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life determined by coincidences or fate?

14 May

I was taught many times that evolution was wrong. It can’t happen because of this and that, life can’t be formed this way because of some carbohydrates and protons, and you probably figured out by now that I’m pulling this mumbo jumbo out of my

But what if it was true and all factual? No God, just badda bang, badda zoom, across the many years it took for apes to become human.

I wish I could believe in evolution, more for its philosophical implication than for its facts. To believe that the idea of some destiny or divine being guiding each human being’s life is really figment of the imagination. That today’s horoscope and last Sunday’s sermon are just coping mechanisms trying to bring meaning in our otherwise meaningless lives.

I want to believe that life is merely just a googolplex of coincidences and accidents. That everything has happened because of chance. No such thing as meaning and absolute morals, just our own natural way of adapting and being the survival of the fittest, which really means nowadays winning the lottery, being crowned the next American Idol, and getting the most likes on Facebook and Instagram.

Except I have been in the church for so long that I still find that I cling onto God, the Judeo-Christo God. I have this fear that once I fully renounce Him and the Gospel, it would be some window opportunity for Satan, whether it is in a sudden, tragic accident or a lifelong deception with “unChristian thoughts”, putting me on a one-way ticket to hell, forever and ever.

*

I finally found words to describe this state of being I have been in since the past year: a spiritual coma. Just as you can’t go up to a person in a real coma and tell them to simply stop being unconscious, a layman or an atheist can’t just expect me to start suddenly choosing to believe this or that. As the saying goes, time will only tell.

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Aside

whim aside #1: line between faith and doubt

5 Apr

whim aside #1: line between faith and doubt

There are ideas that I want to blog, but I find myself always hesitating to press the publish button because of a few reasons: it’s too short; the structure isn’t steady; it rambles too much; the verb tenses look questionable; it’s bedtime.

So that’s where these whim asides come in. I was originally going to call it the “Do the James Joyce” series after the Dublin writer credited with writing in a stream of consciousness technique, which is pretty much write down whatever comes in your mind.¹ Note that it’s not guaranteed to get you published, but more likely get you arrested for literary indecent exposure (and have Freud roll in his grave so he can have a field day with you, and your thoughts about your mother).

So in this whimsical series, it’ll get me to write some stuff down of what has been on my mind; some of it will be light-hearted or personal (after all, this is my personal blog). So when I find that I haven’t been updating because I’ve been busy or being such a perfectionist, I’ll just let my thoughts run free and check for any indecent exposure before posting.

Kind of like cannonballing into the swimming pool (and making sure my trunks are on tight) rather than skinny dipping from the shallow ends.

Or you can consider the behind-the-scenes of me contemplating what to write. Damn, how pretentious and cheeky that reads.

¹Somehow, it worked well enough for him to publish books that excites English professors to the core. Finnegan’s Wake? You can definitely see the stream-of-consciousness at its best and common sense at its worst.

*

I have been meaning to write about my thoughts about my faith, which is at the moment is on the fence: Christianity on one side and agnosticism the other. And at the same time, jaded and lazy.

While shelving some books (I work as a library page), I came across Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind. I haven’t yet read the New Atheist books, such as God is Not So Great and Letter to the Christian Nation. It’s good to read something that is contemplative and seeks to somehow figure the space in between spirituality and humanism. I have read couple of stories so far, and the people’s reasons for leaving their birth religion (as the editor likes to call it) made sense. They were being sensible and thoughtful in their disillusionment.

I’ll confess that I still consider myself a Christian in the sense of believing that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior so I have that eternal life in heaven secured. After attending church for almost two decades, it became this mental reflex, I guess. Not so elegantly phrased, I know. Yet sometime soon I’ll have to choose heads or tails, and do so with conviction than just out of obligation and ignorance.

*

I was having dinner with my parents a few days ago on Easter, and my dad asked me to pray. I hesitated and said a short prayer. After my amen, my dad was puzzled and commented that I didn’t mention anything about Easter. I was surprised myself, and felt a bit guilty. Then again, I haven’t been going to church for some months now and just came back from Wondercon.

My parents do know I haven’t been going to church, and from what I assume, they think that I’m just going through some sort of phase, which I guess it is.

I recommend reading Craig Thompson’s semi-autobiographic graphic novel Blankets. I have been meaning to write a post about it, and will get to writing my thoughts about the story, but I’ll say this as to give you time to read it, should you be interested. (Warning for the conservative readers: This book contains some nudity and sexual content.)

The story is about Craig growing up in a fundamentalist Christian family, and while the novel focuses on his relationship with a girl he met at a Christian winter retreat, he wrestles with his faith. A faith-in-crisis as a reviewer aptly puts it.

*

An aside-in-an-aside, I started off this post listening to the songs by The National: Afraid of Everybody and Brainy. There’s just this vibe they have in these songs and their albums Boxer and High Violet. It’s infused with longing and the occasional heartaches.

(Yes, you might be tempted to think of writing them off as “emo.” Yes, these songs may draw up melancholy and a desire to yearn for something, but they do so marvelously well. It’s like eating delicate sushi and seeing the city lights below.)

between a faith and a skeptic place

10 Feb

It has already been months since I had regularly attended church and read the Bible. I could already sense people murmuring to themselves, “well, he already stated his spiritual problem by avoiding to do those things.” Or maybe the occasional “he’s going to burn in hell, that backslider.”

If I had a choice while growing up, I would have preferred any sensible religion (or lack of, i.e. Atheism) but Christianity. Not that I had a burning penchant to go below in the afterlife, but my reason would be that I could better understand and experience the Gospel as an outsider rather than an insider. Because its message has been tangible to tax collectors and prostitutes who knew sin first hand while the Pharisees felt entitled to God’s favor when unbeknownst to them they had a plank stuck in their eye.

*

If a believer has not at least once experience any skepticism about his beliefs, I wonder whether his faith is really genuine or just an attractive cardboard cutout.

Last year, I went through an intense spiritual epiphany that led to months of disillusionment. As of this writing, it’s still difficult for me to talk about it because I can’t find the right words to string my thoughts. A few misplaced words can cause the reader to easily misconstrue what I’m trying to communicate.

The only thing I could safely note from this period is that I thought I had finally “figured the Gospel all out” and weeks later the euphoria dissipated, leaving me in the pitch black night, not yielding an inch to dawn.

*

I do hope to begin attending church again someday soon, but I don’t want to impose this on myself out of obligation or out of fear getting a one-way trip to Brimstone Acres.

Also, I don’t want to remove my skepticism and hesitation and call it “trusting in God.” In some ways, I had already did this and over time it eroded my critical thinking and logic significantly. I was just getting by with pastors’ interpretations of the Bible passage and being passive in just being soaking it in without a second thought. (I have a gutsy feeling a good numbers of earnest believers do this, which only makes them more naive and prone to disillusionment.)

Jesus talks about the narrow road. How narrow is that road? Seeing Christianity is one of the dominant religions in the United States, I don’t know if the path could support the weight of millions let alone the image of believers shoving each other out of the way.

Better to pause a moment and ponder while letting others pass by me rather than to blindly follow the path ahead without any set conviction.

*

Again, I should clarify the purpose of these posts about the religion I was raised in.

It will be a challenge writing these posts; to avoid the extremes of letting my ego boastfully rant to its dark-hearted content and my people-pleasing self emit only a few sentences out of political correctness. Instead, to find that balance where I share my contemplations and observations including past church experiences to make sense of Christianity during a period of disillusionment and search.

If you were expecting Five Easy Steps to Loving God the Right Way¹ including a group reading guide, you found the wrong author.

¹Actually, the correct title by the fictitious author is One Easy Step to Loving God the Right Way, and I could sum his book in four words: Do it my way.

Aside

an intermission before moving on

3 Feb

The reason for this intermission is that along with the upcoming posts, there is going to be a series of entries about my experience with God and church.

After reading Jadesandwich’s post, I felt relieved because I was not alone in my experience with the church. Then it got me thinking to stop dwelling on them and instead write them down. I wanted to do this before, but I couldn’t find the sentences to string them into a decent theme. (I did consider creating a separate blog but decided to post them here.)

However, there is my concern for those people who have been a part of these experiences. While I’ll be giving them pseudonyms, they might figure it out who I might be referring to. Please be assured this is not a soapbox for me to stand up and spew groundless diatribe. Also, the events described is to the best of my recollection.

My best friend Joon was sharing with me about how Christian books he read always has it all-together with its solutions ready to be applied to one’s life. He wanted to read something by someone who struggled.

That’s something I want to read too, and seems like I’ll have to write so I could read it.