The current goings-on in the world are wearying, aren’t they? I always feel an odd sort of exhaustion any time something horrible happens in the name of someone’s omnipotent being called God (or one of His many other names). It’s a weird reaction to have. Most people are terrified or angry. I’m just tired. The tiredness comes from the constant waiting for something else to happen. Expectation of the proverbial muck that is going to hit the rotary blades.
The bombings in Beirut, Nigeria and Paris in recent weeks have been fucking overwhelming for me and I will freely admit that a little of the terror creeps in at the sides of that tiredness. In that small admission, I guess the bad guys are winning. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about.
A few months ago, I had a conversation with my nephew about God. I can’t even remember why. He ended up telling me about this weird class that his friends were taking.
For whatever her reasons, my sister had the Peanut baptised but is putting him through the public school system where religious education is not part of the regular curriculum. It’s a special class my sister can give permission for him to take.
As a result, the Peanut doesn’t know God. He doesn’t understand anything about the Creator. More over, he doesn’t understand the concept of a higher power at all. God, Allah, Buddha, the Flying Spaghetti Monster… it’s all alien to him. He doesn’t get it and kids like him have no idea why the world is looking down the barrel of what I think will be WWIII – The Religious War.
Both my sister and myself were put through the Catholic school system from Prep to (in my case) year 12. From the age of 5-ish, we were taught Faith. We learned about God, Jesus, Mary. We know all the major stories from the Bible. We went through the major ceremonies to cement our membership and ensure our spot on the right side of the Pearly Gates. (So long as we behave ourselves – there’s always that caveat.)
So now… the God question.
To me, God just… is. That’s what Faith is. Inexplicable and fucking insane belief in something that has never been proven and of which there is very little evidence apart from a book of stories written by several different people and translated umptymillion times for the past 2000 years.
PLEASE don’t mistake me for being a Bible-thumping churchie – clearly I am not. Nor are the rest of my family – my parents put us through the Catholic system because they thought the education system was better in such schools. (Pro tip: It’s not.) And my schools were progressive in that while they taught the Word, they also taught stuff like science. Real science. (Like, no, humankind as we are today did NOT walk hand-in-claw with the dinosaurs and that the world was most likely created via the Big Bang and did not actually materialise magically within the universe over a period of seven days.)
But faith. It’s there. I can’t help it. I have it, as disillusioned with it as I may be.
But “it just IS” is not an adequate explanation for those who haven’t been indoctrinated from an early age (or birth) and have absolutely zero experience.
Of course this brings me right back to my initial comment. How do you go about explaining to a kid who has no concept of Life After Death (though he seems to know what ghosts are – probably due to the copious amounts of horror films he’s watched from behind a couch when he should have been in bed) that those nasty people over there in that other country are murdering people in the name of their Invisible Friend because their Invisible Friend is better than our Invisible Friend?
Yeah, it sounds as stupid as it actually is.
I really don’t blame him for the look he gave me.