Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why I Like Theology

Once, there was a man. He got a big deal made out of him because of how he lived the opposite way everyone else did. He never compromised who he was for others, he was misunderstood by even his closest friends, and he lived for far too short a time for the world to be just at all, because he was murdered by a government that made things up about him because it was threatened. He did things because it was who he was, not for gain or because of whimsy or superstition or to gain recognition or greatness in any terms that are logically measurable. His honor was impeccable, and that made him enemies everywhere he went. It also made him friends, all of whom profoundly failed him at some point.

Then a religion was made about him, with most of its' Western adherents talking about approximately a week of his life. Approximately 0.058% of his life is revered by people. Of course, only about 10% is known about him, bringing the number up to .58% of what is known. Becoming the focus of everything.

Rather than look at what's directly in front of us, on the pages of an ancient document, we make up metaphysical reasons to be a certain way, encasing it in trappings of religion, which is one of the things that this man was least interested in. Argue away on that one.

A monolithic religion, one of the largest in the world. I doubt he's surprised, but still. It is ironic that it runs exactly the opposite way that his life seemed to. Power, politics, legalistic religion, arguing, gossip, hatred, fakeness, deceit, guilt, and shame. That's not all there is to it, there is also love, social responsibility, truth, discussion, friendship, satisfaction, and good people.

I haven't stepped in a church in 5 years. You can bet it's not due to the good qualities that this has happened. However, one thing is inescapable about how I live: I am terminally fascinated this man that was here 2 millenia before me (approximately), and the way he chose to live. I am intrigued by the way he disregarded death, the redemption that he brought from things that didn't seem likely at all, and the way he became friends with some of the people that are probably considered the scum of the Earth. How he hung out with the rejected when he could've had a religion made all by himself in any religious establishment, power unending, and privilege beyond imagination. Because he could not be anything but who he was.

People focus on his death and the miracle of his continued life, the resurrection of the dead, but I think how he died is interesting. He stared power in the face and said "you cannot take what is important. you cannot stop or defeat me, all you can do is kill me. It was an extension of his life, which a selfish man would've said sucks. He didn't have a home, he didn't have many privileges for his time, and he traveled around being awesome wherever he could. He demonstrated love, he showed people what it meant to give oneself to others, to state what is true without hesitation, and to live and be truly human, as we are supposed to be.

I like theology despite 99% of the discussions I've had about it. It's a fascinating branch of Philosophy because my life has been touched by the divine, and it's part of who I am. Where others see circumstance, I see God doing stuff. Maybe they're right, but I believe myself to be right. Evil exists as a contrast to the way things are supposed to be, and it is everywhere. It is in all of us. But so is the imprint of divinity, and it's so easy to see if you stop looking for people to miraculously heal each other or to see a divine being physically or to have God speak in an audible voice to you.

Most religious people think of me as a universalist or an atheist, because I do not accept their religion as having influence over my life. Most areligious or atheist people, even though I get along with them better lately, think of me as religious or believing in silly things. It's amusing, and it's part of why I try to be who I am all the time. The man I admire, the man that still lives because death could not defeat him, always was who he was, and many despised him. I am nothing like him, I am broken and I do stupid and evil things all the time. I don't treat people how they deserve or in a loving manner, I am flippant and fickle, I have many personality flaws and most are quite evident. But, I try. Because I think it's worth it to at least try to live as a true human, as someone that rises above circumstance and is who they are regardless of others, and as someone who wants to know what the truth is.

I've been hurt by my own religious affiliation, and that's why I pretty much don't care about any religious institutions anymore. I've heavily attended 4, and only one of them didn't hurt me, because I am convinced I wasn't there long enough to be seriously hurt by them. But that said, part of me is missing when I'm not exploring theology, when I'm not discussing, when I'm not hanging out with people and bouncing philosophical and theological ideas off of them. I feel that I become static and never improve myself or my beliefs when that happens.

Maybe I'll write more about this later, now that I finally don't hurt enough to avoid it any longer.

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