There Ain’t No Devil, Just God When He’s Drunk Or, Remember When I Said No Proselytizing? I Meant That.

I say ‘Oh My God’ a lot, but let’s face it — he’s not my God now, is he?

The past couple of years have been veined with doubt and the odd sleepless night where instead of wondering why the short-form music video all but died, I ponder the epistemology of religion.

I know, right? A girl can’t lull herself back to the Land of Nod by fondly reminiscing on the wonder that is Guns ‘N Roses’ November Rain video?

Since my early twenties, I’ve tossed around the notion that religion doesn’t give you the answers; it merely stops you from asking the questions and the older I get, the harder it is for me to believe in a God. Especially a God outlined by most organized religions.

It just seems really implausible that there’s this omnipresent, omniscient thing out there and even more implausible that he’s listening to us and arbitrarily intervening in our lives.

It seems monumentally cruel, actually. God answers prayers to win Daytime Emmys and football games, but doesn’t intervene for starving children and women getting the shit kicked out of them by their husbands?

What the hell’s that all about?

I don’t want to throw my lot in with that.

You can give me the platitude about mysterious ways all you want, but it seems less a mystery and more the most vicious malfeasance I can fathom. I’m omnipotent, I’m omniscient and I ain’t doing jackshit to help you out. Ooh, watch the steel toes.

So then, when I’m good and deep into my sleepless night, I start thinking about other ephemeral concepts like fate and destiny and the everlasting human soul.

I want to believe in destiny. I really do. I want to believe that there’s a reason for it all and that it’s not just arbitrary chaos.
I want to believe in the soul. Mostly so when I listen to Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine or Bruce and the E Street Band’s Rosalita, I can attribute the feeling I get to something bigger than mere auditory joy.

But, I don’t know if they’re real and that’s the most honest thing I or anyone else can say.

Because no-one really does know.

Yet for some reason, that answer is unacceptable. Agnosticism is looked down on and pitied. Why?

Honesty is something to be lauded, isn’t it?

The quest for knowledge is admirable, wholly human and to be respected, but it seems the search for truth ceases and turns into blind acceptance when it comes to organized religion.

This is The Truth™
Well, why?
Because it says so in this book.
Oh well, in that case….

No dice. ‘Cause see, I have books that say wizards are real and that if you build a baseball field on your farm, you’ll be reunited with your dead father and that the answer to everything is 42 and none of that is true. It’s all fiction….well, maybe not that last one. Jury’s still out on that.

So, I don’t know and honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever know.

Let’s face it – better men than me have tried to answer these questions and are they really any closer to the truth (the real truth. Not the bullshit kind, but the kind with unimpeachable proof)? Not really.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop asking the questions. I’ll read and think and talk and maybe, I’ll figure out. I very much doubt it but I’m with Descartes on this one: If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

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4 thoughts on “There Ain’t No Devil, Just God When He’s Drunk Or, Remember When I Said No Proselytizing? I Meant That.

  1. I like this a lot, and I’m right there with you. While I’d like to believe there is SOMETHING MORE I just can’t. Sometimes the world is too horrible to believe that SOMETHING is letting this happen and not doing anything. But sometimes, I am so awed by people banding together to help someone or some cause and I remember that humanity and compassion are the SOMETHINGS that are missing so much in everyday life. And that’s a good enough answer for me, for now.

  2. Justine — Thanks for commenting!

    It’s such a convoluted issue and I really wish more people spent time thinking about what they believe in as opposed to just accepting the belief systems of the people around them.

    Much like Mulder, I want to believe, but the older the get — the harder it is for me to justify fairytales.

    Thanks again!

  3. I think you summed it all up best with “religion doesn’t give you the answers; it merely stops you from asking the questions.” I grew up in church…well, more like I was forced to go every Sunday. I’ve always been an inquisitive person though and learned that if you don’t know the answer than all you have to do is ask. But in the church, when you start questioning what other people believe and why they believe it, even if you simply want to know what they’re basing their belief on, you get treated like you just slapped their mother and they don’t understand why you would even have to ask rather than just believing without question like they do! that’s the reason why I could never subscribe to or take seriously religion and much of what the Bible says!

  4. Hey Ramone!

    Even worse than being barred from questioning is the ridiculous answers one receives in response:

    “It’s God’s will.”
    “Ours is not to question why.”
    “He moves in mysterious ways.”
    “Because.”

    These aren’t answers. They’re placating statements intended to shut someone up…and you know me — I couldn’t shut up if my life depended on it! 🙂

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