Monday, July 10, 2006

Okay, so, this is kinda interesting. I may well have come up with a whole new damned religion. Or I'm an adherent to one that's been around for a while and I just can't find a neat synopsis on the web anywhere.

So, yeah, FARK posted up this, which, if you're too lazy to click, is a comparison chart of big world religions. All right, I grew up in the midst of a great deal of religion, and religion pervades my family to this very day (which is probably why I married someone who, truly, couldn't care less about religion, but who has a deep and abiding faith in predestination...which is a definate faith in something bigger than yourself, but doesn't require you to give up Sundays or spend a lot of time memorizing someone else's moral coda), so, yeah, I've got more than a passing interest in the weirdness that people dedicate their lives to for no concrete reason.

So I click over and do some reading and find this under Atheism, Adherents Worldwide: "1.1 billion (this figure includes AGNOSTIC and non-religious, which tend to be grouped on surveys)" Yeah, okay, I don't always spend a fuckload of time truly learning the meanings of words that I throw around with great abandon, but since when does AGNOSTIC = ATHEIST?

I've never claimed to be an Atheist, even in the midst of an argument with whoever in which I did my damndest to use logic to disprove God. I've always called myself an Agnostic, understanding that to be a catchall term for someone who bought into a grand Creator/Overbeing thing, but not one that was truly explained by any particular religion. Really, I have a hard time with the whole concept of something as big as God (or god, or gods or Gods) bothering to try and make itself understood to something as tiny and confused as human beings.

Don't get me wrong; I tend to like human beings, for the most part. But you've got to admit that 'tiny and confused' goes a good way to describing the whole of mankind.

Right. Anyway, so now I'm at a bit of a loose end, 'cause I thought I had pigeonholed myself quite nicely into this 'Agnostic' thing, but now I'm wondering. So I do some searching and come up with a couple of different definitions (courtesy of a Google search for definitions of Agnostic):

"A word first used by Professor Huxley, to indicate one who believes nothing which cannot be demonstrated by the senses."

Okay, not really me. I tend to stick to my senses in moving throughout the world, but, really, if you write anything that takes place outside the world you live in (which is mostly what I tend to write), then can you truly say that you don't believe in anything outside your senses? No, you can't, dammit, and don't fucking argue with me on this one. This is not the time for that. Unca Billy's trying to make a long-winded point here.

"Agnostic: one who questions religious or spiritual beliefs, and who may choose not to claim any system of knowledge"

Okay, that's a little bit closer to where I'm at ('cause, yes, I will happily and endlessly question religious beliefs), but not really. I do claim a system of knowledge, which is pretty much 'Don't fuck with anyone just for the sake of fucking with them, don't hurt anyone just because you can, be unfailingly polite no matter how pissed you are, and try not to be a giant dick more than once a year or so.' As a system it's pretty simple to say and REALLY fucking hard to do. Try it. It's rough. And, yes, it is a system of belief for me, 'cause I tend to believe in the idea that a fucker will end up being a fuckee as many times as he's a fucker. Regretably, I didn't come to this conclusion until I'd spent a lot of time being a fucker, so I've still got some dues a'comin'. And if like me, you've spent a lot of your life bouncing around the country, getting away from the people you've fucked, and still have reason to believe that what's gone around is coming around, then you've gone well beyond simple human revenge and have tapped into some kind of giant spiritual merry-go-round, which kind of kills any idea of not having some kind of spiritual sense to glom onto.

Still reading? Goddamn. You must be one of my friends.

Okay, one more:

"Someone who claims that they do not know or are unable to know whether God exists."

Okay, sure, I can't quantify God, but that doesn't mean I don't have faith that there's something out there. So, yeah, that one's fucked as well.

And those three seem to kind of cover what is traditionally meant by Agnostic. Okay, so, tonight I've had an Epiphany, and realize that I am not an Agnostic in any of Google's traditional senses of the word.

Well, hell. Okay, I need my pigeonhole, so I dredge up another word: Deist. 'Cause Deists believe in some kinda creator, but don't claim to know all the details, right?

"A person who believes that God created the universe and then abandoned it"


"One Creator God who is uninterested in the world. Reason is basis for all knowledge."

Pretty much the same thing, and still nope.

"One who admits the possibility of the existence of a God or gods, but claims to know nothing of either, and denies revelation. An agnostic of olden times."

And we're back to the Agnostics. So, nope.

Okay, well, that's pretty much tapped me out, I guess. Scanning the rest of the big religions, I'm not a Buddhist ("Purpose is to avoid suffering and gain enlightenment and release from cycle of rebirth, or at least attain a better rebirth by gaining merit." Reincarnation, to me, seems like you're just loading a saved game in GTA or something...too easy, too simple), a Confucianist ("Purpose of life is to fulfill one's role in society with propriety, honor, and loyalty." Sounds good, but when you dive into it, there's a whole lotta bowing and scraping and I'm just too much hateful of authority to buy into that) or a follower of Shinto ("Humans are pure by nature and can keep away evil through purification rituals and attain good things by calling on the kami." I tend towards the idea that 'purity' is just a way for someone to avoid doing things that they're afraid they'll like too much, or that they're simply scared to try). Yeah, okay, there's a WHOLE lotta stuff that I'm not, but there doesn't seem to be much that I am.

Listen to me: You're all-powerful and you're bored. You kicked off the universe, spun out super-heated plasma into an arc that spans lightyears, watched as the stars and planets formed, checked out the cool gas clouds that spread out across billions of miles in the cold dark between the galaxies, and it was all really groovy and really pretty, but, y'know, it's done. Sure, some shit goes boom! every once in a while, and that's just big fireworks when you're divine and infinite, but, really, it's done, the big act of creation, and all you can really do at that point is wait for entropy to kick in and kill the whole thing. Dullsville, truly.

But, yeah, you're powerful as all hell, and you're all alone. Admittedly, I can't really put myself into the mind of God (or god, or gods, or Gods), but I'm thinking there has to be a period of some hyper-dimensional thumb-twiddling that goes on, that you've hit a lazy Sunday afternoon that goes on for a few thousand millenia and, man, you're just clawing at the walls. What to do?

This is what you do: You make something that's curious, something that's smart, something that has an overwhelming drive to build and learn and push the envelope of what's possible and what's just dreaming. And if you're my kind of God, you make 'em with the potential, just the barest sliver of a fragment of wish of a dream, to become just as big as you are. You make something that, if everything works out right, will become something that you can truly befriend and admire.

I guess that's just me, this thought that we can, perhaps, become equals with the universe, with the creator or everything that is, was or will be. That the only God I can allow myself to believe in isn't looking for prostrating drones singing praises or mumbling pilgrims talking down their own worth, but has enough self-confidence to create the beings that will someday supplant it. I guess my God is the best of parents, the mother/father that wants nothing more than for its children to be in all ways superior to itself, that is content in knowing that it gave up itself for the sake of a better world, a better universe, a better creation.

Of course, the flipside of this is that I can't help but feel we're doing a hell of a job letting it down.

Ah, well.

Fucking people.


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