in any of it so I cringed inwardly when we "renounced Satan" on our daughter's behalf. I briefly thought about not going through the whole affair but there were only negatives to doing so. It's a brief ceremony, my mother and father-in-law would have thrown flaming crucifixes at me (never mind the endless arguments), it's a nice party to celebrate her arrival into our family and, trivially, if she wants to be married in a church, the priest won't hassle her.

I grew up in a house with my mother's beliefs, Roman Catholic a la max. This is the woman who proclaimed, "The writers on Star Trek are so fanciful. All these aliens... Everyone knows God made man in his own image." She loves Star Trek, by the way. In any case, she now spends her retirement going on pilgrimages with "visionaries who talk with the Virgin Mary". Needless to say, when I'm over I keep the conversation to what Ben ate that day. My brother fights her on these things. I just don't have the energy. She believes what she needs to believe, more power to her. Whatever gets her through the night.

Religion, spirituality, these things just don't do a lot for me. I just don't have that drive to find "something larger than myself". I have enough trouble with "something the size of myself". The search for the afterlife is just greedy and organized religion has so many problems I don't even know where to start. Churches can provide a sense of community for the lonely (I love churches, typically youth groups, where all people do is go on social events and share thoughts like, "My god is a carrot." "Mine is celery! Let's go on a roller coaster!!") and they do provide guidance to people with poor judgment (and believe me, I know people like this; I wish they had found God sooner. You can't pay me enough to be around them now but at least they've stopped harming themselves and all around them), so churches aren't totally without merit but none of this appeals to me. I have a community of very good friends and my immediate family. My judgment, while so very far from perfect, hasn't landed me in any serious trouble.

I don't begrudge other people trying to get through the night. It's dark, cold and there are wolves after you. Trying to impose order on chaos, seeking a higher authority, interpreting patterns, these are very human acts, very understandable acts. I really just don't find any of it relevant. Is there a God? Don't care. Do you believe in God? Don't care. I'd really rather know if you're interested in playing Mario Kart with me. Ultimately, I'm responsible for my own behaviour because that's really all I can truly control and I will hold you to the same standard.