part 2-the collision (a synopsis of my cynicism, i'm a one trick pony)
I am trying my best to be eloquent through this whole dig. i think the few people who do visit my narcissistic blog are exhausted by my elementary cynicism, but for some reason it is always the fuel for my posts. This is part 2 to my previous post, and this ventures deeper into my confusing and contradicting, silly opinions and my collegiate born disposition on spirituality. sometimes people say I'm not a christian, some of my friends call me a "closet atheist"...but that is all non sense. I am merely a curious boy, and my thought process concerning reality and the existence of christ is one that I do not take lightly. looking back on my years in college, it is no surprise that I started to think differently, isn't that typical? that is when kids learn about Betrand Russel's "will to doubt", and they get behind social causes; that is when God stops making sense, questions of free will, omnipotence and the sick human condition come into play and things break down. Cliche arguments spring up everywhere, they are fought for for a little while until the urgency of living takes the place of a learning environment. I started taking some philosophy classes in college, not all of them were interesting. I had intro to philosophy, a class called "ways of knowing", (which despite it's bullshit title was actually pretty interesting), I had a class called "sex gender and philosophy" which was where I was introduced to Foucault. I didn't understand him then, and I don't understand him now. I wasn't reading a whole lot at the time, but I had begun to delve into Noam Chomsky with a little more enthusiasm. In my classes, I was introduced to "human reason", empiricism, sense perception, questions of reality, and what was most interesting to me was some philosophers attempt at proving the existence of God based solely on logic and reason, not faith. I liked that, because convincing someone of Christ's existence is an impossible task, and more than likely, trying to convince someone with terms like "faith" is silly, because faith means nothing to people who have never experienced faith in the Christian context. So here I was learning about concepts such as (from what I remember), the "Greatest Conceivable Being" argument, and at the same time, I was reading about how people were disproving the existence of God with the same tool of reason. Pascal said that you can both prove and disprove the existence of God, and that just shows the limits of man's reason. I wasn't set out to rebel against God, but I was determined to learn why there were so many religions, so many faiths, and so many ways of thinking about God, even within the church. I grew up convinced that Christianity was the only way to heaven, and my faith was my conviction, although, now I come to find out that there are other religions whose followers display a faith deeper and more consistent than any one I ever knew growing up in the church, and they were "crazy" right? So what did that make me? Why was voodoo silly, and islam crazy, but christianity sensible? I was finding out that many religions held generally the same belief systems, the same set of basic morals, but used different stories and illustrations to communicate it to people. The different religions were becoming cultural conduits to the idea of God, a God in general. And as I write this, I'm well aware that these potholes and barriers in ones' development is not unique, I believe that anyone who cares about anything enough to commit their life to it, should get to the bottom of it all before the go spouting off dogma and trying to convince people to believe what they believe, and to this day, I think that many christians who witness, so eager and blind in their newly acquired job to bring people to Christ, are hardly aware of why they themselves believe it, beyond the fact that they were raised (conditioned) that way. You can't convince anyone of anything if you don't know why you believe it yourself, and so, for my whole tenure in college, I had no desire to persuade people towards Christ at all, I was well aware of my shallow depths, and even more so, my ceiling concerning the human experience. Like I've said many times before , being a Christian was easy for me, it required no faith, only those silly fall back bible verses that come in handy when someone asks you a question you could never answer, of course, those always leave you unsatisfied if you are honest with yourself. I was going to this church in Oveido, a small town in central Florida, and the more I went, the more I felt confined and cheated. I am making no judgements on people, nor do I know their lives, or the hardships they've been through, but I will say that when I look back, going to church reduced my scope. It was reduced to a level which left me drowning and angry in the "fantasy of christianity". I didn't know it at the time, but now, I realized what was not connecting, and that I was never made aware of Christ's connection to humanity, it was never practical, it was always lofty and out of this world and sometimes reeked of bigotry. I began to flat out disagree with what my church and surrounding christians were saying. Whether it be politics or lifestyle, I wasn't seeing eye to eye. It wasn't as though my views were extreme, but I felt that theirs was archaic in a sense, they never accounted for diversity or human design and condition at all. I know that might sound vague, but from what I was hearing, their idea of an ideal christian was to be built out of a specific, strict mold, which ultimately cheated and undermined the idea of man being God's creation and love, which the church itself claimed to be a steward of. They would go on and on how to be a good christian and how to rely on faith, although, sometimes I feel no one knows how to be a good Christian, because God and Christ will never cease to be a mystery. It's hard to imagine the ideal of Christianity being made appealing, the objective story of Christ is tragic, it is not something to rejoice. It is a display of human arrogance and cruelty. The obstinate pride and, at the same time, rational response of humanity, to a man claiming to be the son of God.
"With our knowledge of who Christ is (if in other respects one can have knowledge of that at all) or at least imagining that we have knowledge, let us not, coming eighteen hundred years later, consider the miracle and then become convinced. What abysmal nonsense!........Pay attention to the situation of contemporaneity; if you do not pay attention to that, then you deceive yourself into a delusion. the point is that in Christendom one has only a fantasy picture of Christ, a fantasy God-figure, directly related to performing miracles. But this is an untruth; Christ never looked like that. The Christianity of Christendom is fantasy in both respects--with respect to miracles and with respect to Christ. In the situation of contemporaneity you are placed between this inexplicable thing (but from that it still does not follow that it is a miracle) and then an individual human being who looks like others--and it is he who does it"
That quote is from Kierkegaard's "Practice in Christianity" and I like it because it mentions the fantasy of Christendom, and that relates to my life growing up and the ease in which I was a Christian. It seemingly would offend Christ, and to this day I offend Christ. All of the wonders of these miracles, Christ walking the earth so meekly and pleasant, leaving love and compassion in his wake...that is not how i see it. He was controversial, he represented everything the Church is against; and if you believe in the story of Christ, then it should just be reaffirmed, being that he was killed.
"Why says the established order to the single individual, do you want to torture and torment yourself with the enormous criterion of ideality; turn to the established order, join the established order, here is the criterion. If you are a student, then you can be sure that the professor is the criterion of truth. If you are a clergyman, then the bishop is the way and the life. If you are a clerk, then the councilor of justice is the goal"
"Surely enough, this deification of the established order is the perpetual revolt, the continual mutiny against God"
"The deification of the established order, however, is the smug invention of the lazy, secular human mentality that wants to settle down and fancy that now there is total peace and security, now we have achieved the highest"
I'm continually shocked and put off when people can't understand me when I say that Christ and Christianity bear no relation, the latter has done all it can to replace and abuse the former, manipulate our free will, our tenacity and dedication to unconditional love, and it bled it's way into politics, allowing it spew and spit poison all over America and the world. I'm infuriated. I was reading about the "Grand Inquisitor" and I fell upon the term "spiritual agony" and I understood it completely. I think "The Grand Inquisitor" is one of the most amazing pieces of literature. It deals directly with the issue of free-will and truth in relation to the weakness of man and the idea that God, allowing us the knowledge of good and evil, and man can not deal with that much freedom. In a sense, that is God's mistake, in remaining a mystery and allowing mankind to chose for him/herself, he essentially set us out to ,eventually, destroy all that he stood for.
"So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find some one to worship. But man seeks to worship what is established beyond dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. For these pitiful creatures are concerned not only to find what one or the other can worship, but to find something that all would believe in and worship; what is essential is that all my be together in it. This craving for community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity from the beginning of time. For the sake of common worship, they've slain each other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged one another, 'Put away your gods and come and worship ours, or we will kill you and your gods!' And so it will be to the end of the world, even when gods disappear from the earth; they will fall down before idols just the same". (Dostoevsky)
In my life, church never dealt with the mystery of Christ, and the contrary, or paradox nature of his relation to humanity. I resented it, I thought I would be better off experiencing my life else where. Faith is worth nothing if it is never challenged with the truth and tragedy, euphoria and intoxication of living. Kierkegaard talked about the idea of a continual becoming in regards to development and growth, in finding out who you are. He talks about fear and trembling, unease, unrest and torment in the process of becoming. And I identify with it. My bitterness or cynicism doesn't come from a dark unexplained place, it comes from what I feel to be the obvious display of human arrogance and folly. It comes from living in such an absurd world. I do not have to travel far or read much to see it, I can simply start by looking in a mirror. Christianity is not an exclusive social club, but that's what the church has made it. I do not like to go to church, I do not like displays of public worship, they make me uncomfortable. I don't know what to make of it all, but I do not fear my reactions or my mind, or my heart. I do not fear my reason, nor do I rely on it. I am well aware that I am learning, therefore this post should not be taken as a self-righteous sermon, it should be read as an explanation and attempt at a justification of myself, that I love to explore. It's challenging, and my disposition is not unique, but I do feel it is valuable and honest. I do not claim to be agnostic, I do not call on my own rational to explain away the mysteries of Christ, I will not proclaim anything, because to me that is a display of certainty, and I am obviously not certain of anything. But there are things that I can't deny or shrug off. I am a cynic, I think we should all be. It does not eradicate joyful emotions, or appreciation, or wonderment, or love. It magnifies it, because to experience beauty while being aware of what surrounds it, to experience beauty while being aware of where it was born from, where it was created from..what motivated it , what it means, what it translates...that is an experience that will provide that peace of mind for a split second, and I savor it, and I always remember that it's there, underneath all of the mess we have all accumulated. The fact that beauty still exists at all is a testament to miracle, considering we've done all we can to rid our planet of anything sacred or real, anything that is valuable to the soul and heart is quickly marginalized and sold. I'm exhausted...maybe there will be part 3? Surely there is more to myself than a little bit of griping. Perhaps I'll talk about what I love next....turn the tables a bit.