The man thinks for a moment and then yells, “Is there anybody else up there!”
The first time I read this philosophical joke I laughed out loud. That would be so me, I too would ask, “Is there anybody else up there?”
Some might call me a skeptic, a doubter, a cynic or worse and I am fine with it, because it might be the truth.
“You are such a good person, why don’t you come with us to church?” my neighbor asks me that so often and I can see in her face that she worries about me and it is a sincere worry, because she doesn’t understand. In her mind going to church is necessary to be a good person, nothing else makes sense to her.
If you don’t believe in God or Gods, then you automatically become an atheist and I am just tired of it, because atheists actually believe, they believe that God or Gods don’t exist.
In my neighbor’s world there are only believers and non- believers, there is no room for a gray area and that’s exactly where I live, in the gray area…the unknown.
I am agnostic, what means I believe that nothing is known or can be known of the existence of God or Gods. I don’t claim to believe and I don’t claim to disbelief in God. I claim not to know anything metaphysical or beyond the physical realm, therefore I cannot know whether things like spirits, angels or God exist at all.
I am not writing this post to upset anybody who has religious believes; not at all, actually I do remember well how I felt when I still believed…way back then. I was raised catholic and spent many years in a boarding school that was run by nuns. It was a great school, they raised and educated me well and so did my Grandmother, who was part Jewish.
I was a good little girl; I went to church every morning and every evening with all the other kids. I prayed the rosary, went to confessions and prayed every night before I fell asleep. On Sunday I wore the good dress and accompanied my Grandmother to church.
When I got older I still participated, but it felt more and more like lip-syncing. I said the words -because that’s what everybody around me did- but they meant less and less.
Then, after a school trip to a former Concentration camp the doubts got louder. Like somebody said in a movie, “If there is Auschwitz, there can’t be a God.”
I didn’t talk about it and I wasn’t rebellious, not at all; I quietly slipped away from the church and from religion. You don’t go around and tell people, “Hey guess what I stopped believing,” it’s not like that at all. It is a private decision and it happens quietly.
“Maybe I am wrong, maybe they are wrong.” I accepted the fact that I don’t know. I never really talked about it with people around me, never felt the need that I had to.
It was my graduation year in boarding school, I still went to church with all the other kids, but I didn’t participate anymore. I sat down when others around me kneeled or stood up. I quietly waited for the service to be over and left without touching the holy water.
I am not really sure what my Grandmother thought about my decision, she asked a few questions, but she didn’t try to convince me otherwise.
I went to the city hall, paid my dues and got a piece of paper that stated that I had officially left the Catholic Church, and with that I was released from paying church tax in the future.
From the moment I was born I had belonged to a church –like so many in Europe- and now this piece of paper declared that I didn’t belong anymore. It felt a little bit funny at first, but it also felt right.
Being agnostic is hard; much harder than being an atheist. Admitting that I just don’t know seems to be an open invitation for all kind of religious people trying to convince me otherwise.
“Jesus loves you,” she said as always, it’s my neighbor’s way to say Good-bye to me and one day -not so long ago- I answered, “Work on it, and he might love you as well.”
What I had said as a joke, had hurt here; I could see it in her face. I felt sorry for her; I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, not at all. That day I was just tired of dealing with her believes each and every time I see her and finally we talked about it.
There are so many different religions and millions of people who believe in one or the other and all of them are convinced that they are right. There is Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Taoism and many, many more.
Going back thousands of years what about the African or Celtic believes and religions? What about past religions that are not longer practiced what about Zeus and all the other Greek Gods?
“Just have faith,” that’s something I heard often in my lifetime. Faith is an expression people love to use when they hope for something better. People talk about faith when there is no guarantee, no certainty. It is an expression of hope that goes beyond the conscious mind.
I admire people who can blindly believe and follow a religion without any doubts. I think their life might be easier than mine, because we, the agnostic, don’t go around questioning them and their decisions; this is only done the other way around.
What is it so bad about it when I say, “I don’t know and that’s why I am not religious.”
Take Jesus and all his stories for an instant. Christians believe he was (is) God’s son. Jew’s don’t believe in Jesus, others believe he was existing, but was a philosopher like Aristotle’s and Plato, or maybe he was prophet.
“If you say that you don’t know, that is like saying you don’t care!” I thought about that long and hard. Is that statement really true? Do I just not care?
Yes, it is true. I don’t care that I don’t believe. I could waste hours, days, weeks, months and even years trying to find a believe that works for me, but what a waste of time it would be. As for me, it just makes more sense to do something instead. Rescue a dog, feed a homeless person, volunteer to clean up the park or help a neighbor that you don’t like.
I wrote this post today, because I have been asked and this is the explanation why I won’t read, comment or like religious post. Actually chances are high that I will unfollow your blog, if you sail into religious waters for too long.
Once I said I would never write about politic, religion or sex. Guess what, now I have broken two of my own rules…get ready for the sex post. 🙂