Building a fiction
Originally posted at Medium.com
For years, I attended church with my grandparents without question. I figured it was something everyone did. All the while, never thinking deeply about the practice. I have a hard time thinking any child does. I was more fixated on coloring the program and the idea that there would be donuts after the service.
I was never uncomfortable in the church, in fact quite the opposite. The church itself was a quaint and quiet. Services consisted of solemn hymns, prayer, and a sermon. No rock music. Little humor. Just mellow preaching and lessons. As a child, nothing overly exciting resonated with me nor did anything feel uncomfortable or unbearable. Though, I never took any of it to heart. Never asked who Jesus was, how the Bible came to be, or what the purpose of religion actually is. Going to church was just a speed-bump that kept me from playing with my LEGOs or took me away from the computer.
Around the age of 15, I abandoned the idea of God. This abandonment came not during a deep an introspective struggle but my first contemplation on the matter. Somewhere between reading Fahrenheit 451, listening to Thursday’s Full Collapse, and the events of 9/11, I decided that I wanted to contemplate the meaning of life. Very quickly, I realized that this did not include the existence of God. My sense of logic no longer jived with the matter-of-fact nature of God that was taught by Christianity. When weighing the morality of my actions, I never thought about the judgment of God. Instead, I thought about how they would impact others. There was more power in being called a “dick” by an openly gay classmate than I had ever encountered in a church.
Along with the omission of God, there was no afterlife. This thought alone sparked my productive fuse and drove me on an ongoing mission of legacy. To live on, I needed to make a positive mark on the world and those around me. I infused this into music, film, and writing. Enjoyment in popcorn flicks turned sour as I sought out works that delivered profound and thought provoking messages.
While God was not present, I became curious about other philosophies and religions. I was obsessed with deeper meaning. I began to ponder the thoughts of intellectuals and stumbled across the following quote:
“The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.” — Einstein
God is infathomable. I have long made the argument that we cannot accurately picture 100 pennies scattered in front of us. What makes us think we can accurately assess the intentions of God?
“Our brain evolved on the Serengeti (or wherever it was in Africa) where your biggest problem was food, sex, and shelter, not contemplating infinities. If we needed to contemplate infinities to survive, math would be everybody’s… calculus! would be everybody’s easiest topic because calculus is all about limits and infinities and getting finite answers from infinite regressions. Our brain is not wired that way so it is stressful to for many people to think of infinities or infinitesimals; anything that is uncountable doesn’t blend well with our brains.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Nerdist Podcast
Perception also becomes increasingly difficult when we are told to look at the world a certain way:
“Best-selling author and top motivational speaker Anthony Robbins demonstrates this with a simple activity. In his three-day seminars, he asks the thousands of people in attendance to look around and count how many items of green clothing they can see. He gives them a few minutes to do this and then asks them for their findings. He then asks them how many items of red clothing they saw. Most people can’t even begin to answer the question because Robbins told them to look for items of green clothing, and they only focused on those.”
Excerpt From: ROBINSON, PH.D., KEN. “The Element.” ( iBooks )
With this thought, I realized that I do believe in God. It may or may not be a god with a plan or judgement or love. It may or may not be a state-of-mind. There is absolutely no way to tell.
I don’t find it blasphemous to have fun with your idea of God if it brings you peace. Under this unlimited context, the idea of resurrection makes sense. The idea of permanent death makes sense. The idea that this world is only a slice of reality and that our dreams are visions into other realms makes sense. Believe in what makes you comfortable. Uncertainty in religion and God is a beautiful thing. Your God is your god.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve come full circle, from believer to non-believer and back. I would say that by choosing to cast aside “certainty” opens each day to new possibilities and eye opening experiences. Some of which might bring you right back to where you started. Some of which might create something that suits you; your own fiction of sorts.
Sometimes you’ve got to tear it down to build it back up.