Jump to content

Life In The Metaxy With Dylan Moran


HitchWithMe
 Share

Recommended Posts

Comedian Dylan Moran once said that you can’t believe in religion; or that you could but people will laugh at you and throw things.  It’s been concluded that, in the 20th century, religion is more or less a panic reaction to the universal fear of death.

 

Above his critiques was his own concession.  Even children, he says, purposely draw the attention of adults to themselves as a means to validate their own existence.  “Look at me!  I can do this!”  Adults are no different.  We need to know that someone or something watches our accomplishments and will miss us when we are gone.  It’s amazing when we have to turn to our humorists to deliver to us the most blunt truths.  Perhaps we need the opiate of laughter to numb us to the reality of such a subject matter.

 

When our species began to wrestle with an awareness of its finiteness and a cold and empty cosmos, we invented god.  God became someone to watch over us, someone to miss us when we were gone.  When the thought of being gone became too much to bare we invented the messianic religions that saved us from a fate of nothingness after death.  The god we invented became so personalized and like us that he would come to earth and live among us undetected until the proper time.

 

I can see why people believe in religion – or at least why people want to believe in religion.  In its simplest terms we just don’t want to be alone.

 

It’s been a couple months since my cousin accused me of being some kind of angry atheist.  It created a small wall between us.  I’ve come to wrestle with this in the early mornings of summer when the night air is thick and motionless.  I’ve taken his thoughts to heart.  I’ve done my best to envision a way to maintain a sense of integrity for both my own conclusions as well as the conclusions of others who do not see the world on the same terms.  I fear that I’ve alienated myself from people that I generally care for because of their love for their own faith.  To love the person and voice a healthy skepticism is a tricky road to navigate.

 

 It’s akin to walking a forest path in the darkness as the normally relied upon senses and rational for navigating do no good when darkness sets in.  You have to rely on other information to recognize when the path beneath your feet begins to break into wilderness and you have to stumble back to a form of travel that is fair and even keel. 

 

It has become a past time for me to accept people of faith as long as it doesn’t pull me from my path.  Since I’m allowing a pseudo acceptance for something I know there is no good evidence, I’m careful about how far down the side of path I slide before I’m completely off of it. 

 

A woman from my work had a chat with me about bringing children into the world, about going for it and getting on with the living of life.  Her daughter miscarried seven months into her pregnancy; enduring all the pain of childbirth and receiving none of the joy.  I love this woman and the only thing we would not agree on is what actually carried her family through this hardship.  Where she see god, I see her unfaltering love and a relentlessly caring mother.  She sees god as an inspiration while I see god as a parasite taking credit for all the goodness in her life.  God will take claim for that goodness while the miscarriage itself remains a “mystery” in light of an omnipotent god who received daily prayers from his faithful for a healthy baby.

 

When conversations get heavy like that, I’m not surprised that people invoke the language of faith.  There is no doubt that this woman believes in god.  But to try and take that away from her seems like trying to change the tide.  The idea runs abrasive to what feels natural and beautiful.  It matters to me if my ideas are true and I want her to have the same sentiment.  At the same time, I don’t want to change her if she is not actively hurting herself or others.

 

For months now I’ve been having debates like this inside my head, imagining talking people through a flawed reasoning or sharing with them about how I came through a similar experience without the need for religion.  After awhile it begins to feel like a barrier to relationships in addition to being a waste of energy.  I still think that faith is flawed and far from virtue.  But me constantly fretting about it doesn’t make my effort any less of a waste of time than faith itself.

 

I’ve come to a few safe conclusions.

 

First: I can see why people would want to have faith in religion.  When a child is lost or a cancer test comes back positive, there can be nothing more comforting than thinking that something with control of the whole cosmos is watching over us and the tiniest details are all part of a larger plan that does not end with the ceasing of our own heartbeat.  I can see why people want to believe in this.

 

Second: I can see why I left the world of faith.  This too makes sense.  While I can see why people remain in faith because there is a desire to see existence through a created meaning rather than a meaning we ourselves create, I can’t help but think truth is best even it seems cruel at the offset.

 

Third: I can see why I stayed in the halls of faith as long as I did.  And this is the point at which reality bites the hardest.  This is the point in which people need to realize that while religion often comforts, it can easily do just as much damage as good. 

 

I did not stay in faith because of a lost loved one or a cancer scare.  I did not believe in Christianity because I thought it was a positive grounding that affirmed the center of my being.  I stayed because the most horrible and untrue things that I believed about myself from the depths of depression and self-loathing were confirmed by my faith life.  “You are a wretched, sinful, rebellious waste,” language that oppresses the depressed and justifies further abuse – this is what kept me coming back.  How much better a savior sells when a person hears week after week the extent of his own derangement.

 

And so I don’t know what my responsibility to this woman is.  I don’t know what my reaction is to be when she finds balance between an all powerful god and a miscarried grandchild.  I love her and I don’t want to change her.  So what do I do? 

 

In the end, I guess I can say that I am thankful that my vision is no longer this convoluted.  All of us want to feel as though we are being watched and looked after.  I don’t think there is anything more human than that.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't need to go about trying to change what other people believe, it is their business. As long as you have found peace, that is all that matters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't need to go about trying to change what other people believe, it is their business. As long as you have found peace, that is all that matters.

 

Yeah - I think you're right...control is illusion; best to just let it slip away :o)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love Dylan Moran so much. I think he's one of the straws that began stacking on the camel's proverbial back. Glad to see that you know him too! 

Regarding miscarriage - A mormon friend of mine lost her baby boy in the labor room several months ago, and the only way I could think of comforting her in my own way (without interfering with her very faithful family and friends) was giving food. I think that's the best way to help people who are in grief, if you're not the shoulder to cry on. If a miscarriage eventually becomes a reason for her to disbelieve, she may arrive at that conclusion on her own, but you, as someone who has never suffered a miscarriage, can never be the one to make that connection for her. Even if it's a conversation between you and her mother, that subject is untouchable. 

If this happened fairly recently, make or buy her a casserole or something. Or maybe buy her a sack of groceries. I'm sure mom would be more than happy to deliver whatever you have in mind. I've heard that people who are in grief often find that daily tasks and normal activities become burdensome. So try to help her with the little things to make her life easier than it is right now. 

 

I think that showing kindness is ultimately be more helpful than a debate, in demonstrating that they are not alone in this world. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

We don't need to go about trying to change what other people believe, it is their business. As long as you have found peace, that is all that matters.

 

Yeah - I think you're right...control is illusion; best to just let it slip away ohmy.png)

 

 

The need to control others is creepy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

We don't need to go about trying to change what other people believe, it is their business. As long as you have found peace, that is all that matters.

 

Yeah - I think you're right...control is illusion; best to just let it slip away ohmy.png)

 

The only thing you ever are truly in control of is what you choose to think.

 

Don't let others do that for you.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

We don't need to go about trying to change what other people believe, it is their business. As long as you have found peace, that is all that matters.

 

Yeah - I think you're right...control is illusion; best to just let it slip away ohmy.png)

 

 

The need to control others is creepy.

 

 

Yet still widely practiced in our world. To a degree that gets worse and worse while we all pretend like our modern governments and such evolved sensibility is actually doing the opposite...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

We don't need to go about trying to change what other people believe, it is their business. As long as you have found peace, that is all that matters.

 

Yeah - I think you're right...control is illusion; best to just let it slip away ohmy.png)

 

The only thing you ever are truly in control of is what you choose to think.

 

Don't let others do that for you.

 

 

That's pretty profound.  I can think of few other positive life philosophies that can be summed up so succinctly. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 It’s amazing when we have to turn to our humorists to deliver to us the most blunt truths.  Perhaps we need the opiate of laughter to numb us to the reality of such a subject matter.

 

I reckon the best comedians are the ones who take the truth and make us laugh at it! The wise fool appears quite often in literature.

 

I agree that people''s beliefs are their own business, we're all trying to make sense of the world in our own small ways and just because my search for meaning or whatnot has deviated from the path of religion doesn't mean people who are still religious have it any less sussed than I have.

 

I won't buy into the whole 'religion gives them peace and keeps them happy' reason for not challenging them and rocking the boat though, for the same reason I found that mentality pretty patronising as a Christian - many people's faith can withstand a large amount of boat-rocking and welcome the chance to debate as their beliefs are founded on faith and debates are mainly founded on reason, so the worry you'll ruin their peace of mind is unfounded.

 

Also looking back as my time as a Christian (my experience from a peacefulness point of view may be different as places that would challenge my views weren't hard to find - but still this is where my view of not challenging Christians so they may live blindly on in peace comes from), all the gubbins it was tied up with didn't result in happiness as the main feeling - sure there was God looking out for me, but he also thought I was sinful and wretched. I don't think I stuck with the faith because I wanted peace - I wanted to make things difficult for myself. I think this may be true with a few other Christians I've met, we all have our reasons and some are a bit more complicated than 'it's nice to be wanted'.

 

Anyway, this miscarriage must be a pretty hard time for this lady, I think at this time she needs comfort as she comes to terms with it and makes whatever sense she can of it - now is not the time to leap in with 'God's not real' as she may interpret that as you exploiting a family misfortune to make a point. You can help her without getting involved in the wider coping mechanisms she has.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.