The Self-Concept is a fickle thing. It starts to develop young, and as we get a little older, grow more aware of its influences, we try to wrangle it into submission. At one point, just when we think we have it subdued, it gets loose and, it is in those brief moments of panic, we hope that nobody had a camera rolling.
Many of my readers know I have been reticent to discuss matters of god; while I voice my opinion about a particular interpretation or an eisegetical understanding of the figure ‘god’, I often avoid the debate over the deity’s existence all together. There are several reasons for this reticence and, perhaps for the first time in a long time, I’d like to break my silence on the issue. But fair warning, once I finish writing this post, I suspect I shall put to rest any further comment about the subject for a while more.
If I’m going to be blunt about it, I find the whole ‘does god exist’ question to be a boring one. To be fair, it wasn’t always some banal subject for me. At an all-too-recent point in my life, the question played a large role in defining my self-concept. I lived by it, and I had lots of questions; I just thought I had more answers. I won’t say I was a fundamentalist about it, but I had grown dogmatic. I lived by a set of precepts, and by ‘lived’ I mean I was ‘blinded’ by them. Perhaps that isn’t entirely fair either. My anger, my frustration–a direct result of the question of the existence of a god–blinded me from the destructive influences these precepts had on my life.
At one point I ceased trying to talk to people who did not agree with me. The fabric of the fictional weave, or mythos, I had woven about anyone with even a modicum of faith kept me at a distance. And when I ventured close, it was only to ridicule them, or debate them, and usually this only happened on my own turf. And I wasn’t alone. The sectarianism of the movement fueled me, kept me charged, able to proceed in my own grandiose delusions about the devaluation of belief. It was pathetic. I was pathetic.
But something happened. I don’t know what it is. It was not stress, though some of my former ‘colleagues’ (I just don’t know what to call them) might argue that it was. Frankly, I have never been able to put a finger on the variable that snapped me from my meaningless, selfish existence. A lot was crashing down at that point, and among the debris I started to see the shattered pieces of the life I had been living scattered before me. It was as if I had taken part in some archaeological dig and came across fragments with my image on them, and while I saw my face clearly in the shards I could not recognize the person I was seeing. It was something from which I wanted to distance myself.
I struggled with this at first, tried to recall at what point my life had taken this awkward turn towards the path on which I had only just realized I had been treading. But the only real memory I could find was the one that had kept all that aggression. It was at that point then that I decided that whatever it was that had driven me towards this question had become irrelevant. While I could easily recount the moment I left my faith in the Christian god behind, I could no longer find the emotion that I had, at that point in my life, useful; not nearly as useful as any of the questions that had begun to take its place.
I can easily understand, even appreciate, the confusion that followed (and, apparently, is still prevalent) when I left the movement behind. But whoever I was then, I’m not now. It is unfortunate that the Inter Highway does not have a time-concept. That is to say, only a handful of the people who knew me then will read this now. And more people will come across those words I wrote years ago and will be unable to separate that dead individual from the man I currently am (and from the one I will become). It is disheartening, in a way, and hopefully they will forget the name of that person as quickly as they happened upon it. But if they search me out, it is for them that I write this post.
For those who I left behind in my journey, I have no words of comfort for you. I suspect that you are either filled with disgust, with acceptance, or are just noncommittal. Maybe you’re working up a response. Of course I welcome any discussion. But it might be important now to note that I have not even yet ventured at an answer to the question ‘does god exist?’ I have refused to answer. I do not wish to indulge your egotism, your wish to label me, to place me in some convoluted category. To hell with that. If you want to judge me, do so on my positions in other more serious matters. Do not trouble me with your bothersome rantings about the pointlessness or the value in the exultation of faith.
If you feel the urge to tell the world your position on the matter, I pity you. The question over the existence of god has ceased to be an intellectual pursuit in this radicalized society and has, instead, become one drawn-out session of incontinence after another (and I’m being polite about it). If you, adventurous reader, enjoy those sorts of discussions, of what I can only view as a form of masochism or the results of some type of virulent piety, then by all means, don’t let me stop you. Just leave me out of it.
Filed under: Belief |