Monday, April 16, 2012

i am my own god. and yours.

ok, so, from the beginning, let's get one thing straight. i'll state a fact that many of you know about me: i'm an atheist. this is not a secret and i have no problem in discussing it. but there's a particular side i want to stress out here: the tolerant part of being an atheist. i'll be quick and, hopefully, clear.

choosing commonsensical logics over sheer belief has its ups and downs. one "down" is that it's incredibly hard to tolerate stupid people. and this difficulty also comes with a twist: some of those people are nice people. so, what to do?

it's fairly easy. for a very short while, i went on an evenly stupid rampage of offending and insulting (and, by this, i'm not talking about trolling or other types of humour) believers, and this included some of them who had no intention in imposing their beliefs on me. then, i realised two things: firstly, i was uselessly wasting time and energy behaving like that, secondly, i was losing my self respect. so i chose to accept and tolerate those people, and, for that principle, all the believers that do not harm or offend me in any intentional way.

and i think this is a god's trait. one's tolerance makes one intelectually and morally superior to the people that think less of one on the grounds of their beliefs. of course, i have zero tolerance for morons who try to shove faith down my throat, but that's not the issue here. also, take a note of the fact that forgiveness and forgetfulness are not among my traits. and i think it's better this way. in fewer words: "fuck you, religion; hey, guys, let's have a drink and use our brains".

and there are several reasons for which i chose the tolerance path. i was baptised as an orthodox, but today i feel as orthodox as i feel catholic, satanist, shintoist or muslim. however, i believe in the freedom of choice and freedom of religion. today, when someone addresses me with "christ is risen", i respond with "truly, he is risen". and i do this because, not long ago, i imagined a scene where i would be in an amerindian tent, all sweaty and high, trying to get some visions from their great manitou. other scenes: i'm in a shinto shrine, grinding the art of calligraphy, or in a buddhist temple, barefoot, lighting candles with sticks, or in a garden, writing my wishes on a piece of paper, or in the heart of africa, dancing naked with some people that believe their gods will listen to them if they dance. and the examples can go on and on - all these are bits of knowing people and not offending their beliefs. and one must learn from these experiences, because there are some amazing parts of world history and culture that will be forever closed if there isn't a shred of tolerance and curiosity.

when a taoist monk invites me to meditate with him, he doesn't do that because he wants to convert me or offend my potential beliefs, but because he wishes me to understand him better on his own terms. when an amazonian tribal witch doctor offers to pierce my skin and colour it, he does that because that is a great way of showing his respect and acceptance towards me. and you know what the cool thing is? these guys don't try to prove you they're right. they don't present false or counterfeit evidence of their gods. they practice their religion on a philosophical level, and that makes them their own gods: they just believe whatever they want to believe, live by that code and, hell, if you want to join in, they'll tell you what it's all about. but none of them are ever going to banish or blame you for not wanting to believe what they say they believe.

and here enters the problem. "belief" is conceptually opposite to "proof", therefore, presenting proof (that has been scientifically proven to be fake, by the way) in order to back up, explain and eventually enforce a(ny) religion can only mean one thing: the belief part is pretty slim.

people. in the end, all that matters is the code that one chooses. yes, i prefer the shinto gods or the great manitou over the christian god, because those religions are much more fair play. also, the corresponding religion "enforcers" are indisputably more tolerating towards the people's choices than the christian ones. throughout my life, i've come to the conclusion that there are very few and clear rules to form an idea about life, usually, conveying into only one code: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". and this is found in almost any religion or creed, which means that gods, dogmas and religions are just minor matters of annexed context; the message is simple and developed by man. so i've chosen to make my own code. and all this comes from my idea that free choice makes one wiser, more tolerant and one's own god. and that's all there is to it.

now, i'm going to leave you with the kick-ass intro of a cartoon show that is arguably the best one in its time and after.

p.s. i didn't want to lower myself to discussing the people that have chosen orthodox/catholic christianity as their job (those would be the priests), because there are so many of them that are so human, faulty and corrupted, that they could never represent a valid or even decent code. organising and running the biggest religious institution (the christian church) in the world as an unscrupulous business corporation with its own political agenda and ruthless branches casts no shadow upon the philosophy it professes: power, influence and money. maybe i'll write about it some day, if i can overcome my infinite gag reflex on this topic.