Dying isn't scary because death isn't really death. Being alone isn't scary because you're never really alone. Facing the unknown isn't scary because He's got the biggest Excel spreadsheet, like, ever. All I have to do is find KATE on the horizontal axis and DIVINE PURPOSE on the vertical axis and slide one finger down and slide the other finger across and look to where God typed in VEGETARIAN STRIPPER except He made a typo and it says VEGITARIAN STRIPPER and so for the rest of my life I will drift, godless, because I can't respect an all-powerful almighty who can't spell. Either that or I will devote my soul's work to discovering what a VEGIT is and I will give myself over to it at the exclusion of all else. Except stripping.
Religious people are made confident by what they believe to be true. By the conviction that springs from being told what God tolerates or doesn't tolerate, hates or loves, forgives or punishes, all spelled out thanks to a guidebook of sin and salvation that makes the promise
If you can just stay inside the boundaries of | this |
everything will be okay or
at the very least
as it was meant to be.
It must be hard to be religious these days. To be constantly mocked by godless drifters. And to have to say, with every car crash and cancer, Dammit, God! What the hell?
Meanwhile, scientists are made humble by what they know to be true because the foremost gospel of science is that we don't know much of anything at all. With every new thing we learn, the depth of both our significance and our insignificance is further impressed upon us. A scientist discovers a creature with invisible, electric flesh that lives at the bottom of the Mariana Trench and all the other scientists go Wow! There's so much we don't know. Fantastic!
Guests on CBC's Quirks and Quarks always speak with a smile. They're all sing-songy and delighted. They're studying atoms and oak leaves and photon torpedoes and they're smiling because they're tapped into a bottomless source of wonder and humility: the real, random, natural world.
Ungraspable science makes me want to say:
Why expect everyone to live and love the same way?
Atoms are 99.9999999999999 per cent empty space. All the matter that makes up the human race could fit in a sugar cube.
Why condemn others for being different?
Almost all of the Universe is missing. There are more than 100 billion galaxies in the cosmos. Each has between 10 million and a trillion stars. There is an awful lot of visible matter in the Universe. But visible matter only accounts for about two per cent of its mass. The other stuff is called 'dark matter', and there seems to be around six times as much as ordinary matter. Nobody knows what it is or what it does, other than exert influence on what we can see.
Why think yourself better, bolstered by a book that tells you so?
There are an infinite number of mes writing this, and an infinite number of yous reading this. The observable universe—containing all the billions of galaxies and trillions upon trillions of stars—is just one of an infinite number of universes existing side-by-side, like soap bubbles in a foam.
I've said this before. We have all been, in various turns, gay and aboriginal and poor and abandoned and marginalized and bucking in a slaughterhouse and every other flavour of every other sort of thing. That the bible gives us leave, in this life, to feel that our path is the correct one—or to declare that the path of another is not—baffles me. I don't care that you say you love the sinner and hate the sin. The problem is the arrogance implicit in the definition of sin.
It doesn't matter. None of it matters other than the only reasonable interpretation of Christianity, which concentrates to nothing more than this:
From which one can extract this:
Temper belief with the humility of science.
I was born wearing a ruffle collar from a cathedral of the Church of England. I am not all OH RELIGION HA HA HA. I love how churches smell, how they pomp, how they make music, how they ritualize. I don't like religion masquerading as politics. I don't like religious institutions, which are, more or less, run by pickle-butted old dudes, most of whom, more or less, look like Emperor Palpatine right after he zaps Mace Windu with lightening bolts that shoot out of his fingertips.
I am inclined to the elemental 'You know nothing, and neither do I, and isn't it fantastic', which, I'm told, is Buddhism. Or Nerdism. Depends on the day.
How do you think science schools religion? How do you think religion schools science? Why does anyone care how anyone else lives? Isn't that totally exhausting? How come we're so threatened by differentness? Is there ever such a thing as too much fingertip lightning? Do people who hate tofu hate tofu itself, or only the people who eat it? Are such distinctions a waste of time when there's beer in the fridge?