There is, in of us, a yearning. It is hidden perhaps. Buried in ourselves somewhere primal. There is a part of us that, should we allow it, enables us to just for a moment hear the earth calling back to us, pleading our return to her.
My friend Sandy has given me an opportunity to post an article on her proper grown up travel blog and I am very grateful for the opportunity, my only issue was finding a topic coherent enough to warrant writing. So, two or four glasses of red wine under a beautiful night sky in tuscany has inspired me to write and post, should Sandy allow, an article about religion and I’ll find a way to intertwine it with travelly type things to keep the post relevant.
I wonder sometimes, does religion fit in our western world? Is there room for Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Muhammed and other powerful figures from mankind’s infinite pantheon of God’s and prophets to survive in a western civilization wherein almost everybody has almost the sum total of human knowledge and speculation at the click of a button?
I am an atheist. But I am an atheist that can see the beauty of religion (but not in its crooked, ritualistic and bizarre organised form) and the raw healing power of belief. I can see with my own eyes the strength gained from faith and I see nothing wrong with it.
There is a good chance that a historical jesus did exist (see reza aslan: zealot) and the further one digs into this man’s real life the more genuinely fascinating he becomes, although he is not quite the Che Guevaran type revolutionary some alternative historians will have you believe, nor was he the meek and mild gentle Jew from the bible. I believe he was (as far as the evidence shows us) a man with strong morals, a fierce belief and self determination and an aggressive desire to free his people from roman tyranny. That is a man worthy of history. We don’t have to sift through pages and pages of bloated, historically backwards and awkward scripture to find a man worthy of our respect and admiration.
Why mention this?
I mention this because at some point you may realise the god your parents told you about is missing or cold. The beliefs you held once upon a time are shaken, distorted, faded or just gone and it has left you bitter towards your mosque, synagogue or church. If this is the case then this article is for you. My point today is this; if there is a god, and you agnostically or otherwise can just feel something in the earth or universe then no one can tell you you are wrong, if he/she/it exists then it is an existence in spite of our man made perception of him. Why should the popes god be the same as yours? There is no reason. The various sects of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and countless others both today and in antiquity will have you feel like god, whatever it is, lives in places of worship, awkward pagan rituals, tythes or other age old institutions that just don’t fit with you. If God is this incalculable, unfathomable, omnipotent force of nature then how can anyone claim to know him? You may trust jesus or Muhammeds words, but why ignore the hundreds of prophets that also roamed the early middle east? How can we possibly attribute such wisdom and knowledge to illiterate, poor and uneducated men from the ancient middle easy? or ignore a belief like Buddhism that to more and more westerners every year attracts attention because it’s beliefs in God’s are idealogical, philosophical and leaves room for you to know the god you feel, not the one you fear.
My point is this. The universe and possibly universes are for now beyond us (for now). Reading any book by lawrence krauss, steven hawking, brian cox, richard dawkins or any scientist that strives to bring science to all of us can leave you dumbstruck at the scale of the universe and at the very real and breath taking magic of our existence that goes far beyond the capabilities of fantasy and fiction. one man can not have the answers, if you feel a personal relationship to god then that is yours and no one can take it from you nor is it any less real because you struggle to see your god in dated scripture.
Travelling is wonderful exercise for the mind (I told you I would mention travelly things) and I have learned a great deal by talking, praying and meditating with people from different religions and so I feel it is important to say this; if you are happy, if being a peaceful Muslim, Jew, Christian etc gives you real and satisfying joy then not a damn thing any athiest says matters, however it’s when rusty, ancient teachings hinder the education of our children by stopping them learning about contemporary science that we have a problem.It’s when vague religious texts can cause centuries of blood shed because faith is being used against you as a sword instead of nurtured in you like a flower. but again, that is organised religion and it’s pressures and its the very thing I oppose.
But there is room for a personal god my friends, you feel him right? You just know something is out there? Then no one can tell you are wrong. But let it he be yours, let us avoid forcing our beliefs on others. Let our children find “god” however they please but guided by a solid education of modern beliefs and sciences. If God exists he, by granting us this curious nature, must be able to survive scrutiny.
So, all I want is for you to be you. I want you to bathe yourself in the glory, magic, majesty and joy that comes from being a human being in a seemingly unknowable universe. And if you see the fingerprints of God around you then that’s fine too. Just make sure it is a deity that empowers you, frees you and allows you to love whoever you want to, to learn whatever you need to in an effort to be, at the very least, the best human being you can be.
I am grateful for the opportunity to write something here. I can be reached at Calis_travels@yahoo.com or at my blog www.fatskintandlost.wordPress.com
Thank you so much for reading
Calis the traveller