Monday, December 18, 2006

T'is the Season to be Spiritually Bankrupt

Apparently my religious dilettantism continues, as my summer and fall flirtation with atheism hasn't really worked out for me. I think the problem is that I consider the world at large to be a cold, brutal and mean-spirited place. This makes atheism attractive in that the idea that there couldn't possibly be a god of any sort jives with how I see the world. What kind of god would create something as flawed as the human race? Either a mean one, a crazy one, or no one (cuz there ain't one).

That said, how the hell can I be expected to get up and face this world every day without some sort of faith in something larger than myself? There's no point in trying to convince myself that things aren't as bad as they seem, because they clearly are. The planet's falling apart, we're all a bunch of shit for brains self-absorbed psychotic children, and if civilization as we know it survives another hundred years I'll be both surprised and bitterly disappointed.

So what to do, what to do? Can't kill yourself, because then you're just nothing, gone without any more shit, but also without any more hope or goodness of any kind. Becoming part of a cold, meaningless void doesn't seem like a good alternative to my current state as part of a cold, meaningless planet featuring occasional bright spots like nice people, good food and puppies.

Still, the bright spots aren't enough to distract me completely from all the dim reality of daily nonsense and pointlessness. I think I need to have some faith in something, and it will probably have to be something supernatural since being a Humanist requires I have faith in humanity, which I generally don't. New problem though: every religion is either an obvious pile of steaming bullshit, a private club for intolerant, violent fuckwads (who a: don't deserve to live on this planet and b: will be in for a major disappointment when they finally shuffle the fuck off this mortal coil and find that instead of pearly gates, multiple virgins, and old friends and family waiting for them they've got a mouth full of dirt and bugs), or loopy-loo la la hippy freaks rambling about runes, crystals, astral plains, fairy tribes and the marvelous history of their ideas which go back either to the pre-Christian era or to 1973, depending on who you ask.

I'm half tempted to go to church, actual mainstream, slightly liberal protestant Christian church, just to see if it will finally make me feel anything. It never has before but at least it's familiar, I've skimmed at least part of the required reading, and I don't have to sacrifice anything/anyone, circumcise myself, give up drinking or sit on a mountain top for 30 years or until I figure things the fuck out, whichever comes first. I'm not excited about this prospect, because I'm fully aware that Christianity is so damned LAME. Maybe the religion itself isn't, I have no idea I've only gone to church. Church is definitely lame, possibly the lamest thing since killing in the name of a god who's sixth rule out of ten is THOU SHALT NOT KILL. Lord have some fucking mercy.

I'll miss atheism in a lot of ways. It's clinical, scientific and seriously less lame than a 10am Sunday service. But it's also cold, hopeless and offers nothing to stave off depression at the state of things as they seem to be. I thought faith in humanity and myself would be enough to get through, but it's not. I don't have faith in the majority of humanity, and I know myself well enough to have faith that I'll occasionally do the right thing, but will do the wrong thing just as often. I also know that even if I did my best for the rest of my life, there's only so much I can do before I'm dirt, and if I don't believe in anything more than mankind I'm going to have to live with the certainty that when I die, things will still be shit for eons to come and all I'll have to show for trying is a weather-beaten headstone and my own private hole in the dirt.

I'm not denying that there's a strong possibility that we're all just sacks of meat who are here for the sole purpose of eventually rotting. What I'm suggesting is that for me personally, I think it might be better if I can convince myself that there is a greater purpose. Whether there really is or not is irrelevant, as long as I believe that there isn't then life is just too depressing for words. On and on we go, generation after generation marching ever onward to what, the day the sun explodes?

Most people I know seem to be capable of living with this idea just fine, since they spend every day being distracted and entertained by the bright, shiny, noisy and utterly pointless pursuits of contemporary western culture. Why on earth would anybody worry about the meaning of life and the purpose behind centuries of evolution and so-called "progress" when Entertainment Tonight is debating the pros and cons of Britney Spears flashing her cooch at the general public and after that everybody's going to Walmart to buy new clothes and vibrators?

Fuck that. Maybe being distracted is what's best for me, but I refuse to let my distraction come in the form of something that costs me only $5.95 a month and comes with batteries, a carrying case and lubricating gel. There has got to be a greater point to this entire process and I am damned well going to find out what that is if it takes me the rest of this life and any others I may or may not have in store. Maybe religion isn't the answer, maybe it's just as lame a distraction as buying a never ending supplies of things that subsequently I can't understand how I ever lived without. But at least it costs less.

Thriftiness: next to godliness.



lycradog said...

Here's how I look at the world:
It's like being in a dark, sucky, shitty, annoying place with all sorts of dumb assholes everywhere and bad weather and nothing good like music or anything, and you're really hungry, and someone gives you something that you know will suck and won't make things better but you eat it anyway, 'cause meh, there's nothing else there. And if you die, you might miss something.

In other words, I hear you. Personally though, I take comfort in everything being inherently meaningless. It takes the pressure off, because no matter what you do, it's still part of an astronomically unlikely and therefore highly interesting fluke. 'Meaning' is just a made-up human term anyway, probably the result of our highly advanced brains out-pacing our ability to know ourselves well enough to not be constantly confused as fuck by everything.

bean said...

many days i want to hit the "off" button for the world, but i can't-- because i don't have access to it. you, depending on how you look at it, might be lucky. failing that, lately i've been motivating myself (when i can) with the fact that i'm here, so i might as well make the best of it. sometimes this means inxtoxication, sometimes carnal pleasures, sometimes youtube videos (these are clearly my distractions)-- but others, i actually try to do good and to try to make living more fun for those around me, as for G_d, you both know pretty much where I stand. I like to think there's something there, likely one grand one made from lots of multicultural elephant and snake gods who like to do it and whose names i won't bother to remember. oh, and aliens exist. sometimes this is enough to keep me (moderately) excited about being alive. that, and the possibility of seeing Danzig live.

ESY said...
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