Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bridging The Gap

I have been asked a few times now, what's in this for me? The answer is winded in its explanation and candid to a point that it makes me a little uncomfortable to even think about it. So forgive me if I do a poor job of explaining this. Removing the distractions from God; the faith; the religion; the outside heavily opinionated views of your fellow worshipper; the views of others not of your own faith and just focusing on God in whatever form God is, what remains?

Space. Nothing. Without the fancy intellectual clothing, God is naked to humanity. A personal journey for those who believe and want to believe that there is something more to this unexplained existence of ours. God is a nature walk without the filler. Using this analogy, for me, I stroll through life mostly on auto-pilot, going about my business and trying not to get myself killed with the numerous dangers around me. But, sometimes, I will come across a curious flower, a new construction, a strange cloud formation, a family of four walking a trail hand in hand and stop everything I am doing (hoping this is not while driving or crossing the intersection) I do this because there are moments, when you see something that current fundamental understanding of the world does not explain, I have to stop and try to apply reason to. Picking on the human side of those I listed, seeing a family of four walk hand-in-hand along a trial is almost as uncommon in today's modern world than seeing a spotted tailed Quoll.
click for info on pic
In case you wanted to know what a spotted tailed Quoll was.

How does God play into this? I have to believe that God weaves his "mysterious ways" into those families that stick together in such means as a simple nature walk with their brood holding hands and enjoying one another and the life around them. There is something about this scene that reminds me there is something much more to life than the bullshit man adds to it daily (myself included). Is this reaction God? Possibly. It can be argued easily that it's just good parenting, but, if this were true, are we then saying our world has dropped the parenting ball? Turning this thought to the advancing machine that is mankind, seeing a marvel like the Sears Tower or a more modern behemoth, such as the Space Station Mir, I cannot help but stand before an open night sky, looking up to the blanket of space riddled with thousands of starry moth bites and wonder, while acknowledging God, Where is this all leading? OK, but "What's in it for you?"

In a word, Hope. Hope that there is something more to this life than just being one day and not being the next. You can argue life's cycle with me until we are all blue with depression, but living and dying is way too simple for such an intricate and complex animal. And I am hip to all the species in the world and their own complexities, however, I do not see many dung beetles building sky-ways or space stations beyond their own habitat. We are up there, in space, and though we are only a few now, there are thousands of people on Earth working diligently in punching through that space . We are opening ourselves up, removing cancers from our bodies, and stitching up the wounds with lasers for faster healing. We find human miracles, such as the young boy who was officially dead for 20 minutes, suddenly revive without brain damage or complication to his being dead. We humans do unthinkable feats every day, and achieve unspeakable acts of human ingenuity, god-like yet grounded by the tethers of "human advancement" rather than considering the godly inspiration behind our own daily proclivities.  You might say I am part of that group who wants to believe all this beauty is not the act of a random event. 

I need to know for more reasons than I can state here, but will likely divulge over time, that God is out there. Not watching over me or thinking about pulling the same numbers as those on my lottery ticket, because I prayed the hardest for an easy street, but to know that life, not just my own, was all worth something to the celestial purpose of anything being at all. I have to believe that God is and not just because someone smarter or holier than me says so. I need to know that that giant luminous Moon of ours is not just a fancy hole punched into a massive cloaked dome hanging over our self-indulgent planet, and that it's there because it was a crucial piece in our existence. That God put it there as his little human ant farm's nightlight, so they will feel as though he is watching over them all at once. I want to believe that the beauty of life I have created with my wife in our daughter is not just a temporary pacifier to make me feel special to someone other than a woman who could leave at any point in time and take back everything she ever said with a signature on a document. I desire to know that when I pass on, I will see my family again, one day, in some fashion; although, in the flesh is highly unlikely. I can sleep a little easier at night, knowing that I might return as an amoeba that shares the same pond as my daughter or wife on a planet 900 light years away from here. It may not be the same as fleshing out my hand to touch my girls face and tell her that I lover her dearly, but it does allow me to exist on a similar level with her.

Now, about that religion aspect of it. Being raised in a "catholic" family had some part on my choosing, to say that it did not would be a lie. However, it is not all of my reason or even half. If God is out there, again this is assuming we all believe in God, then surely he visited his ant farm as any good boy would. Playing on the Word that we were created in His image, I am left with my own devices in trying to piece together what God may have wanted from his pet project. The only thing I have to do with this is another person like me who was also created in his image. The problem with this is a very common problem in all of life's decision making. I have to accept what I cannot see or hear (God) much in the same way I have to choose my favorite football team. Who is on the roster? Do I like them? Will they entertain me (ironically) on Sunday? Do I have enough faith in them that they will bring me a Super Bowl title? I will never met the players on the team, at least not in the sense that I can school them on the game and pick their brains. So, I look out there and I venture the best guess and become a fan. For those of you who do not like sports, then the comparison would be choosing the right vehicle to get you where you want to go, without really knowing the man who built it. Sure, you will speak with its representative for a few hours, and he will sell you on said vehicle until your trust is earned and you buy into that no interest, no down-payment payment plan for the next eight to ten years, but was it the best buy for your money, or did you just invest in a lemon that will likely get you killed, which sums up the whole analogy nicely. So, what's in it for me? I guess a quiet place to go to when I feel like there is nothing else around, or no one left to listen to me. Remember, we are all going on faith, which is just a sweet way of saying nothing at all. And I don't equate my religion to being "God" as I would not do so for anyone else practicing their faith in their own institution. God, according to most bibles, just is. And how do you pursue something that is not there, but really is there?

The blog is called "My God" not "I am Catholic", and even though I do not follow the rules of being such, I am, nonetheless, officially a Catholic. Even if I decided to move to the boot hill of Quatar and worship sea snakes and sacrifice babies in the name of Seth the goat-headed meanie, I will always be Catholic, according to the ordination of my baptism. I do not "get" anything from this, other than the title that comes with the ceremony of being baptized. I use it as a way through the door, when I need to feel closer to God. I suppose I could do this by walking inside a synagogue, but I hear they are far more serious about their religion than my own, and some traditionalist Jew might smite me for steeping my Catholic foot on their carpeted ground. And, yes, I could just take a moment to myself and hug a tree to feel closer to God, but I do like shiny objects and God knows my church has plenty of those things lying around to inflict holy hell on my A.D.D.


  1. All of my sarcastic, iconoclastic, devils advocate remarks aside, I am happy for you and your faith. It almost makes me wish that I had some of that. A little peace of mind now and then would be refreshing.

  2. Sometimes, when I stop for a minute and get off this merry-go-round we call daily life, I step back and think how people who have no faith do it. How do you go on, if you believe this is all there is, there's nothing after you die, we're all here because of random processes etc? Btw, I am a science teacher, and what I love most about science is that it is continually revealing the work of God. The very need that we seem to have for something else, the very questions we ask to which we have no testable answers yet we continue to ask, the strife that is in us between material and spiritual, are proofs to me that indeed we are not all there is, we're not here by accident, and that is what gives me hope. Otherwise, life would be pretty depressive.

  3. Scott, it sounds like we are in the same place. I don't understand why someone would ask you "what's in it for you?" though. I can ask why would you be a Roman Catholic if you don't believe what they are pushing. But if being baptized in the church is enough for you, then you are among a great number of people. There are many who will tell that this isn't enough, but what the hell do they know?

  4. @George: I was the one who asked him, "what's in it for you?", which I admit sounds pretty horrible, and perhaps a bit cynical taken out of context. In its context, it meant what you are asking, "Why specifically Catholicism?" A question that I think Scott has done a fine job of answering here. I may not agree with all those answers, but I have my own problems. Nevertheless, I can appreciate that Scott has answers and that he's definitely given the matter some serious thought. If only everyone else did the same amount soul-searching about what they believed, I think we'd all be a lot better off.

    Nicely done, Scott. Sorry I haven't gotten around here sooner. I've been busy debating my own metaphysical questions.