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.
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.