Sunday, 20 January 2013

I Wish I Could Be Religious

When I was a teenager, I found great comfort in Christianity and then in paganism. Not only was the certainty of an afterlife and of a benevolent power watching over you reassuring but the "existence" of miracles and, in paganism, magic gave the humdrum life I led a tinge of excitement.

There is something rather attractive still about such beliefs. It is why I'm not only fascinated by the beliefs of more obscure/interesting sects (such as Scientology or the Latter-day Saint movement) but often sympathetic to them  (more so to Mormons than to Scientologists I admit).

Yet my "spiritual" path took me out of belief in the supernatural down the route of skepticism into a complete lack of belief. I could now no more believe in the existence of a God than I could believe I could fly (without the assistance of some device anyway!). And I often find that a little sad. Sad because life isn't a story, it is now just a thing. There is, as far as I believe anyway, no saviour waiting to expunge your "sins" and lead you into an eternal paradise. No hero to keep you safe, no sanctuary to rest after all your woes. As Spike once sang in Buffy: "Life is just this".

And yet is it totally bleak? No, I don't think so. Life is filled with a great deal of beauty on epic scales and on small ones. Astronomy brings us pictures of beautiful cosmic phenomena our ancestors never had the chance to see. And on a small scale I take a great deal of pleasure from seeing and interacting with animals. The world and this universe are full of harsh realities and cruel truths but it has some compensations too.

But I'm still pretty annoyed there isn't any magic in this world. So if I mock your religion (I try not to, but sometimes it is pretty hard) or dismiss your assertion of something which I don't believe in, take heart that part of it may simply be my jealousy that you can allow yourself to believe in something more.

1 comment:

Andrew Brown said...

Interesting post and I get wheat you're driving at - there are elements of faith and belonging to a church which I miss.

Coincidentally, I wrote a recent piece on (Christian) faith and homosexuality which may interest you: