You might have heard this before, but I grew up with a lot of christianity around. It’s part of the US south, it was part of my family, it was part of my childhood. These things—environmental factors—have a way of sticking with you, shaping you one way or another.
You might have seen how, in a rough spot, I dig for the core of what god is. I think that belief in the christian god is about as valid as belief in the 10-dimensional universe. I believe that belief itself has a way of changing the world, has a way of giving people the strength to persevere long enough to do more than stand against entropy. Of course, I also believe that the moon makes people act a bit crazier than usual.
People used to ask whether I believed in a religion, try to tell me I was an atheist if I said I wasn’t sure. I was waiting to collect more life experience. I was pretty sure there was something, whether you want to call it a force, or an omnipotent God, or a bunch of small gods more like super-humans. For a time, I stopped dealing with religious people at all.
[I wonder if, later, some mixture of the remains of Trump’s reality career and Star Wars will be dug out of time and taken as historical fact, starting a new religion in which golden televisions are worshipped and bits of circuitry are carefully eaten.]
Religions are a way of soothing the longing for some organization or sense in the world. Science soothes in the same way. Compressing the complexity of reality into a headline or a paragraph can help, too, whether you’re on the writing or reading end. The life-optimization-hippies call this journaling.
For me, I can’t write into the void. I have to be addressing myself to a person who once asked a question, even if it’s years later and something they’ll likely never read. Or communicating to six people who all expressed curiosity about the same thing.
The one functional substitute I’ve found is the serbian orthodox church’s slava system. Unfortunately, nobody remembers who Great-Grandpa Draggy’s patron saint was. You could call this a quest opportunity.
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Also published on Medium.