Yesterday, I met with my God mother in the city for a catch up, I had not seen her in about 2 years so it was nice to have a bit of a chat and catch up on what both of us had been doing. She has always taken her position as my spiritual guide and support very seriously, and always asks me how my faith is doing. Well, well, well, that is an interesting question as I recently got married in a garden by a celebrant, with no mention of religion what so ever. So obviously I have not turned out the perfect Roman Catholic that perhaps my parents originally intended. Not that my parents are ridiculously active in the Roman Catholic Church, my mother definitely isn’t and my Dad is more of a fan of the Anglicans.
She is really a lovely woman, my momentary visits from her over the years have always been enjoyable, and I know that despite the fact that we haven’t spent heaps of time together throughout my life, that she loves me. I know that she tries to reserve judgement on me not being an active Christian, and perhaps the reality that I don’t even know that I believe in organised religion. I think I do however deep down inside believe in God, or whatever he/she is, and whatever he/she is supposed to do or mean to our human existence. I don’t believe that he/she created the world though. All that creation in seven days stuff has always seemed a bit to unrealistic to me, even when I was young and impressionable. The thing is, I still celebrate Christmas and Easter, god knows why (pardon the pun) as I don’t believe in Christ/Jesus. Well maybe there was a guy who was a do-gooder who was born and dedicated his life to helping the sick and the poor, like Mother Teresa, though I have a feeling being a nun she was inspired by this guy.
See, the whole concept of faith and belief seems to be so important to us humans, like believing in ourselves, and each other is not enough. That thinking that we can be in charge of our own destiny is not good enough, and dealing with the consequences of our own actions without passing blame to a cause is not possible. This is why I have such a hard time thinking/talking about religion, because it seems to me that people heavily/partially involved in religion seem to be incapable of shaping their own destiny, making decisions on their own, or capable of reigning themselves in when they misbehave, always asking their respective God/s for forgiveness instead of asking for it from the people they have hurt or even from themselves.
I think that young people (well I suppose I can only speak for myself here) are totally terrified by organised religion. After all, what do we see all the time around us? People committing mass atrocities against other people and doing it in the name of their God and religion. Whoever God is I am sure that he/she would not be happy with people enforcing their ideals through violence onto others, unless of course he/she is a nasty b*astard, who knows? So many wars, killing sprees, cultural take-overs, deprivation of civil rights take place everyday in the name of religion, and churches wonder why people are so opposed to religion these days? Just look at the entire of human history, yesterday, today and what horrible things people will do tomorrow in the name of religion.
I have heard many people tell me that Christianity in particular teaches people morals and values, but I don’t know whether that is necessarily true, I think that you learn these things from the people that surround you, and the people who love you, like parents, grandparents, extended family, friends, sisters, brothers, and partners. I have learnt more about life, love, care and support from my family than any church could have taught me. So I suppose I do believe in a sort of religion…the religion of family and friends, and the richness of love and humour that these special people bring to my life.
After my coffee date with my godmother I went to the Art gallery and then wandered back through a park towards home. Some gothy teenage boys were hanging under a huge fig tree in the park, and they yelled at me “Merry Christmas” then following that “I hate Christ”. I didn’t really feel anything after I heard that, no need to defend this Christ, whoever he was. How do we know he even existed anyway, but through stories that were written in a book by a collection of human beings. This is all we know of any God, through collections of historical material, all created by men and women. So how do we know it was true at all? Can science tell us? Can the believers convince us? Maybe it’s all to do with the human need to have faith in something, anything, a being that oversees and protects, and an institution that delivers the so called message from that being to the lowly parishioner. I wonder what would happen if we stopped believing in churches, religion, in a god, and started believing in ourselves, and our fellow man?
Well, for what it’s worth, Merry Christmas. Even if your not a believer, like me, perhaps we can just set this time of year aside for quality time with the ones we love.