Monday, May 21, 2007

BELIEF IT OR NOT

Yesterday, amidst setting up my porch for a spring party I’d invited a handful of folks over for, my daughter initiated a series of e-mails the gist of which I understood to have the purpose of saving my soul with new found zeal in response to my last post. When folks started showing up I let the thread run thin on the internet. In the wee hours after they left, I reread the entire series and sent off the following before going to bed.

You have a crutch for life, you'll never have to think again, I guess I'm supposed to be happy for you. Sorry, I failed your test — I'm just an irretrievable guy, hardly worth saving. I will never attempt to intrude myself upon you again.
Lady Astor: If you were my husband, I would poison your tea.
Winston Churchill: If you were my wife, I'd drink it.
Okay, okay … I'm drinking.

This morning i got this reply,

Entering your front door with my white flag clutched tightly in hand looking for the corpse on the floor clinching the tea cup.......helloooo!

You have a crutch for life, you'll never have to think again
Okay fine, lets take a different approach. So do you want proof that I'm not just walking through life as a zombie looking to devour souls? Lets discuss creationism vs. whatever you believe. We both might learn something new. I know I will. Hopefully we can discuss it without anger or the quick sarcasm that we both have. Do you believe in evolution or what exactly? Why do you believe that way and what is your proof that convinced you?

, I guess I'm supposed to be happy for you. Sorry, I failed your test
I was only hoping for your "open-mindedness" to accept me for who I am. Why is it so easy to believe that any other faith has a possibility of truth other than Christianity?

— I'm just an irretrievable guy, hardly worth saving. I will never attempt to intrude myself upon you again.
Your my Dad. Your worth it to me. You weren't intruding. I was the intruder in this case. If you want to end our relationship based off of my Christianity, then I shall not bother you again, other than in prayer.
Love always

I spent the rest of the day thinking this answer out for her.
I am very sad to realize that you have either not read my blogs or never understood them or anything else I have ever expressed to you. One more time for the sake of the old family/genetic bond and because I love you beyond, what I can only perceive as, your suit of Joan of Arc armor all too ready to take on the heathens and make the world safe for only your idea of truth.

Item one: "Do you believe in evolution or what exactly? Why do you believe that way and what is your proof that convinced you?"
I believe only in consciousness that I exist. Everything you perceive because you are also a conscious part of existence is the only proof of that I can offer. Everything anyone has or can express about existence is only that — about existence — not existence itself. As earnestly as different groups coagulate to create belief systems as shelter against the always unknown with agreements that evolve into facts and laws, to guide those who may still have questions, to keep their imaginations in line, so to speak, they are never more or less than theories about existence. I feel no need to believe in creationism, Darwin, the big bang or the end times, the quickening, or the rapture — but I do find them quite enlightening about human perception and culture. If I was being tortured I may admit to favoring the idea of an eternal, ever changing continuum. It is all very wonderful to contemplate and I am very glad that I exist to partake in material life with perceptions and genetics and life experiences that make my version of life as unique as a snowflake with no need or desire to collect the other snowflakes into a ball for some kind of authority or mob mentality. Until this latest spate of sermons from you, I could have sworn I could see that spark of heresy in you too. You damned near snuffed out that candle until I heard you call, "helloooo!"

Item two: "Why is it so easy to believe that any other faith has a possibility of truth other than Christianity?"
First, let me point out that your believing I am especially doubtful of Christianity amongst all the other snowballs has got to be a reflection of your believing it is the only true snowball and the only one worth defending by being offended. I am an equal opportunity religion distruster. This does not mean I have not resonated to the core of my being by contemplating the lives of the inspirational beings that cause such a gigantic paradigm shift in the local population of their time and whose words have become perverted into laws of conformity in the land of their homes centuries later by uncomprehending followers. I just doubt that exploitative religion was ever their intent. If I appear to favor Buddhism it may be because among all the teachings in history, it has no god and, to my eyes, therefore not a religion. It finds the source of happiness to be within the perceiver , not the perceived. No matter what religion one professes, whether it is accepting of other religions or claims exclusivity to the truth, it is either a deeply personal choice, just as you feel you have made, or one made by the culture into which they were born so long ago they have no choice because only one is considered fact to the elimination of all else.

Second, as I said in Item one, my belief in my existence is based on the only truth I feel qualified to attest to — that I do exist. Everything anyone has or will ever express is more or less close to the truth, but the attempt to be specific denies the all inclusiveness of truth, so I don't think anyone or institution can even speak the truth or claim to be right. What culture calls truth is no more or less an agreement among the dependents on that culture, and I do not limit this illusion about being able to speak truth to religion. Governments and sciences and educators all suffer it. Actually I love the stability the chaos of nature seems to have. That its infinite variety is the dynamic of life and attempts to enforce conformity are reaches for the dust of death. But like someone trying to hold their breath 'til they die, the spark of life remains after they pass out and the dust coheres into new life forms after the suffocating dogma passes out of the present and into history.

None of this is to say one cannot know the truth, but the overwhelming vastness of truth defies language, the tool with which to dissect the immensity of reality into more and more specific instances and for which it is doomed to failure unless wielded by the most sublime poets who stitch specifics back together with webs of transcendent descriptions of the big potato upon which we are all eyes, none quite seeing in the same direction but all seeing from the same center, the center of universal life, so large all is within.

If you think I am closed minded as indicated by your quotes around "open minded" it must be a reflection of my reaction to your mirror-like, polished, clad iron claim to the one, the only, exclusive truth that will send me to hell if I don't swallow it. Give me a break.

Of course I don't want to end our relationship, not only do I love you like a daughter, but as someone I have learned to admire no matter who she is. But I gotta point out again, that although you corrected me about who the intruder was, you didn't bother to deny that you have been trying to save me, to retrieve me from other than your path to qualify for your filter. I do not admire such intrusions because they speak so clearly about your submission to an external authority that has somehow crawled up inside you and seems to be driving you like a self-righteous tank against this heathen test case. Imagining that I might be your final exam for your PhD. in missionary evangelism just now brought a bittersweet chuckle bubbling to the surface. Acid reflux of the emotions.

My ego got a bit offended too. Having my daughter condemn me to hell, no matter how indirect you thought you were being by stating our inability to be in heaven together if I didn't eat your brand new shiny apple, it was saying to me, "although I obviously have no idea what you believe, I wanna correct it to my blueprint for heaven." If you want to continue this discussion in that vein I would just as soon give it a rest for a while. Not that it hasn't been painfully enlightening, I just don't like you like this, so I'll wait till your hair grows back. That was a metaphor, as is everything I say that comes comes anywhere close to the truth.

Oh by the way, halfway through this reply I realized that it was going to be my next post. It is a good example of digging a bit deeper to examine the sense of my deepest, longest held ideas when conflict with a loved one is the catalyst. I know you didn't want to comment because it was too personal, but this is more about my observations of religion and the mechanism of belief. Besides no one who reads it will ever know you because you are safe behind the facade of my misunderstanding you to be a snowflake instead of just a flake.
Love —

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, I feel the angst of the miscommunication between you two. Well, I say, bravo to you both for allowing the communication to continue, regardless of the hurt feelings on both sides. Realize that love, that bond, that keeps your conversation going is more important than the conversation itself, and it is the essential base to spiritual goodness in all religions or beliefs. For some things, as much as we try to find words for, are simply to profound for words of any language, culture or religion. As the great naturalist, Thoreau wrote,"with all our religion and science, can one explain how it is, or whence it is that light comes into the soul?" So bravo again to you two for trying to explain it to each other, but in the end, the unspoken bond between you two should explain all that really needs to be said. Your conversation is an important one, but if you are measuring importance remember that even Christianity made "love (honor) thy mother and father" a commandment, where "convert thy mother and father" is no where near the top ten list.
Peace to you both. Amber

Lilwave said...

Well I guess since our e-mail conversation was posted in this blog I should complete it by posting my last response to you.

Thank you for sharing it so clearly in this last e-mail. It is the first time I really understand you. I respect your beliefs and understand more of why mine leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I always felt it was because you disapproved of my mom so much that you would never choose something that she was a part of in some way.
At this point, I don't know what I can say to you since any interpretation of our existence including my own doesn't have much meaning to you. I wish I could say I agree with you but there is one thing that prevents that from happening. The living God inside me is not something that I can deny. It is something that goes beyond any human interpretation of our existence. It is supernatural. It is real. Unless you experience it as I have, there are no words that can explain it to you since there is no written theory can be trusted by you. I very much share your view that man often cannot be trusted on factual interpretations. It is only by knowing God that I understand anything of this world. How can I make you understand? I can't can I? At least from a human standpoint I can't. I pray that God will touch you somehow to open your eyes to what I know as truth with every part of my being.
Love,

gregra&gar said...

Dearest One,
I don't suppose my statement about having "resonated to the core of my being by contemplating the lives of the inspirational beings …" sounded enough like your, "Unless you experience it (the living God inside me) as I have, there are no words that can explain it to you," for you to accept that I have felt my unique version of what you are experiencing. I experience it all the time, I just don't feel compelled to call it god or to judge the validity of other's inspirations in comparison. How can you read what I wrote and still say, "I respect your beliefs," when it was all about the fact that I have none? I guess you cannot get you mind around life without belief to maintain or defend. People's interpretation of their existence not only has meaning for me, I see them as defining who they are far more that the externals interpreted — what their version of the truth of all existence they perceive and interpret is to them, just not the truth itself which is too vast to be encapsulated by words. Like cells in the body of a larger being we are all unique and should be if that body is to be vitally alive and healthy. If everyone were the same, they'd all be in my kitchen, and who wants that? Thank you for finally seeing and admitting that I am seeing and treating you as your own person, and not an extension of your mother, although the self-righteous tone of late is a haunting reminder.

How about if I interpret your last sentence, "I pray that God will touch you somehow to open your eyes to what I know as truth with every part of my being," in terms of my experience to say I hope some day you will open your eyes to what I perceive as you being a part of the body of what you call god with the relationship paralleled by our cell's relationship to our body and consciousness, or an atom's relationship to the body and consciousness of a cell, or our solar system's relationship to the milky way galaxy. I am blown away enough by the enormous implications of these metaphors to qualify in my experience as epiphanies without needing a religious precedent to fall back on for authority.
And the love goes on,
Dad

Lilwave said...

I'm not sure what happened. I published this once but it didn't come through. If you get a dupe, just delete this one.

If you feel that there is no need for conformity in anything and that the only thing you trust is your own existance as you experience it, what do you think the world would be like if we all started out thinking that way? How would we move beyond infancy? Other than the motherly instincts for feeding and protecting her infant, the rest is a type of conformity isn't it?

gregra&gar said...

What an extremist you are when interpreting my words, Lilwave! Nowhere have I said there is no need to conform, I just think mindlessly putting rules and laws of man before understanding their implications creates a herd of sheep. One could not survive infancy if one did not adapt ones behavior to the necessities of nature, but the requirements and purposes of man's laws, including the Bible (a recruitment brochure concocted from scripture prior to the life of Jesus by the priesthood during the first five hundred years after his death), must always be questioned.

Lilwave said...

Lol, sorry, I am just trying to get an understanding from where conformity becomes acceptable or not acceptable with you. Okay, so we agree conformity is a necessity for survival of nature from the human level. Although, it would be an entirely different blog if we discussed at what point that type of conformity becomes too much.
So focusing on the spiritual level only, it is the spiritual nature that you feel no conformity is needed, right?

gregra&gar said...

What you seem to want me to do is to translate my pre-verbal vision of the life of the universe into digestible digits and levels and classifications for you. Well guess what, honey? That is what this blog is all about: both the gullibility (the abandonment of inborn intelligence for blind dependence on and conformity to whatever claims to be the truth) converting mankind into sheep and the exploitation of the gullible by unscrupulous, lying shepherds having their way with the wool.

I can't lay out a set of rules defining whether or not to go along with anything that comes along, when to conform at anytime in the future. That is what civilization tries to do to the nature of the newborn: set out rules to cover all future events so that inherent natural spontaneous intuitive genetic cellular intelligence in the present is eschewed to consult the manual of the mythos written in the past to protect one from actually experiencing the future without a filter on the present.

Like I said, I see the universe most like an ever changing continuum. Spiritual, physical, mental, emotional levels are attempts to study a part of the whole in isolation from its context, which always loses its essential meaning at separation.

I know what you mean by "spiritual level", but because I don't see things on levels that way, all I would be doing would be trying to define what I think you mean. How tautological is that!

Whew! You want what I have been thinking about all my life in a nutshell, with partitions yet. I'm glad you're curious, but slow down.

~~karoline~~ said...

oh dear, i feel as though i've intruded upon your soul stirring exploration of each other. what can i say except our truth is individual, like a fingerprint or...snowflake. just as i cannot make you see with my eyes, i cannot see with yours, i will trust however that we each comprehend and live the life that we were meant to live. jesus preached of tolerance, as did buddha, could you both really be that far apart from each other...i don't think so. :)

i so wish i had a relationship with my father, but i don't, so i will trust that is the way it was meant to be..you are both so lucky to have each other..

thankyou for stopping into my place and taking the time to comment, and i hope i didn't interupt this touching moment of your explorations..

::tiptoes out smiling::

gregra&gar said...

No intrusion Karoline.
For me the subject of our debate, based in love, is the essence of what life is all about. The reason I have this blog is to describe my brushes with universal ideas from my unique perspective and experiences – as all are, or should be – and perhaps complete the communication with comments from kindred visions – unique eyes on the same potato as my garden has taught me to describe it.
Thanks for your visit, your insight is welcome anytime. I look forward to visiting yours often. I can't digest big gulps.

~~karoline~~ said...

thirty two chews per bite, no more, no less, will aide in complete digestion...

;)
k