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‘I Believe in Reason’ by Pastor J. Carlisle, Church of Skepticism 

I know it’s been a while since last I posted. I’ve been…preoccupied of late with concerns about my soul. If such a thing truly exists and, if so, does such a thing truly survive my physical death in an ethereal state to await judgement of how its time on this plane was spent? Morality questions, matters of right and wrong…and how these things relate to my understanding of the concept most people simply refer to as “God,” a word I find falls far short of the being it seeks to describe.

Initially, these concerns weren’t born of my own realizations at all, or any kind of spiritual awakenings within myself. Rather, they were brought to my attention by another (as the things which make us look inward so often are), a person whose opinions I’ve valued. A person who helped to shape me into the skeptical man I am, a man not easily cowed into submission by those who would have me accept a story as true without evidence. Not a foolhardy man. A seeker of truth, when there is truth to be found. At least that’s who I thought these lessons were meant to inspire me to become. It seems I was wrong.

This trusted, even loved, individual recently informed me that, simply by virtue of my finding humorous an Internet cartoon depicting his religion’s redeemer, I was guilty of the mortal sin of BLASPHEMY. A sin irredeemable even in the eyes of a God whose love is said to be so vast as to negate sin entirely and overcome darkness for all eternity in the final chapters of his faith’s holy book. Which (if you’re keeping score) would make my soul, then, one which will be cast out from paradise and into a pit of fire and suffering and pain for all eternity. Before that, though, I am to spend the rest of my living days shunned by the righteous. I am to walk alone, as a pariah, unwelcome in the homes of godly men. This is the fate of the Blasphemer, according to the beliefs held by my above-mentioned philosophical mentor.

It’s important to note that I am not the author of, nor the artist responsible for the fiendish cartoon in question, merely a person who chuckled when I saw it, and clicked “share” at the bottom so my like-minded friends might get a chuckle out of it too. For this I am to burn in Hell, it seems. Unfortunate if not wholly unexpected. That is, if I also subscribed to these notions. I do not, and never have. It wasn’t a choice I made. I didn’t decide not to believe, any more than I can decide what color the sky is. I find Bram Stoker’s Dracula equally unrealistic as the stories found in religious tomes. There are things that my mind can accept as plausible and things which it cannot. No choosing is involved, only the consideration of information which leads to a conclusion. This process is generally known as ‘reason,’ though it is frequently labeled differently by the pious when employed to work out the details of religious claims. Sacrilege, blasphemy, profanity, to name just a few.

There are a great many people in the world undergoing similar exchanges with each other with varying degrees of intensity every day. The resolutions of these conflicts vary just as much. Some end with parties simply agreeing to disagree, while others end when the offended parties charge into the offices of satirical newspapers with automatic weapons hellbent on killing heretical, blasphemous/infidel cartoonists. In rare instances, understanding is reached and both sides find themselves closer to truth. So rare is the latter I nearly didn’t bother to mention it.

After the smoke settles, after the damage is done, after the words that cannot be unsaid have made their deep, scarring gouges in the psyches of both of us, we are left where disagreements about “God” always leave us; wounded, angry, and without intervention from the heavens above to stop the prime mover’s creations from doing this to one another in its name. Typical.

…and so it goes.

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About joshcarlisle80

You'll know about me when you read the blog and not before!

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