Living in line with my beliefs means trying not to be a hypocrite. For instance, I spent a couple of hours looking for some cute summer shoes on Zappos.com last night (insomnia, presumed to be due to daytime lethargy), which was tougher going than shoe shopping should be because my newfound concern for how animal products are obtained forced me to only consider non-leather offerings, a lot of which were absolutely hideous. I know–boo-hoo! First-world problems, as they say. But that’s just an example of trying to walk the talk.
On a more timely and relevant note, on this Easter Sunday, I’m considering what it means to walk the talk with regard to my religious beliefs, or–more accurately–my lack thereof. I know it’s a huge day for my Christian friends and I hope you have a wonderful day full of love and joy. Heck, I grew up going to church (dragged by my grandma, who was the church organist and a social butterfly) and actually have some fond memories of it. I remember trying to convince myself I was accepting Jesus Christ as my savior, but never believing it. It always seemed like superstition when I did it, like when I still say “bless you” when someone sneezes. Anyway, I hope this doesn’t sound belligerent because I don’t mean it that way, but I’m not going to fall all over myself to pay my respects to your faith, or anyone else’s, because it’s not like anyone’s trying very hard to accommodate people of my ilk, those of us who just aren’t buying much of what they’re selling at World Religions R Us. We are suspect, seen as lacking any moral compass, apt to do or say anything, and being close to us puts one in danger of a lightning strike. We are feared. See, I’m pretty much an atheist.
I could say I’m agnostic, but that just seems like a cop-out so people will give me a break. I just don’t really believe in God, at least not in the way most people seem to be able to, or at least convince themselves they do. I’ve tried, because I think it would make life a lot easier to have some faith, but it just ain’t happenin’ for me. I could go into an endless explanation of why I feel this way, but I don’t think it will matter to anyone. I was watching a story on Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, today on CBS Sunday Morning, and he seemed like a very sweet man, earnest, and completely convinced of his faith, and only his faith. He made it clear that no other ideas would be entertained. I have to admit I have more conviction in what I don’t believe than in what I do believe.
That doesn’t mean I’m sacrificing a goat today or heading out to commit random acts of mean-spiritedness or anything like that. I’m generally a pretty decent person who tries to be good to the people and animals around me. I just don’t get a charge out of Easter and all I’m planning to do today is head to the bookstore and maybe go for a long walk later.
I haven’t been this frank about this subject with very many people until now. If my mother (who, incidentally, was happy to send me to church with my grandma but not to go with us) reads this post, she’ll be deeply afraid for my soul. Some of my friends who have been reading my posts might not wish to do so anymore. Still, I believe that if I want to live honestly, I’ve got to put it out there.
At the end of Monty’ Python‘s “Life of Brian,” as Brian is hanging on the cross in the hot desert sun, a guy hanging on one of the other crosses breaks into an optimistic little number called “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life.” Easter for me is pretty much comprised of, well, enjoying my annual Cadbury Egg, and then maybe using the holiday’s resurrection theme as a way to do just that–to realize that, although sometimes it seems like “life’s a piece o’shit, when you look at it,” it’s never too late to make a fresh, new start.
….and kids, that’s why a big bunny hides eggs in your yard every year.