Thursday, October 16, 2008

Heathen Religious Experience?

 Aaron and I kicked off my birthday weekend with a little cinematic enlightenment. I expected Religulous to be funny and I expected it to make me feel anxious as Bill Maher grilled the faithful about their faith, but I did not expect to be left speechless.  Most of the movie is standard Maher schtick, until the end when he stands on an Israeli hillside and predicts that we will destroy the earth with our religious fervor. No, ha ha. No, oh I'm exaggerating. Just Armageddon. Maher nailed something that hadn't occurred to me before. He posed the question (paraphrased), "How can a person who believes in End Times be trusted to care for our world, our planet?"  If something better is waiting for you on the other side, why bother cleaning up the mess here on earth? He asked an ex-jew for jesus dude, "Why don't you kill yourself?" The response (after a long pause) was "I still have a mission...".  This is particularly frightening when you consider the evangelical beliefs of the Boy King George, or how about when they asked the Republican candidates to raise their hand if they DID NOT believe in evolution. Are Conservative Christians in our government just killing time until Jesus comes down and tells them they can go home and play?
I have been a doubter for most of my life. I think I tried to talk to God about my sick Grammy once in the 2nd Grade and he never answered, so I gave up. I have always been a little sheepish about my disbelief. I wondered if I was missing something, or if I had tried hard enough to "get it". No shaft of light ever decsended from the heavens. No angel came to the foot of my bed. I tried to read the bible and fell asleep.  I made a half-hearted attempt to find some alternative pagan faith to follow. The reading was more interesting, but I still didn't believe any of it. My husband has always made it very clear that he is an atheist. The word atheist scared me. I still don't call myself that, neither does Bill Maher. Atheists are just as certain about their beliefs as Christians and Muslims are. Certainty is the dangerous part of religion. I am not certain of anything. I believe in doubt. I was enboldened by this film to be more honest about my lack of faith. It made me want to put a sign in my yard that says, "There (probably) Is No God!"

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