Today I attended a Lutheran service at the church down the road. 9 AM, traditional worship. Pastor in a vestment, all that. I went because we have to do a "ritual analysis" for my Study of Theatre class. In other words, we have to attend some sort of non-theatre ritualistic event and then deconstruct it as if it were a piece of theatre.
For Thine(?) Is the Kingdom
Before the service, there were some representatives outside from IYS, International Youth Service, a worldwide Christian youth group. So one of the girls there came up to me and told me all about the program—standing way too close to me—and asked me how old I was. I said, "Oh, I'm a sophomore in high school." She then asked where I was thinking of applying for college. "Oh, I'm really interested in DePaul and Boston College." I didn't think Reed would be the best thing to say, so I played the Jesuit card.
Everyone there was very solicitous. The pastor was probably about thirty years old. Many people greeted me and talked to me since I was a new face. I told them that I had just moved to this neighborhood, though in truth I’ve lived here for ten years. So really, the only thing that gave me away as not being Christian was that I didn't know the Lord's Prayer by heart. Oh, and that my last name is Newman, which I wrote on the sign-in sheet. I also felt pretty bad because not only did I lie in the church, I took communion despite never having been baptized.
I don't believe in God as an actual acting entity (as in, apart from the shared experience and existence in the minds and lives of humans) and I think Jesus was just a Jewish guy with a lot of good ideas who happened to have some nasty shit happen to him. I don't believe in making people feel guilty for their sins or needing to ask for forgiveness... even if it is just a grander way of learning to forgive ourselves. The hymns and prayers all spoke of God's mercifulness, God's goodness.
If there is that active God, if there is somebody who's controlling all of this, why is there genocide in Darfur? Why is there war in the Middle East? Why are there gangs and street violence? Why is there child abuse? Poverty, starvation... In the sermon he said that when there is a dearth of something, just the tiniest bit makes us hugely grateful.
Well, if I'm wrong about all this atheist stuff... God, if you're out there, if you have an internet connection (Hey, if Santa can see me when I'm sleeping and know when I'm awake you surely can read BEATBOTS) give us a sign.
I don't put faith in anything but my relationships with myself, my passions, and the people I'm passionate about. The world is too vast for any one thing or person or spiritual being to control. The problem is humans hate, humans fear, humans love, humans fight, humans fornicate, humans envy, humans slack, humans forget and it says right there in the Gospel: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).
Christianity, in theory, is a pretty beautiful religion. It teaches to tolerate, love, forgive, and strengthen through love of God. But because I see God as something inside ourselves... well. We have to tolerate, love, forgive, and strengthen through ourselves, don't we?