I was having a discussion on the internet with my friend who shall be called Dave. Several other's got involved and then Dave said to me "When I tell you I 'feel' God you can't feel what I feel yet because you haven't felt what I've experienced." He went on to say "What you are seeing right now is the worldly things... Negative things... And in all the beautiful sunsets where I see God the Artist, you see science and death."
Well I got mad.
No Dave - That is neither correct nor fair. I think you are projecting your subconscious onto me. It seems to me it is possibly you who fears that the alternative to your sense of euphoria is misery or, as you put it, "science and death" as if it is cold and meaningless.
As it happens I have had very similar 'feelings' to the one's you describe. I experience the profound joy of being alive and the sense of awe at the complexity, beauty and wonder of it all. If I come across at times as 'negative' it is precisely because I think life is sacred and irreplaceable. I am appalled by the inhumanity, death and destruction that is wrought in God's name on this planet. I am angry, very angry, and with good reason. My humanity bleeds for the pain and suffering of millions on this earth and I spend a lot of my time concerned and puzzling over it. If my life is worth anything it is to bear witness to the truth of what is going on. Many people would rather feel happy in their ignorance and that is a viable option but what I see is people afraid to view the terror that is rampant in this temporal existence. If I choose to carry a disproportionate volume of pain that is my choice (as much as any of us has any choice). I would suggest that I am actually far more in tune with what Jesus stood for than 90% of practicing Christians. I say that from quite a lot of experience including being a practicing Christian for many years and attending possibly the best Roman Catholic private school in the UK and spending many hours discussing theology with seminary students and priests.
I made a film called "Recoil" many years ago. It was entirely abstract with nothing 'recognisable' in it and wholly black and white with a sound track composed jointly by myself and Cabaret Voltaire. It was viewed by a priest who knew nothing of my motive but he understood exactly what it was about. He described it as genius. It was about God recoiling at the realisation of what he had created. I mention this just to add substance to my claim of sincere involvement and awareness of those issues that most people associate with religion and in particular Christianity. I understand religion far better than most and have, ironically, probably had more conversations with God than the proverbial 'hot dinners'.
So by all means discuss religion with me but please don't tell me I "haven't experienced it yet" or try to convert me to some blissful interpretation of God which, in my humble opinion, is an escape clause. Christ didn't die for no reason; he died, as is so often explained, for our sins. But that is not a get out clause to carry on with gay abandon killing and maiming children with impunity to protect our own sense of wellbeing and happiness - which is how a lot of people treat it. You are not singularly responsible for the deaths of thousands, actually millions, across the Middle East but I don't see you lobbying against your government to stop this insane war machine where they are unleashing the most sophisticated 'scientific' technology of death upon millions of civilians in the Middle East. That is the real cold hard "science and death".
I profoundly, and with every fibre of my existence, object to this wholesale industrial slaughter being perpetuated by our cultures. No - Christianity is about standing against oppression. It was never meant to be a cushy ride and using God and the Church to gain a sense of peace and contentment for one's own sake in spite of the dysfunctional trauma being perpetrated by our societies is an affront to the man who stood against authoritarian hierarchy and oppression and died on a cross for our sins.
He knew, because it is predictable, that they will kill anyone who stands against them. It is not a fiction or a practise run - it is real life and real death. The profundity of death is we have no real way of not seeing it as the end. It is the terminal meaninglessness of our existence staring us inescapably in the face. This is why Christ descended into hell before ascending to heaven. It is the absolute hopelessness that has to be experienced before the revelation of the incredible wonder that is reality. Most Christians simply sidestep that fearful awareness and continue to delude themselves that it will be alright in the end. There is only one way it will be alright and that is when we wake up to the fact that this is reality, this is God, this is what it is about. In Christian terms this is absolute - this is sacred - if you can't value and respect it as the very existence, the very becoming, of God then it is a charade and a falsehood.
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I hope my emotional creative writing has conveyed a little more of my passion and beliefs. ;)