Just so you know … I don’t mean to be offensive, but I am. So if you’re religious, believing, or strongly faith-ful, you might want to skip this one. Seriously.
Moving on. I’m kind of in a fix right now. For a long time, I’ve denied conventional religion. I started out being a Christian that didn’t like church. Then I got saved despite not knowing what it was. Next, I decided I’m uncounted. After all, The Book of Revelations mentions 144,000, and apparently, they were chosen before birth. So, since I was having such a hard time with my faith, I must not be one of them. After that, I felt lost because each time I opened the Bible, I felt these dizzy whirlings in my head. At that point, demonic possession was considered. Consultation implied ancestral curses, and yes, I’ve been exorcised. It’s not as glamorous as it seems on Benny Hinn. Candles, chants, and large medallions were involved, and if I hadn’t been so piqued and terrified, I might have played along and encouraged my ‘demons’ to talk back.
About a year a ago, I found The Secret and Neal Donald Walsch. I flowed with it for a while, but I had questions. For example, I accept that The Secret works. I’ve used to bring out a lot in my life. But … it’s a little … well … faithy. Let me explain.
When you really believe something, you bend things to match with your faith. Look, we all know grass is green, right? So if you woke up one day and the grass was red, or blue, you would assume there’s something wrong with your eyes. Or you would think it’s April Fools. It would take a lot of convincing to accept that someone showed up in the night with an alien zapper ray thingie and altered the grass colour. The alien could be standing right in front of you eating hotdogs and twirling his colour-changing ray gun. But rather than believe your eyes, you’d be convinced you were brain damaged and that the fact that you’re seeing aliens and blue grass is proof of that fact.
Faith is like that. If you believe you’ve seen the Virgin Mary in a fountain, then anyone who doesn’t see her is a pagan. If you believe that Jesus rose after three days, anyone who denies it is blaspheming. Similarly, if you believe death is final, you easily accept that the apostles hired a gang of soldiers to come move away the stone and steal the body.
If you believe in science and whatnot, it seems silly that some all-amazing being would ask Abraham to kill his only kid to prove a point. It’s far more likely our boy Abe was hearing voices in his head. Totally schitzo, too much desert sun. And if you’d rather kill a human than run over a cow, then it’s perfectly conceivable that you can drop dead and resurrect as a fly.
The Secret is like that, and so is my New Age. They both say everything that happens to me is my will. If I’m single, it’s because I choose not to be married. If I’m poor, it’s because I wanted to experience life like that. If I really want a red car and I end up with a blue one, it’s because the blue car is the fastest way for me to get a red car. Like … maybe in 2 days, the blue car will be written off, and I’ll get insurance, and I’ll be paid just enough to get the same kind of car, and the showroom will only have it in red. It could also be that I thought I wanted red, but deep down, what I really wanted was blue. Kind of like seeing [or not seeing] The Holy Virgin.
I like New Age philosophy because it’s accepting. It doesn’t say anyone is wrong. Gays, idolaters, animists, pole dancers … everyone is cool. And the reason they’re cool is that they made a choice. They’re all exactly where they want to be. New Age believes we all started in some space up there with George, and we all decided where we want to be. Of course once we got down here, we chose to forget everything. Life, according to the New Age, is this great big adventure. It’s kind of like Zelda, or Monopoly. You choose what piece to play, and you can play as often as you want.
The reason I find that principle tricky is that I’m not an adventurer. I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I don’t want to discover things. I don’t want to see the world. I want to sit here quietly, play my music, write my stories, and raise my baby. That doesn’t sound like much of a trip.
Also, there is no religion that can explain evil. At least, not to my satisfaction. Some people call it infidel[ism?] Others say the devil made them do it. Some wonder why a loving God would let babies get raped. Others ask why God would let you kill other people in his name. I mean, in the Old Testament, the Israelites wandered through the desert killing all the kites [Amalekites, Hittites, Everybody-ites] and God said it was okay. There were people living on their Promised Land, so they had to get rid of them. God said. Yet the same God said Thou Shalt Not Kill [Fellow Israelites]. It’s all pretty shifty to me.
The New Age has an equally strange story about evil. It says there is none. After all, we all chose what we wanted. So on some level far, far away, you wanted to be raped. Mike Dooley has a theory about this, and I’ll share it, because at some faithy level, it made sense to me … for a while.
Let’s assume we really are all powerful beings, and that somewhere up there in the afterlife, we love to hang out. Let’s say we have a best friend, and that we like to play together, so you follow each other through different lifetimes. The adventure for you is in finding each other and rekindling your friendship, so every time you meet in a new life, you recognize this strange, unearthly bond that you share. You’re literally soulmates.
So let’s say in one lifetime, your pal decides to be a murderer. The thing that will make him change his ways is when he hurts the one he most loves. He will butcher and kill his baby girl, and it will shake him so badly that he will change to good completely. So, as his after-lifey best friend who wants only the best for him, you choose to be born as his little girl…
The other theory is perspective. When you’re walking on a road, things look pretty basic. But if you get on a plane, a spaceship, or a satellite, things look different. Walking in your neighbourhood, you will see garbage dumps and dirty children. In the plane, you’ll see trees, rooftops, and little lines of road. From the satellite, you just see pretty swathes of blue, brown, and green.
The perspective theory takes that view of evil. While you’re lying there being violated, it’s the worst form of hell. But from a ‘spaceship’ you can see what led to that day. You can see how the thug started his morning, how he will later be caught and jailed, how imprisonment will save his baby from being his next victim. In that sense, evil isn’t really evil, because it has purpose.
That makes sense on a logical level, but I still have issues when a girl saves her purity for marriage because of her faith, then has a gang break into her house and rape her.
I think as human beings, we choose what to believe, then we bend everything else to fit into that belief. The idea is pretty scary, because it means we have 7 billion warped people blindly filling up the earth, and we have no clue whose belief is right.
There’s one thing we all have though, and that’s a conscience. We can get good at ignoring it and even blocking it out, but we all know it’s there. Some of our actions are driven by society and culture. We do stuff because our parents told us that we should. But deep inside, each of us has our own moral code.
In my case, I got over chastity. I turned 17 and decided it was boring and annoying being a virgin. After all, I spent hours feeling guilty over lusting after boys when it would be so much easier to go Nike. In the end, I didn’t do it until 19, and I felt really guilty about it for a couple of hours. But then I didn’t feel as tortured by my thoughts. They say the best way to fight temptation is to give in to it, and that night was living proof. Still, I don’t do married men. It’s my personal rule. It’s not about religion or upbringing or faith. I just feel it’s wrong to enter someone else’s marriage. Thus says my conscience.
Yesterday, I decided that there is a God, and I decided that his name was George. It’s not about blaspheming, or bugging people’s faith. But for me, a mighty, loving being should be my pal, and George sounds a lot like my pal, and so my God is George.
I haven’t gone so far in this religion I’ve created. I don’t know why George lets children get kidnapped. I don’t know if George will keep my princess safe. I don’t know if George cares what house I live in, or what car I drive.
I do know that I love my old beat up computer, and that I once said if I ever get a new one, it will be a Mac. Instead of getting the money to buy a Macbook, George sent me a client who said I can use his Mac for work. So now, suddenly, I have [access to] a Mac. *Terms And Conditions Apply* Mike Dooley would say that I manifested it, and that the The Universe gave me something really, really close to what I wanted. The Secret would say that lending me a Mac was the fastest way for The Universe to put one in my hands.
About a month ago, I went into one man’s office looking for some freelance work. While I was in there, I decided salaries would be a better option so I pushed for that. A month down the line, I was offered a consultancy, which is a cross between freelance and a salary. The Secret would call this a product of my early thoughts. It would say I didn’t shift vibrations soon enough. Traditional faith would say that God felt this was much better for me. Mike would say I created this job with my thoughts.
Meanwhile, I’m in the middle and confused. If I try really hard, I could convince myself I got just what I wanted, and that I used The Secret to do it. But it would still be really faithy, because I didn’t get exactly what I pictured. I just got close enough to think so. It doesn’t help that two or three days later, the client reverted to original plans.
With George on my mind, I can think that he wanted this for me, because he likes me, and he knows that it will help me. I don’t know why he chose to give it to me, and I don’t know what I’ll think when he denies my next two wishes. I don’t know what his game is, or how he chooses what’s a yes and what’s a no. I don’t think he cares for offerings or Sunday jeans. My conscience is at ease with skipping tithe, church, and virginity.
But I think George has a good sense of humour. I think he knows just what he’s doing, and I think someday, sometime, I’ll find out what that is. We’ll sit with milk and cookies, and he’ll answer all the questions that I have. He’ll tell me why somebody’s baby was raped. He’ll tell me why I got the attic roof but not the spiral staircase. And he’ll tell me why I’m such an oaf that for me, heaven is ice cream, cookies, and milk, with no subsequent gases, cramps, and tummy aches.
The George & Conscience theory works just fine for me, but I’m not sure what to tell my daughter. I could [and have] told her sex is just for marriage, but she met and really liked that last boyfriend – the one I threw up over – and we were clearly not married. Plus, she watches all the soaps, so duh! I could tell her to wait till she’s 18. But she might lose her cherry to that boy that made a bet to slay the 18 year old virgin. I could tell her to wait till 21, but thugs could break into the house. I could tell her to wait till 25, but by then, bioclocks are calling and decisions can be stupid.
And what about booze and nicotine? I can say don’t drink and drive, but that gives her an excuse to get drunk and ride home in strange [sober] boys’ cars. I could tell her to follow her own conscience, but that’s kind of being an irresponsible parent. And of course, I’m assuming she’ll do what I tell her. She’ll soon be a teenager after all.
I guess the thing with my George is to take things one day at a time. I’ve noticed that humans tend to eat their words. It’s never about pretence, or even hypocrisy. It’s more about change. When you look in his eyes and say you’ll love him forever, you generally mean what you’re saying. Then you find out he’s cheating and you wish that he was dead. Neither of those is a lie. They were both true when you said them, and the contradiction doesn’t negate them.
That’s why I like blogs. It’s cool to look at your words, swallow them as needed, and add an edit or link every time you change your mind. Now if only I could learn to stop deleting them…
♫ Erase and rewind ♫ The Cardigans ♫