I think I'm crossing over into a different state of mind these days. I've been thinking a lot about how my opinions on various topics have drastically changed over the last few years and it really makes me wonder if my brain is finally becoming adult, if I'm entering some kind of misanthropic haze, or if this point in my life dawns a new wave of maturity over my consciousness. Either way I feel different.
Just over a year ago I was toying with the idea of not returning to school and just working until my bones started rotting. I wasn't happy with the work I was doing but it was paying the bills and I had promises of getting promoted, making more money, and continuing on the path of slavery that I was apparently entitled to. I finally grew exhausted with it and found pursuing further education to be a more admirable choice for my happiness. I didn't think I was cut out for academia simply because I grew so burned out before I left Fort Wayne. I can now look back and understand that it was a variety of forces causing me to feel that way. I understand now.
In small terms, that was a large change. An example, if you will. What I'm really getting at here are certain ideas about religion that have kind of been bothering me lately.
Several (almost all) of my best friends are religious people. It's something that I've never had a problem with (and still don't) and I looked at it as just another subtle difference that made all of our friendships unique. This is still true, sure. But call me uneducated--the idea of faith in something that I can't see is really starting to freak me out.
I've always felt that if you do good and love the people who surround you then god in mind or not--you're doing it right. I don't remember the entire context of the conversation, but a friend of mine made a comment that it's almost impossible to be a good person without the presence of god, or the idea of morality stems entirely from religious teachings and individuals with a secular existence couldn't possibly grasp the ideas of morals as instilled by Christian teachings. This wasn't the exact quote, mind you, but it's what I got from the comment. That people without god in their lives couldn't possibly be good people or understand the idea of love or companionship or camaraderie or just simple right-doings that make us good people.
This immediately made me think of religions outside of Christianity. Are Jews bad people? Are Muslims bad people? What about Buddhists? Yeah, they worship several gods but it just so happens to be one of the most peaceful religions in existence. Because they don't fall to the throws of Christianity, are they bad people? Do they not understand morality? Because they don't bow down to one 'true' god, are they entirely in the wrong? I don't think so.
The way I look at religion anymore is a crutch. It's there for people who need it, who have hardships that secular thinking can't define. I don't know if I want to call it weakness because I do the same thing. With music. And books. And friends. I have faith in all of those things, but I don't think that my faith in those things is unfounded. Because I can see them. I can touch them. When I'm having a shit day, I can flip through the pages of my favorite book and let it wash away for a while. I can turn on my favorite album and suddenly things don't seem so bad. I couldn't imagine going to some building that cost way too much money and listening to some person stand on a pedestal and speak to us like they know exactly what our problems are. I'm sorry, I just don't think it works that way.
Never in my life have I had an experience that would force me to put faith into something intangible. An idea that humans created so we don't feel alone. An idea, a theory, an inkling of hope that we aren't the only ones out there. Sure, I think there's something larger than us existing on some plane of existence or another. I'm not that empty inside. But I don't look to some hyperbolic book to get answers on the topic.
I'm sure I probably pissed a lot of people off with this post. And that's fine. As a disclaimer, I have no issue with my friends and family who choose to believe. It goes right along with what I believe and that it's a choice, a crutch--much in the way music and books are for me. It's just something that's been on my mind for some time and I think that the words finally found me.