Defensive Disclaimer: I respect all religious and humanist beliefs. This essay is not meant to offend anyone in any way. I’m just thinking….
I am confused about God. This, most likely, is because one of my parents was Jewish and the other was Christian. Consequently, I am not sure which one of them is destined to enjoy the luxurious amenities of Heaven and which will be plunged into the fiery armpits of Hell. Worse yet, there is also the possibility that the only true religion is neither one of theirs, in which case Mom and Dad might end up turning on a spit together in the Dark Domain for all eternity. Not a pretty picture.
What I don’t understand is why God doesn’t just tell us all—irrefutably—which religion is THE RIGHT ONE. It would clear up a great deal of confusion and solve a lot of long-standing feuds worldwide. Sure, it might put some people out of work, but they could always go over to the God-endorsed group and find something to do. Better than investing a lifetime in the wrong belief system.
Think about it. What if the one religion that got it all right belonged to an obscure tribe living along the Amazon? Wouldn’t that be a mess for everyone? We might have to replace Darwinism and Intelligent Design in our high schools with stories about the Santo Daime Queen of the Forest and the importance of hallucinogenic ritual tea.
For my part, I must admit that I am somewhat drawn to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. First, unlike most things these days, this religion was made in America...by a guy named Bob… in Kansas. In addition, I’ve always been fond of pasta and pirates and this religion includes both.
Buddhism sounds kind of cool, too. If you see someone suffering, try to help. Whatever you do in life—good or bad—will come back to you in the form of karmic payback. You can’t possibly get everything right in one lifetime, so you have to reincarnate until you work out all the kinks. Fairly simple. I get this religion. No one suffers for Buddhism. They just sit under fig trees and think a lot.
This confusion about God has been on my mind for some time. I’ve had discussions with friends of various faiths and philosophies who seem satisfied that they are following a true path to eternal life, enlightenment, oblivion or a nice plate of noodle-y goodness. Is it possible that they could ALL be right? Maybe everyone gets what they expect, like an afterlife menu? I’m not sure.
Then I worry…. Wait. Does God believe in religion? What if God is an atheist, showing an omnipotent lack of self-confidence? Where would that leave us?