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Just hangin’ with the creator. A “god” post. How original.

by Once

To me, “faith” implies optimism, I suppose. I have faith that drivers will yield right of way to me as I cross a street. I have faith the captain of an airliner will keep me safe. I’m optimistic these outcomes will be positive.

I’m sitting in church right now. Catholic church. There’s a ritual called adoration that’s taking place as I type this. The priest places an edible wafer into a shiny gold display medium, called a monstrance.  He sets it on the altar, facing the parishioners, where it sits for a few hours, allowing the faithful to sit in the presence of “god.”  Here’s a pic.

Pretty snazzy.  If I was the creator of the universe, an undefinable mystery that has baffled human minds for thousands of years, I could hang out in here while hungry worshippers dreamt of eating me.

The wafer, in the Catholic tradition, is the actual body of Jesus, which good catholics eat at mass in order to be one with him. There are at least thirty people in church right now, adoring this wafer as they bask in the presence of the creator of all that is.

Here I sit, part of this…why?

My “faith” isn’t what it once was. For decades, I accepted what I was told, that “god ” required conformity and submission, and certain punishment awaited those who doubted and disobeyed.  Optimism – the faithful believe their adoration and adherence will result in eternal reward. Cry out to “god”, and he will help you.

My concept of “god” is so different anymore. More of an agnostic, I believe there is or was an intelligence involved in the creation of all that is, and we are too stupid to understand it. So we write stories about it, about “god”, and we live within those stories in order to exclude and label those who are different from us. These stories are our exclusive little clubs, and their rituals are the bylaws that order them. And they are all just so much damn rubbish.

Faith is optimism. Reality is…what? A mix of optimism and pessimism? I don’t know.

I only see what I see anymore. War, chaos, anger, hate, division, happiness, rainbows and kittens, sadness grief and misery, acid rain and corpses, smiling children, hopeful parents, corrupt politicians and deceitful evangelists all hell bent on agendas. I see a species of hairless human apes making a fucking mess of their planet, and now slowly expanding their distinguishing characteristic of excessive garbage and detritus into space, as our collection of space junk grows by the year. We are a bunch of selfish pigs, we are a bunch of caring, kind souls, we lend one another a hand, we strike each other down in the name of skin color and various religious and secular ideologies, all while attempting to define and characterize “god” based on the limited abilities of our narrow and only slightly-above-simian minds.

I suppose that’s the best we have to offer.

I’ve had to redefine my “god.” Whatever it is, if it even exists, if it’s responsible for “all that is”, it’s clearly ok with sitting by as we run around like imbeciles creating our own misery through our petty prejudices and hatred. It could give a rats ass about your suffering, it could care less whether you prosper and enjoy life, or sleep under a bridge wearing filthy clothes covered in lice. It watches as presidents and politicians cheat and steal, and it watches as charity workers bathe the sick and dying in third world countries. It watches as generals direct armies to maim, kill and destroy.  It watches as doctors open skulls and repair intricate human brains, restoring function.  It watches as we do the only thing we know to do in our abundance of short sightedness, and it doesn’t involve itself – “god”, whatever it is, sits and allows universal life to play out according to the rules that govern it, and those rules mean suffering and prosperity to varying degrees for all of us.

To have faith that “god” is walking with you is…optimistic. For many, it is to key to survival. I don’t mean to disparage the faithful. For all I know, what I think and believe is absolutely incorrect. Who am I to define “god?” I’m just one of all of us, with my opinion…but the “god” I conceive of remains the fuzziest enigma ever presented to me. I have no idea what or who or how it might be, if it even is. The stories we create are nothing more than cultural conjecture. They don’t explain anything real –   they just mean to convey hope, create structure, allow for judgment and control through fear of eternal punishment, while fueling exclusion, hate, and division.  And they’re a good front for Saturday bingo and other forms of fellowship.

Yeah. Here I sit, in St. Vincent’s church, looking at a wafer in a monstrance that is believed to be the flesh of the creator of the universe. “God’s” body, conveniently packaged for my dining pleasure.  I come here to feel a connection to something outside myself, in the hopes that I will find meaning. The teachings of catholicism, the dogmas and concepts are meaningless to me. Mere words written by generations of curious cousins of chimpanzees, hell bent on determining origin, reason, destination. I’m no different than the faithful who are gazing at this edible wafer and imploring it to deliver them from all manner of suffering and bless all their loved ones. I’m no different at all. I’m hopeful that my misery has meaning. I’m hopeful that I can find peace of some kind. I’m scared, lonely, angry, sad, depressed…and I’d sure like to believe that somewhere, in a distant place far above the limits of the universe some omnipotent thing-a-ma-jigger had my back. That “god”, the myth, the legend, gave a shit about me.

But all I see as I look around this planet leads me to belive I’m just being overly optimistic – if there’s a “plan”, there is no denying it is meant to involve suffering. Lots and lots of it. Yup. We’re here to have good days and bad days, to smile and cry. Our pain is our own, we must bear it alone, sure there’s relief in fellowhip, but there’s death in life too. It’s just part of the plan, like it or not. I have questions, we all do…and I see no clear answers, dreamers. None.

Now, go in peace to love and serve your “god.”  Refreshments will be served in the parish hall, and don’t forget bingo on Saturday at 4 pm.  A-freakin’-men.

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19 comments

niki 3/5/2021 - 3:02 pm

I love philosophical & deep posts like this. Sadly, most people/humans are too ignorant to ever think like you do. “Ignorance is bliss”, sadly true.

I would say that reality is depressing. I think you’ve already realized it too, right? About our world, society, & this existence/life. Yeah sure, some people are lucky, but what about all those other people who are not so lucky/fortunate in life?

It’s a dog-eat-dog world. It’s a cruel world. The more I get older now, the more I’ve realized & understand of how shitty this world/society/life/existence is.

Reality is depressing.
And either there is no god, or if there is really a god, it’s an evil one, sadly.

darkwillow 3/5/2021 - 5:45 pm

I was a Christian growing up, until my senior year of high school. There, I took a mythology and religions class. And I fell in live with buddhism.

Buddhism is a weird religion. There’s nothing to believe in. In fact the idea is to stop believing in everything entirely, while accepting the possibility of everything at the same time. God isnt believed or disbelieved, it’s kind of just irrelevant.

It kinda feels like the opposite in a way. Christian’s hold so tightly onto their beliefs for comfort, wisdom, and morals. While buddhists just let everything go. I felt like I was in chains as a Christian. But I felt like I was floating in space as a buddhist. This is good and bad. At least when I was in chains, I had a clear idea of the world. I had answers. But floating in space, there’s nothing to hold onto. It can be scary and everything is uncertain. It’s liberating and terrifying. Sometimes we want something to tie us down to reality. Us humans like having beliefs to comfort us.

One of my favorite books is Living Buddha, Living Christ. Which goes over the many parallels of both religions. There are hundreds of Christian buddhists for example. And I think they’re both lovely religions at their source.

Once 3/5/2021 - 6:11 pm

“Sometimes we want something to tie us down to reality. Us humans like having beliefs to comfort us.”

Darkwillow, I’ve dabbled in Buddhism. For a short time. Long enough to understand that it’s different from Christian thinking, with its fear based punishment mentality. Totally night and day different. I found more answers there, in the year or so I read about it, than all the decades I’ve spent burrowing through Christian traditions. The open-ness of Buddhism struck me, the freedom to believe and experience something so radically different…as opposed to hell-fire-and-brimstone christianity.

Your quote I pasted above, yes – even though some traditions paint a bleak picture for the non-conformist (christianity), it gives a species desperate for meaning just that. Meaning. Even if it’s a militant angry-god based meaning. Christians will argue that “only the old testament god was cruel, the new testament god is a kinder, gentler god”, yet the belief that the unsaved will “burn in hell for eternity” persists. Good for you that you were able to experience a different, more enlightening and refreshing take on finding meaning through Buddhism. It’s like a breath of fresh air. The book you mention sounds interesting. It also sounds like something that many Christians would label as heresy, claiming there’s no comparison between the “Almighty God” and a fat guy sitting under a bodhi tree…sigh. 😉

Once 3/5/2021 - 5:54 pm

Hi Niki, I think most people do spend quite a bit of time thinking about this stuff, but I believe that most people are more black and white about it – their beliefs are set and inflexible, it’s not open for discussion to the majority. Kind of like politics – “This is how it is, there are no alternatives, don’t bother questioning it. ” I wish that worked for me – life would be simpler, maybe.

Existence is boring, its beautiful, it’s just a repetition of patterns – patterns of peace and war, strife and turmoil, love and hate. When I think about living a long, long life, say loving to 80 or 90, I go insane wondering how anyone remains interested for that long. I mean, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” There are people alive today who were around for the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 – granted, not many, but I sure as hell can’t imagine being stoked about life for that many years…I’ve already seen enough of this clown show. Enough!

If there’s a god, it’s evil, it’s good, it’s peace and rage, it’s light and dark, it’s happiness and grief, and it’s a casual impartial observer that raises one eyebrow and says “Hmmm…” and little else as we scurry about our little rock fighting boredom. It doesn’t lend a hand…or so it seems to me.

pa47385 3/5/2021 - 11:14 pm

most of the people who write on sites like this have faith in something. they would believe for example, that a romantic relationship would make them happy. or money. or fame. or they believe that a better world could make people happy and make life more meaningful or something. or they come up with some idea of success that they want to accomplish. or they think that following some career path would make sense of them. or they think that having kids and a family would make their life complete.

it’s not 99% of the people, maybe even not 90%, but most of those people have some dream that keeps them going. everyone seems to believe in something, at least one thing, that they can hold onto, even if it’s not something that directly provides a reason to keep going.

even most of the people who don’t want to live anymore, who claim they have been disillusioned in life believe in something. something that would destroy them. something that would be a solid reason to be done with it all.

and i’m, like, so done with this. it seems impossible to find anyone who would rationally holistically look at things and find the right answer, a good reason, for anything whatsoever.

“When I think about living a long, long life, say loving to 80 or 90, I go insane wondering how anyone remains interested for that long.”

you’ve already lived past 50, you keep your mind sharp, you are good at writing, and i think you might have just written about religion without breaking the rules of the site. to me, you are already a god. how do people ever manage to do this.

i don’t quite understand though how a presence of a god changes anything. there’s a god, so what? how could that possibly keep a person alive or anything, is it like some parasocial interaction that makes the life more fullfilling? more complete? a way to enrich life? wouldn’t that mean that those people are just lonely?

there are over seven billion people on this planet. why choose a fictional character instead? what difference does it make to people?

then again this whole reasoning that you presented, that religion and god can make life work for people – which does work, but, obviously, not because of the fictional character – should be applied recursively. if people have their religion and a god, what does god have? what does keep the god going? what does god believe in? how can a god survive without all of this conditioning that christians have to undergo to feel like there is a point in staying alive?

Once 3/6/2021 - 1:55 am

The term “god” is really annoying because it assumes subjugation and inferiority, humans being the inferiors. It’s almost degrading. I lived with the concept of a loving, caring god for too long, and now just hold again, the agnostic view that there is or was a “something” responsible for this universe. I have a difficult time believing it just popped into existence because the conditions were right. If that’s the case, who or what set the conditions? We haven’t yet solved the riddle of why the Big Bang banged, and probably never will…maybe because we aren’t capable of knowing. But the majority of us need an explanation, a connection to something bigger…so we use “god” to define what we’re looking for, and we assign it qualities of decency and altruism, when all around us, in the natural patterns of all life, decency is in short supply and altruism seems to be mostly a human characteristic. Spiders don’t spin webs so they can have flies over for casual conversation, they spin them to have them for dinner – this is “god”, and death is just a natural part of the plan. Believers benefit from believing “god” cares about them, when “god” would just as soon let them die slowly and painfully, so our concept of god as being a nice guy is kinda stupid. As for what keeps god going, good question. Is god even there? Who made god? Who made the god that made god? Aaaaagggghhhh! All conjecture! There are no clear answers, only confusion, unless one chooses to not think – then, religion steps in and provides all the answers needed.

darkwillow 3/5/2021 - 6:09 pm

Usually when people post about god, there’s a lot of hate comments. I’m happy to see everyone is so supportive and respectful on their responses

blue_dude15 3/5/2021 - 10:32 pm

This was very philosophical, including the comments, i like it.
I used to believe in God, mainly because that`s what my mum taught me ever since I was little. I don`t anymore, but I still pretend I do otherwise my mum would freak. She would force me to go to church even if I didn`t want to(I`m still a teen). I feel like many Christians (not all) are just blind followers and believe that only they are right. Its probably like this with other religions too. I honestly don`t care what the person`s beliefs are, as long as they don`t force other people into it, like my mum does.
I hope I don`t offend anyone, but if God was real, I`d think he wasn`t “good”. He probably would`ve made the universe because he was bored, and now he watches people have fun, suffer and live their lives for his entertainment. I don`t think he`d be evil, but not good either… Just neutral. I don`t know if that makes sense, sorry

Once 3/5/2021 - 11:03 pm

“I hope I don`t offend anyone, but if God was real, I`d think he wasn`t “good”. Imo, this thought places you somewhere out of the average mindset towards god, specifically as regards the Christian tradition – that there is an opposing force, satan, who is responsible for evil. It’s refreshing to hear anyone who questions that. It shows independent thought, not blind adherence. But all of this is assuming god is real. I think one of the reasons so many people have issues with the concept of “god” is because they’ve been conditioned to envision it as only a benevolent loving deity. If “god” is the source of all that is, wouldn’t it follow that evil, death and suffering are it’s creations? The Christian bible, which I believe is nothing more than stories written by man, is chock full of stories in which “god” happily and efficiently murdered human beings, or demanded that other humans murder them, and yet “god” is seen as good. Strange. Perhaps “god” could stand to learn a little about decency and compassion from us. (If “god” exists!)

blue_dude15 3/5/2021 - 11:37 pm

yeah, i agree with pretty much everything you said. I never understood how god could kill so many people but somehow his actions are seen as “good”.
To be honest, even IF the bible was truthful at one point, its been re-written so many times to the point where its something else entirely. Did you know that the original bible never said anything about homosexuality and originally Mary Magdalene wrote a part of the bible (I`m pretty sure, i could be wrong)?

Once 3/6/2021 - 2:15 am

There’s a movie called “God on Trial.” Its fascinating to me. A group of Jewish citizens in a barracks at Auschwitz, in desperation, hold a trial to determine if god is guilty of breaking the covenant he created with the Jewish people. They reach a verdict. And they discuss the fact that gods behavior is less than exemplary, like you pointed out, with his track record of mass murder. It’s a brilliant movie that makes many good points about the real nature of “god” vs. our perceived nature of him.

Once 3/6/2021 - 2:21 am

As for the bible, I’m certainly no expert, but have no doubt it’s been expertly edited over the centuries to create a final volume that serves a particular agenda. From a historical perspective, it’s said to accurately record events dating back thousands of years – this may be true. But to ask me to believe it was “inspired by the creator of the universe?” Chuckle. No. It’s just stories written by plain old people.

blue_dude15 3/6/2021 - 2:25 am

i agree. And I’ll research the movie, it seems really cool!

system 3/5/2021 - 10:36 pm

I know this is supposed to be a philosophical post but I cant stop giggling at the mental image of wafer jesus

blue_dude15 3/5/2021 - 10:39 pm

omg lol why
now I can`t stop thinking about it!

Once 3/5/2021 - 11:05 pm

Gluten free, vegan and low calorie Jesus. Very healthy. An excellent choice for a quick afternoon pick me up between meals. Ugh. Ugh. Bad one.

system 3/5/2021 - 11:14 pm

a palette cleanser, if you will.

heartlessviking 3/6/2021 - 2:28 pm

I’m late to the party, and even on time it’s unlikely this would have been read.

Faith itself is neutral. We can have faith that there is a bus station, but until a bus comes such hopes are abstract, meaningless. I’m passionately agnostic. I want a stronger faith to anchor to, but so far that isn’t happening.

Look, we can ask God to do stuff, but it’s up to that entity what it does. No religion I have found worships a vending machine, thus the interaction with God has to be more complex than; ‘I want’ — ‘here you go’, I’ve looked into at many depths why God is believed to do as he does, and fundamentally it comes back to the same complacency that haunts me with emptiness.

I think there probably is a god. I also am reasonably sure that nothing has happened that makes my faith firm enough to be absolute. I can’t rule out that such a thing might happen. I’m drinking from a coffee mug right now, and it says; “anything could happen”

I want to communicate what a cynical and hopeless statement that is for me; “anything could happen”, but it DOESN’T. I’d sure like it to, but what is communicated to me by that statement is that my input is not particularly important. So, God or not, diligent search or not; you may find yourself in the furnace or the lions den, and God may make it so that you survive. That doesn’t prevent or delay the desire to be free, it merely prevents long term damage.

The God most of us worship allowed a part of himself to be crucified. We’re to believe that was part of his plan. Why does anyone expect BETTER? Our charge with Christ is to take up our cross and follow him. It isn’t even that firmly promised that anything will come after. That’s something Christianity added to make it easier to sell the Church as a product.

I tell you though, that when we suffer in spite of our faith, we are to be thankful, and know that our true reward is secure in that we sought God and got pain….. if that is the case I think I’ve got a Rolls Royce sitting in the heavenly garage…… but on the other hand I think there is a reasonable chance I’m full of shit, and so are you, and so is the rest of this species. The only difficult to replicate human faculty is story telling. We all want to tell a good story. Not all of us will have access to the appropriate narrative tropes, hence it’s lie or be forgotten.

I’m going to be forgotten, because I refuse to back anything firmly without a firm backing behind such a concept.

Once 3/6/2021 - 4:22 pm

Imo, agnosticism makes the most sense. It sidesteps ego and admits a resounding “Maybe”, unlike many religious traditions that claim to know the absolute truth. I just cant wrap my head around the logic of a species that has difficulty mastering basic decency towards one another claiming to have “god” figured out. How arrogant and naive can we be, yet it’s what we do. I don’t know if suffering is a deposit in a karmic bank account, but it can certainly be a lesson in the benefits of self denial, which is just to say sometimes it does us good to think less of ourselves and more of others. It’s a form of giving. And yes, I am definitely full of shit!

I like the vending machine metaphor, it only took me decades to realize there is no “god” that gives me what I believe I need. Rather, it seems that I find myself analyzing the outcomes of situations and seeing an outcome I never expected to see, hence “Well, it must’ve been god, because only god knew what I actually needed.” There’s are too many traditions with too many concepts of “god” and too many humans, myself included, who glom onto stories that sound believable without thinking them through first because independent thought is frowned on by organized religion.

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