My boy and I have been discussing appropriate-ness recently. A lot. What can you say or do around your parents? Is kissing ok? What if they’re not okay with it? How old do you have to be before it’s okay to stop caring? What about friends? Can you say your opinion freely, or do you make care to not offend? Do acquaintances count high enough on your “to care” list to qualify for your self-censorship?
I am a person that is hyper-aware. I like to know people well so I don’t say things to offend them. But there’s been a quote circling around and around my head lately and I just can’t shake it off – “What you do affects no one but yourself. If you are honest with yourself, then like (similar) people will understand. If you are dishonest, you will attract dishonest people.” I can’t remember who said it. And I don’t want to be offensive – I just want to be truthful. Honest. Mainly with myself. I am tired of appearing one way and being another. I know a lot of people do this, too, because that is just the way Canadian society is – I can’t speak for other societies, but I know that many “Muslim” countries are pretty big shams in this way. Just because you outlaw drinking doesn’t mean people stop drinking, or having sex outside marriage, or being gay, or smoking opium. You are just making your country’s men and women into rebels. You are creating your own problems when you say one thing and do the opposite.
So I got tired of all this double-talk. Mainly, though, I got tired of god. You see so many people on Facebook proclaiming their love for god, or Allah, or whoever else. I understand that Facebook is “whatever you want it to be” and you can do whatever the hell you want on it. But that doesn’t mean you should. Maybe you want to share your great love for something giant and all-encompassing and life-changing – write it down, sing it, tell your friends – that’s fine. But Facebook? Classrooms? What is religion if not a giant ego-stroking society? “Yes, we are all saved.” Sure, there very well may be good reason for the stroking – after all, we are all tiny, inconsequential things who know nothing about today and even less about tomorrow. Some sureness is a salve for many, no doubt.
But we are all inconsequential. What we do affects no one in the great scheme of things. If I choose to not believe in god, that will affect only myself, probably my writing, and those close to me. It is not of your concern. But what I like to take pride in is that I don’t rub this in other people’s faces. I hope this doesn’t come off as me rubbing anything in anyone’s face, but to be honest – this is my blog. This is me. These are my opinions. You can argue with me, you can disagree, you can yell and scream and unless you have a logical argument for me, I won’t care. I will only change my opinion if you give me some proof to change it.
It’s not that I don’t believe in god. I just don’t believe in A god. I believe in power. I believe in things being larger than we are, and probably having tons more control over our lives than we do. I believe in the earth, and karma. But not God, capital G.
And you know what, he didn’t help you find “The One”, or fix your fucking iPod, or help you find your keys. If there is a God, he would not be interested – believe you me. That is the thing that, like Peter Griffin, “really grinds my gears.” God is not there to help you find your keys. God is not Matchmaker Sally or Save-Me-From-Death Dan. It is god. It is probably nothing even close to human beings. To be honest with you all, the closest thing I can imagine god being is karma.
The way I try to live my life has obviously been influenced by Christianity. I was raised in a more-or-less lapsed (thanks, Communism) Russian Orthodox household. Our Christmas is January 7th, but in Canada we celebrate it twice. No more communism, tyvm. I was taught to be kind to others, to have empathy, to do what I can with my talents (notice they weren’t “God-given”), to push myself but then to see what unfolds. When my dad started getting into Christianity hardcore, I backed off. Church has nothing to do with my belief in human goodness. Old women muttering about not wearing a scarf on my head, or a preacher swinging around ugly-smelling spices, or crouching to the floor and asking forgiveness from some invisible, haughty, vindictive god has nothing to do with my belief. My belief is personal – private, even. This is one of the only times I will ever clarify it to anyone other than my closest friends.
I believe that people are inherently good. I believe that my life will be full of change, positive and otherwise. But I control it, to a degree. If I don’t want to be broke, I find a job. If there are no jobs to be found, I will find a way to survive. God has no part in the every night I will lie in my bed worrying about the current economic crisis and upgrading my skills. God will not help me plump up my resume. God will not adjust my personality to make me more applicable to jobs currently on the market.
God gives believers a community. I have my own community. It is not focused on idolatry. It focuses on being good to one another, helping each other out, on love and poetry and sacrifice. Maybe that sounds like your community, but it isn’t. My community doesn’t feed itself bullshit just to do these simple things. My community does this because they are good people who want to do good things, plain and simple. There is no higher power controlling our desire for these things, and giving us this belief. We want good for the sake of good. We don’t need reward, we don’t need explanation for why, we just need to do it for its own fucking sake.
So back off of God, kids. He’s not on Facebook, if he exists. Your faith will not be found when your cellphone is, or when you find your soulmate. Your faith will be found when you can believe in humanity being crippled and being perfect at the same time, when you can do good for good’s sake, when you feel like a human being not indebted to invisible things, but to yourself and those around you.