Ahh, Saturday. I actually allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in today. I needed it. We had snow here yesterday. Snow! At the end of April?! Then we had a wild lightening storm that lasted about 5 minutes. Earthquakes in the Midwest. Crazy. Ludites of the world unite... it's the End Days! *rolls eyes*
Welcome once again to the Non-Church of the Wayward Gypsy. Come inside ye free-thinkers, get warm, have a seat... grab a cup o' that fine bean over in the corner.
This week, the news has been all over the Pope's visit to the US. (Less was said about the Dalai Lama's visit to the US. How very unfortunate.) It's been said that one can take oneself out of Catholocism, but one can never take the Catholocism out of oneself. I grew up amid the mystery, pomp and ceremony of the Catholic church. As a child, it was something I was in awe of. I strayed here and there to other religions in my early adulthood, wandered back to the Catholic church for a time in my late 20's. But, I completely lost all of that awe when I worked for Catholic University in DC. I also lost all respect (hence belief) for religious dogma and those in power who propound it. Those years were the impetus for my current agnostically gnostic approach to any spiritual belief. Argue all you want, but what it comes down to is what I feel to be true, to be real.
"There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line.
The less I seek my Source for some definitive,
the closer I am to fine."
~Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine
When I tell people that I'm a non-believer (and I don't spout it, but when it comes up in conversation, I don't shirk) I often get a grieving, piteous (and often oh, so smugly pious) look from them. I've even been told, "How sad for you. You must be so hollow inside." I'm far from it. I'm enriched by following my own instincts and comforted in looking at my existence with my eyes wide open. I've studied long, I've listened, I've watched, and what it's come down to - for me - is that we're all made up of spiritual energy. We're the ones piloting this life. My life is blessed because of the choices I've made, because of the color and shape I've molded in my own internal picture, not because of blind faith.
I'm not at all bothered by what others want to believe so long as it's without external conflict. Aye, there's the rub. There seems to be a necessity to force belief on others (yes, I understand that this is part of the dogma of most organized religion). The other thing that I don't quite get is why others seem to feel so threatened by my lack of belief. Why all the ruffled up feathers? It's my choice, after all. Pray for my poor damned soul if you must, but do me a favor... do it quietly, in another room, far away.
by William Earnest Henley
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Amen. Go forth. Be.