Saturday, December 25, 2010

"I Was Born a Snake-Handler, and I'll Likely Die One"

My very adult daughter, wished me a happy Santa's Birthday, and asked when I had lost my faith in what she calls witchcraft, and knowing I was Catholic wondered had I ever been an alter boy. When I was about fifteen, I "played" an alter boy in a special service at a girl's school in Potomac. The priest was a friend of my fathers, an Army champlain, and didn't admonish me for not having the slightest idea of what I was supposed to be doing, That's really all I remember about it: I screwed it up and wasn't embarrassed, and I was perpetually embarrassed at that age. I thought I felt the "spirit" at my first communion, when I was six, and nothing thereafter, but this is at least partially because I lack imagination. When I was eight, I permanently damaged something in there, trying to understand spatial and temporal infinity, simultaneously (never mind omniscience) . In any case, religion became just another one of those meaningless things like school assemblies, only I wasn't paying attention, couldn't see what was going on and what I could hear was in Latin for another layer of incomprehension. 

Two good thing about Catholicism, though. First,  they don't want or try to get into your head, they just lay out their gibberish and if you don't ask questions or cause trouble, everybody gets along. Prots assume you are an idiot and probably a degenerate of some sort, so they want to scare and convince you hell is really real. I went to catholic school for grades 1-3 and truly feared nuns, but not enough to believe their scary stories. Never trusted Priests or Scoutmasters (or any kind of school counselor or official of any type), but I do think most other people would benefit from coordinating with such types. Secondly, Catholics have an element of mysticism beyond the normal, and just say it's too complicated to understand, and to just trust them, which should immediately bury the needle on anybody's bullshit detector, so you kind of think it must be a scam you have to let yourself in on, or some kind of inside joke. I didn't say anything, but from about the age of twelve, I was rejecting all spooky stuff and going along with the rituals, and saving my energy for fighting the important battles, like how long my hair was. Another young schmuck. Sartre with zits...

I try to be consistent in ignoring irrational things, though - ghosts, saints, miracles, vampires, "feelings", intuition, "luck", etc. It's very liberating, really, like not wearing underwear (for guys). I do pray though, when I go to bed and I mentally talk to the regular Judeo-Christian god, and ask him to bless everybody I can think of, but this is just really force of early habit. I'm really taking up Pascal's wager, even though I'm satisfied it has been disproved, plus I just think my prayers rather than actual vocalize them, figuring if he can hear everybody he might as well have our brains bugged as well. If the channels open, might as well use it. I think this could be called voodoo, and I also like pantheism and sometimes "think" the fug's chant to raise the pentagon and beam cosmic hate vibes at DC. I have to admit I don't really believe in it though, as it isn't working (yet).

Lately, I've been routed back to Judaism, routed back because some years ago, I wondered if a goy could "join up", but this is in some dispute (The more I read about Torah the more intrigued I become). For some years I've been jokingly telling people I'm Jewish (Reform) from Thanksgiving through New Years, but the more I see the more I like, although I'm interested in all Orthodox (Eastern and Amish/Old Order), just on the basis of internal consistency of doctrine, not that I think the invisible dimensions exist or whatever; Extremely interesting gibberish? So I was googling "A Serious Man" to see if someone had predigested something I wondered about (Specifically, what did the beginning Shetl part have to do with the rest of the movie, if you've seen it maybe) and came across a discussion about B'nai Noach, "People of Noah" or something, that there are Seven Torah commandments that one could follow to be "Righteous Gentiles" or essentially almost jews. The cool thing for me though was to be "righteous" you had to actually believe in the Hebrew God, but if you followed the commandments merely because you thought they were good laws (that is, without the mystic elements", you would be accepted as a "Wise Gentile". High praise, indeed, and good enough for me. So I'm looking into that...

When anyone asks I tell them I'm a Branch Davidian, and that's usually the end of it. If I had to pick a god, I would (and do) go with R.E.Howard's Crom, made up, but most credible back story; He created the universe and man, but lost interest in his insignificant creation. When wished a merry Christmas, I sometimes smartass back with Happy Solstice, Christian. So, now I'm an older schmuck, still ignorant, but unironically begging supplication from an imaginary god, and Jesus died for this? 

"D'Oh!", he might well say.

Merry Christmas, anyway!

1 comment:

Victoria Kidsman said...

The case of the Snake handler who believed God would save him when he got bit in June 2012 and died from a rattlesnake bite, shows the blind stupidity of some religious beliefs.
If the man had done a snake handling course and then followed some common sense, he could have continued to covert the masses to his doctrine for many more years!

All the best