Archive for the ‘Thoughts on God’ Category

A tale of three Texans

July 4, 2009

I make a lot of promises to myself and while I’m not very good at keeping all of them, I’m glad (and sad) that I was able to keep this most recent one.

In April, I was talking with a friend in Houston, Texas named Corey with whom I’ve kept in sporadic contact for about eight years. We were having a catch-up conversation when he mentioned that his father had finally succumbed to the cancer that he’d been suffering through for at least a year.

That’s just one more person who has been claimed by “this fucking disease” as another friend of mine whose father died about a year before Kelly did said at her wake. Corey and I compare notes on our therapy process often, but I’d say he’s way further down on the atheism scale than I am. He’s angry, and hurt, and alone, and it hurt me to know that he’s been doing all this hurting by himself.

So when he said that with a little bit of the money he and his sister had gotten from his inheritance, he wanted to fly me down to visit him over the Memorial Day weekend, how could I say no? (more…)

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God is love?

July 3, 2009

This morning, I was sitting down to enjoy a cup of hot chamomile tea with lemon and honey at the Starbucks on the corner of 66th and Lexington when I overheard a man talking to a woman seated at a table against the wall a little behind me. The table was littered with the pages of one of the tabloid newspapers, and he was talking about one of the things he had read.

I don’t exactly recall how his rant started, because I was trying very hard not to overhear, especially when he started talking about how New York Governor David Patterson has been trying to introduce a same-sex marriage bill into the state constitution. What followed was the usual rhetoric I hear from homophobic people who call themselves Christians, sprinkled with some truly bizarre comments on how President Obama might be gay, something about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and fellatio…

Really, it was all a blur because inside my head and out loud on Twitter I was trying to decide if I should say something to him. (more…)

Why I love my new president

June 4, 2009

Read it, and weep, and cheer.

Excerpt:

The Holy Koran tells us: “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”

The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

The Holy Bible tells us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

A-fucking-men.

The same spirit forged the same words, in multiple languages, for three different brands of faith. Why can’t people see that?

Why do people think that one religion has to be better than the other? So what if your religion tells you I’m going to Hell if I don’t believe in the same kind of God you do? If you tried your best to “save” me and I didn’t want to be saved, then you tried your best and your God shouldn’t fault you for not being stronger than an “evil” that he created, right?

And if I don’t directly harm you by my “heathen” ways, then you should have no problem living side-by-side with me, working at the same workplace, taking the same public transportation or driving on the same roads. You’ll have your faith, I’ll have my non-faith, you’ll go to Heaven, and I’ll just die.

Why can’t all religious people see that?

It makes me want to re-read Skinny Legs and All again.

What to say to an agnostic whose friend has died

May 12, 2009

The day job has been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t had any time to think about how I’m going to start up the first Kielle Foundation book or even how the new Saucy Goose Press website is going to look.

But what I have been doing is reading and replying to comments and emails that still keep coming in from here and there from people who have listened to the “This American Life” episode and yes, I’m even tracking people down via linkbacks and Google searches because one of the things this experience has taught me is that it doesn’t hurt to reach out to someone and say thank you. (more…)

Pascal’s Wager for agnostics

April 26, 2009

For me, it all began with Pascal’s Wager.

I can’t remember exactly when and where I heard of it, but the wager as I remember it goes like this: If there is a God and He offers eternal reward for good behavior, it makes more sense to believe in Him than not to do so because you haven’t lost anything if it turns out there isn’t one.

The wager approached God and religion from a pragmatic angle and that made a lot of sense to me at the time. Growing up, I was taught to believe that God was a part of my life, that He would always be there to help me, and it was really nice to get that sort of logical, scientific affirmation that it made sense to believe in Him.

When I got to college, I started to attempt to incorporate everything I was learning with what I was taught about a Christian God and it didn’t seem to fit. If there is a God who said and did everything he’s supposed to say and have done in the Bible, why is it that other people have recorded those same events in different ways? If language shifts over time, how can we be certain that what we’re translating now is accurate to how it was written down, with the same tones and inflections as it was when the author wrote them? If the ancient Greeks used their gods and belief systems as metaphors in their epic poems and histories, could the early Christian writers have not done the same?

I may have mentioned this before to some of you, but there’s this gal I got to know around the same time I met Kelly. She’s a Southern woman, a Christian woman, and yet she didn’t mind that some of us didn’t share her faith. I don’t remember the context for this statement, but it struck me so much that I saved it: (more…)

This American (after) Life

April 21, 2009

After thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to do so, I re-arranged my schedule a bit on Saturday morning to catch the local airing of the first story I got produced by “This American Life”.

Because I didn’t edit it or work on it myself, I didn’t have any idea of how the story would turn out so I’d be listening to how it all came together just like everyone else would. Perfectionist that I am, the very first thing I noticed is that I have a tendency to mumble, and I wonder if that’s a result of growing up with a speech impediment that has never completely gone away. At least I know how to read out loud and give a passage some decent inflection.

I’ve listened to it maybe two or three times since then, and what I really enjoyed about how it turned out is how fair it is to both myself and Kris and how respectful it is to each of our positions. Because I’m the one who brought to story to the TAL producers, the listener gets to hear mostly my interpretation of how the conversations went, but that was to be expected.

One of the perhaps unintended consequences of choosing the degeneration of my faith in God as my first story pitch is that more people want to talk to me about God. I’ve told two strangers so far (one forwarded to me from Kris, the other is someone who did some sleuthing and found my Gmail address) that I don’t mind listening to how they feel about God, just as long as we treat each other with the same kind of respect that Kris and I shared during our conversations.

And speaking of Kris, after thanking him for participating in the interview, he and I are going to remain in contact because even though at the end of the story we didn’t see eye to eye on God, I can’t think of any good reason to discontinue having a productive discussion about the nature of faith.

However, the part that’s the most gratifying is that Kelly’s best friend listened to the show and told me some particulars about her case which helped me to see that it was actually a good thing that my prayers didn’t get answered back then.

At least that’s one mental barrier down.