There are Millions of people dead because they got the wrong answer to” The God Question”. What’s the “God Question” you ask?
‘Do you believe in God?’
Then we have….
“Do you believe in God?”
“What if God was one of us?
I’m not entirely or exactly certain regarding what my position is on God, Jehovah, Yahweh The Great Spirit or whatever you want to call him, her or it . I like the North American Indian term “The Great Spirit”…It shows reverence, without going over the top…there is also an air of mystery in such a moniker. I pray every night before I go to bed. I say what I have come to call “My Agnostic’s Prayers”…This is how they go in case you’re wondering. Sometimes I change it up a little.
( Yep I really start with ‘Dear God’. I’m polite and respectful…what can I say? Plus I’m more than a little afraid of him. I should also note that I clasp my hands together most nights….not always, but most nights. What can I say, I’m old school)
“Thank you for my job, my friends, my family, my kitty, the roof over my head, the food in the fridge…
( I am grateful for these things. I’ve been without some of them before, which allows for more appreciation. Sometimes I give thanks for other things…” a warm bed, the nice day, some times I mention Jama; my best friend by name etc.” )
“Forgive me for my sins”
(Then I list them as if some almighty, all knowing entity wouldn’t be fully aware of every last shenanigan, transgression and varying degrees of naughtiness that I’ve been up to…I just want him to know that I know. This is a tactic I have learned from interacting with and living with women)
“Forgive me for my impatience ( Is this really a sin? It is said that patience is a virtue, but does that mean that lack of patience is a sin? I don’t know…it seems sin-ish Regardless I ask for forgiveness for it anyway…Interesting as impatience is a huge part of who I am.)
“Forgive me for when I am dishonest, unkind, forgive me for my laziness.”
(Then I get to the asking part. I guess the batting order of my prayer is to get The Great Spirit in a good mood with humility, admissions, and appreciation before I drop the wish list on him. I don’t ask for money…which is something I really, really want as well as really, really need. I just figure he gets asked for money all the time…coupled with all the prayers he must get for more important stuff like biopsy results… For some reason I also think he might get angry with monetary requests….plus he knows my financial situation, probably better than me. So, instead I ask for things that I think will impress him, make him think I have substance and depth. Who knows, maybe he’ll take a page from my great-grandmother’s book and slip a fiver in my birthday card.
“Please God, give me wisdom, luck, inspiration, and strength. Help me to be a good person…and if my mom is with you, tell her I miss her.. I hope she’s in a good place and let her know I’m OK”
So those are my agnostic’s prayers give or take a line, an affirmation or a ‘Thank You’. Maybe I’m just saying them for me. Maybe I’m trying to cover my ass just in case there is a judgment and an afterlife based upon how much of a douchebag one has been in life. Maybe this prayer like ritual keeps me grounded. Maybe I just feel guilty and have a fair sense of gratitude. I don’t know, which is ironic because in regards to God, his existence, his plan, his wishes, I also…don’t…know. It’s interesting as I think most of the deeply religious people on Earth think they are superior to those who are not religious. This is handy as I found myself feeling a little superior by admitting that I don’t know. Isn’t that fascinating?…Regardless of what we know, think we know or admit that we know nothing….we all have varying degrees of feeling theologically superior to all the other idiots out there? Recently we have seen an increase in Atheists being rather outspoken. For people who often seem to feel vastly superior to those who practice various faiths; they aren’t always very nice about it. That’s another sad yet interesting thing about religion and God. None of us knows, for absolutely certain about the existence of God. Yet our opinions and beliefs can be so strong about the subject. People die, gladly, secure in this knowledge. But it’s not knowledge. It’s faith….strong faith. That faith is so strong that it gets confused as knowledge.
I wanted to revisit the money thing for a moment. I need money. I don’t have enough money. I want more money. I could use more money. Many people are in this boat. However, instead of The Great Spirit tossing down a winning lottery ticket to me, he has given me things with which to make, produce and earn the coveted shekels. A winning lottery ticket does kind of seem like divine intervention. It’s also not always or even often a blessing. As I said I have been given the means to care for myself. I have been given 2 arms and legs that work, a mind that is reasonably sharp…sometimes, depending on who you ask. I have a work ethic. I have created references and experience for myself. I also have a little gumption.
While it might be nice to win the lottery and quit my job via sky-writing and/or a marching band, and to buy a big house with a middle-finger shaped pool…I wonder how happy I would be. To being with, I like my employers and my job. So, as fun as it sounds I wouldn’t quit in an entertaining manner. While it would be nice to not have to worry about money, to live in a nice house and buy nice things…it wouldn’t fulfill me completely. I also think that earning something is conducive to its appreciation.
I was born a Catholic. I was Christened and or baptized. We celebrated Christmas and Easter, but the celebrations were much more about presents, choco-bunnies and jellybeans as opposed to Midnight masses and such. For a brief period I was a Born Again Christian…and from what I understand of their faith, I still am a Born Again Christian. I once asked a bible school teacher…
“So if you accept Jesus Christ into your heart, you’re going to Heaven, no matter what?”
“Yes Scott” she replied
“So,” I continued ” If someone really, really bad like Hitler accepted Jesus into his heart, he’d still go to Heaven…even after all the bad things he did”
“Yes Scott” she answered without pausing to think. “If they truly believed that Jesus Christ is our savior and died for our sins, and they truly accepted him in their hearts…then they would go to Heaven”
Hmmmm. This sounded suspicious, even to my 9 year old sensibilities. Almost too good to be true. Can’t hurt to ask JC into my heart. He seemed like an exceptionally nice guy. It would be nice to have my afterlife squared away at such an early age. One less thing to worry about. Check that box. I’m covered.
As a punk rocker and goth teen my mother hated the cross earrings and rosary beads I wore.
“It’s sacrilegious” she’d say. She was funny my mom. She too was raised a Catholic, an even more strict Catholic than me…she actually went to church as a child, was confirmed.(Correction, she was made to go to church, get confirmed and take communion) . She read extensively on different religions, faith and spirituality. I think she was an agnostic of sorts, though a much more well informed and less sinful agnostic than her wayward son. Later in life she used to speak kindly of the rituals of the Catholic Church…mass said in Latin and things like that. I think this was more of an aesthetic appreciation though.
I wasn’t being sacrilegious. I was being trendy. Surely God understands adolescents much better than parents, guidance counselors and MTV hosts. I wish I had thought to say this 30 years ago, but we always think of the right thing to say after the right time to say them has passed. Instead I probably just rolled my eyes at my poor mother and inwardly delighted that I was pissing her off.
My mother also had more than a passing interest in Zen/Buddhism. She experimented with things in life…like vegetarian cooking, feminist philosophy and Zen. I think my mom can be summarized in that she believed in the golden rule. Being kind made her feel good about herself, and she was, on the whole a good person with a sense of decency and duty.
God? Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It’s the goof of all time. Look but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, don’t swallow. Ahaha. And while you’re jumpin’ from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He’s laughin’ His sick, fuckin’ ass off! He’s a tight-ass! He’s a SADIST! He’s an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER
-John Milton-Lucifer- Devils Advocate
Yes, I’m a little afraid of God. Long ago, that was a compliment for people of substance and an indication of decency. “He’s a good God-Fearin’ man”. They said that a lot on one of my favorite TV shows of all time; Little House On The Prairie. Given the years of horrifying luck and circumstances that befell the Ingall’s clan on the prairie, I’d be afraid of God too. He really heaped the tests of faith on them….crops ruined, daughter struck blind, fires, crib death, blind school burned down….And these were people who read the Bible and went to church every Sunday. They were ” good God-Fearin folks”.
Why am I afraid of God? Well, I suppose it’s because after spending a few years on this planet and I’ve seen what he can do. But I also think God’s kind of cool. He has a strange sense of humor, but so do I.
While being a little afraid of God, and being uncertain of his existence, I am fascinated by the idea of God. Anyone who stops to review the hand(s) of fate, luck as well as cause and effect and their roles in our lives should have some belief in some kind of universal intelligence with a warped sense of humor pulling some strings.
I think it was Nietzsche who theorized that if God is a supreme being, then surely he is well above such human pettiness as jealousy (that does away with Commandment Number 1 by the way) anger and a need for praise all the time. I think Nietzsche also wrote that “God was dead”. Then again, Nietzsche died of syphilis. Guess who got the last laugh there?
I have mixed feelings on the very religious. On one hand I despise their judgmental stances on issues that are none of their business whatsoever. I loath their trying to convert others; although I think, according to the Bible; Jesus said something along the lines of “Spread the word”
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
Now, does this mean spread the word… Build churches, hold meetings and such? OR to ring my doorbell at 7am and shove pamphlets in my face, or to burst into whatever subway car I’m riding in and begin yelling at me about Jesus? I was once on the subway when a young, muscular and heavily tattooed young man who looked like he’d spent some time in prison recently got into my subway car and started a Hip Hop rap/chant….angrily,..very angrily about Jesus. He literally looked like he’d whip out a box cutter and carve any and every other passenger who wasn’t interested in his views on Jesus. I don’t argue with or mock such people . I just smile and give them a quarter. Well, I suppose I do mock them, but from the safety of behind my computer screen.
From the little that I have read, JC seemed like an incredibly well adjusted, enlightened, kind and cool person, but not a pest. He also didn’t strike me as a snob or someone who was judgmental and rejected others because of who they were, who they loved or things like that.
The flip side of that coin are people who are happy and convinced that they live a righteous existence and are going to Heaven when they die. I once saw a fellow on TV. a farmer from the Midwest who while standing in front of his tractor was saying how much he loved being a farmer, and how fulfilled he was to have the time to “Ride my tractor and think about the Lord”.
Now, city slickers like myself might scoff at this rube and his beliefs…But in reality, this guy was happy. He was fulfilled. No prozac or therapy for this guy. He enjoyed his life. He didn’t ponder or sweat the eternal questions like many of us. Often I find myself wishing I had that level of serenity coupled with having all the answers. I’m a questioner…and the worst kind of skeptic regarding the answers that I am given.
In closing these are just my layman’s observations on The Great Spirit. I don’t have all the answers, In fact, I don’t have any of the answers. I don’t even have all the questions.
I suppose I hope there is a God. I hope he is all loving, knowing and forgiving. I hope he keeps an eye on me from time to time, and that something happens after we die. I often think of seeing my mom again after I die. This is a common and very human belief. It can help us to cope with loss.
Thanks for reading.