Beauty, more than bitterness Makes the heart break.
- Sara Teasdale, American Poet (1884-1933)
Just because I happen to be getting treatment in a place where there is no Internet, doesn’t mean my blog should have to suffer. Yes indeed, it’s yet another ghost post!
By the time this goes live, I’ll be knee-deep in it, but as I write this, I’m one day removed from a Salvation Army rehab program where I’ve been told there’s a pretty heavy emphasis on the “faith-based” part of it.
I actually like the idea of that. I always thought it was kind of chickenshit the way Alcoholics Anonymous left it all gooey and nebulous with the “higher power” stuff. I mean, I understood it – the goal of A.A. being to help as many people get sober as possible, you don’t want to alienate anyone, but while I always ended up at the mainstream “higher power”-type meetings, I always thought it was cool that some of the members at the meetings also went to meetings where they made a straight-up declaration that JESUS was their higher power. I just like that kind of faith and certainty in people. I don’t have it myself, but I respect it.
The problem for me has always been that I just can’t really say with any honesty that I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, that he died for our sins and that he was resurrected and will one day return triumphant. I have an even harder time with the Old Testament and imagining the true beginning of humanity starting with an Adam and Eve, that Noah and family and two animals of every kind really sailed The Great Flood, or that God saw humanity building a Tower of Babel to the heavens and responded by scattering humanity and confounding their speech . . . I have a vivid imagination, I pride myself on having an open mind, but we’re only eleven chapters into Genesis and there’s way more there than my mind could ever seriously entertain as being fact.
I think I’ve finally found a way to make all that skepticism irrelevant. I have to look at things in a different way. I have to look at the world around me and ask myself which team do I want to be on.
I have a lot of atheist friends (and no, they’re not all scientists and engineers and mathematicians, just most of them) and if there’s one commonality among most of the atheists you’ll meet, they all seem to take a great pride in their intellect and their rationality, which leads them to wonder why someone would even try to waste their time talking about God when there’s no proof that God exists. I think they feel a little sorry for those people who cling to their superstitions and their faith in God. What I don’t understand is how so many smart people can fail to see the flip side of it and realize that it takes just as much faith for them to believe in the absence of God as it does for the believer to believe that there is a God, because if you put all the proof of God in one side of a scale and all the proof of the absence of God in the other side of the scale, what you’ll end up with is two empty scales.
Lot of great minds and wonderful people on Team Atheist, but just too much smug certainty and cynicism over there. I wouldn’t want to play for Team Atheist.
How picking Team Budda? Ahhh . . . I’m trying to get skinny and I’d have a hard time looking up to that fat, slovenly Buddha.
How about Team Gnostic? When I was fasting in the hospital for ten days, I had the doctors demanding that I eat or they were going to strap me down and put IVs in me. What did I do? I pulled out the religion card. “I’m doing it for religious reasons, the fasting brings me closer to God.” (Actually it was just a perfect opportunity to shed pounds.) “What religion are you?” “I’m Gnostic.” The blank stares told me it was the perfect answer. Only the true Biblical scholar has a real handle on that offshoot of Christianity, I certainly don’t know enough about Gnosticism to play on Team Gnostic, although I did find it convenient to pose as a Team Gnostic player on a couple occasions.
What about going with Team Heeb? I love the Jewish people, no people have been so persecuted only to rise above and become the most prosperous people on the planet. They even seem to understate their remarkable accomplishments for such a little tribe, I guess it’s in response to people saying things like, “The Jews own all of Hollywood, man,” as if it’s a bad thing that they kicked ass and pretty much took over the entire industry. There’s nothing to be embarrassed by that! Be proud of your people and your incredible accomplishments! I don’t know though, I probably wouldn’t be able to wear a yarmulke with a straight face, so Team Heeb is out for me.
How about playing for Team Allah? They’ve got 1.5 billion on their side and I’ll tell you what, my sister-in-law is the real deal, she does her prayers five times a day and the peace and tranquility and love for humanity that just exudes from her makes knowing her and being around her about the closet thing I’ll ever get to meeting Gandhi. She is that full of peace and kindness. She could be a world ambassador to reclaim “The Religion of Peace” from the bad press the radical jihadists have given the religion. On her faith and how it manifests itself in her life, I’d put Team Allah as my second choice, but for me I have to chose . . .
Team Jesus. I’ll tell you why I’m picking Team Jesus – it has everything to do with the teammates I’ll have and the teachings he laid out in The Bible. I’m basing it mainly on people I know, who I really look up to and say, I would like to be that caliber of a person. Don’t be distracted by the majority of Christians-in-name-only and those who are simply Christian by default through their parents, ignore the Christians who maybe go to church on the big holidays or once a week on Sundays. I’m talking about the real deal, talk the talk and walk the walk type-of-Christians and they are truly the best people I know. They are people who you can see their faith working through them every day and in every decision they make. That’s the team I want to play on.
Forget all the details or debating whether the stories of the Bible are literal or only serve as allegories, forget all that, I’m just looking at the team I’d like to be on the most and I’m picking Team Jesus. There, I said it, and now I think I’m much more prepared for it when they unleash the faith-based quotient of the program. I’m just a rookie here on Team Jesus, I’m never going to go into it blindly, but I’ve got an open mind and I’m ready to listen.