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Losing my religion

December 27, 2009

Well, that was short-lived.

Secular Sunday is being scrubbed after just one week. LOM has found something to believe in. He has discovered his special purpose, his raison d’être, his existential search is over. LOM has found religion. Hallelujah!

Sike!!! (as we phonetically scribbled in junior high)  A papaya explodes. Just messin’ with ya kiddos!

It has taken many years and I have expended much energy deprogramming my glorious gray matter, removing superstitious applications, deleting many memory draining mythology files, terminating time sapping ritual processes and debugging the system of fear-induced pop-ups and malware. I like this “brain as computer” metaphor. It provides a framework for illuminating why I think and behave as I do.

I was conceived, more or less, in the usual carnal manner I assume (unless Mom and Dad kept one hell of a secret lo these many years) and therefore I am a human. And humans are just carbon-based mobile sensory data processors really when you think about it.

As a baby, my brain was primarily like a starter PC from the early 90’s; with slow but capable processors, small empty hard drives, not much RAM.  The genetic OS software was installed okay; it ran the basic self-sustaining processes like breathing and eating without taxing the hardware too much.  But my little five senses were collecting, processing and storing data 24/7 before I even had the crudest understanding of what 24/7 was or the concept it represented. Luckily my brain got bigger; it became capable of archiving and compressing more data, performing more complex functions and efficiently running more apps. I could do more than just play Free Cell all day, if I chose.  However, about the time my consciousness sprouted out of this fertile data base and my freedom began to be realized, the parental supercomputers decided to exert their authority and set up boundaries to regulate and control my growth. This was done by installing religious software.  The mythology and rituals; rules and protocols; goals and obligations of this software can be compared to a more mundane version of World of Warcraft or some such game.

Note to Self: Investigate whether there exists already a computer game based on the historical realities of the progression of religion in the world? A simulated game where the player works her/his way (well, more accurately patriarchic, “his” way, who can deny this?) through the world history of religions.  For example, at Level 30, I’m on the good side in the Spanish Inquisition and I accrue life force points, and maybe afterlife force points, for the number of coerced renunciations and tortured conversions I can extract from the Jews and heathens of the times. Or at Level 43, I’m a missionary trying to save souls in the Philippines, educating the savages about their wicked ways and silly infantile beliefs. This kind of game has to have a market, maybe if just as a teaching aid. Call your agent on Monday LOM.

 

This Holy Halo gaming program served sentimental and practical purposes for my parents.  It was the same program they had played or were still playing in their lives. This made it feel very natural for them to download it into me. They hoped I would accept and assimilate what they had accepted and assimilated. Of course they wanted me to accept the customs and beliefs of their tribe; I was their cute little towheaded PC after all, (though maybe actually I was more of a Mac in temperament.)  And my assimilation would mean they could reasonably anticipate that my responses and reactions to life would be fairly similar to their own. This ability to produce normal reliable behavior is a major marketing feature of the Holy Halo game. All standard authority figures, from parents and school principals to employers and government leaders, count on certain amounts of predictability in the ones they oversee; it makes their lives of exerting authority less anxious and easier.

But just as Agent Smith learned in the Matrix, many humans reject such control programs and according to him, whole fields of energy pods were “lost”. Thankfully humankind seems to be past that point now.  The good people of our society don’t painfully terminate non-believers as much as they used to. (Can I get an Amen for that?)

I rejected my patriarchal control program.  Not all at once, but gradually over time, I had questions about the definitions and the rules. The answers I was given did not always logically nor rationally make sense to me. The cognitive dissonance these answers generated in my consciousness forced me to construct more and more elaborate bypasses around the unresolved issues until the system, my system, began to malfunction and occasionally freeze up. I feared the Blue Screen of Death was near. I needed to stabilize and improve my mind’s basic performance before I could entertain any hopes of upgrading and adding the newest nifty, useful and enjoyable applications.

Most people today would pay a tech to do some analysis and fix the problems.  If I were a more responsible capitalist and consumer, I would have hired a professional to run some diagnostics and clean the registry. I was not, thus had to troubleshoot this myself.

It took some hard work and some rational objective self-assessment but I determined religion was the root of the problem. Religion requires humans to deny and detest our very humanity, our own inherent nature. Religion tells us that we humans are born with original sin, or we have fallen from grace, or we have reincarnated in order to atone, or we are imperfect and evil and truly not worthy of enjoying this existence in this reality at this time.

I finally called “Bullshit!”

We humans are fundamentally that sensory data receiver and processor I alluded to at the start. My interaction with reality is entirely through my five senses. My physical nature is the ground from which my consciousness sprouts and blossoms.  My physical nature is my humanity. The mind does not exist without the body. To condemn and suppress our very natural impulses and urges; to deny and vilify our enjoyment of our physical existence; to venerate a supernatural concept of an eternal spirit at the expense of subjugating and dismissing our earthly corporal reality is the very definition of inhumanity.

When a religion can fully embrace, nurture and respect my humanness then we can talk. But my time here seems to be finite and I refuse to wait for such a religion to evolve to the level of human decency I require.  I choose instead to feel the sand between my toes, to hear the ocean churn and to breathe in the salt air without guilt or shame, and I will face any fear of mortality on my own thank you. Religion offers me not a thing I can’t discover and understand by myself.

Piety, take your scornful judgment and be gone, I have wine to drink and songs to sing; chickens to pluck and the nature of vanilla to appreciate.

Virtually anyway, at least.

 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Management at The Pre-existential Suite would like to take a moment to clarify our commenting policy.

We still really don’t have one. We aspire to a civil, good-natured conversational tone. Common decency and politeness whenever possible is preferred but we realize sometimes profanity makes the point like nothing else can, and we accept that assessment here.

Merry Secular Sunday!—  I smooched up to Suzanne in a post earlier this week and in the democracy-whiskey-sexy comment thread mentioned above so I’ll wait and give her all my lovin’ next Sunday. I don’t want to look like a crazed zealot, for dog’s sake.

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