Photographed at Sin City
... as opposed to a matter of
Belief is not objectivity, no matter how hard one may wish it to be
But for those who can make it to the end, you may just forgive me, my
Rather recently, I would touch base with a former talk host who I hadnt
been in contact with for some time ...
Pat is a conservative man. A family man. An intelligent man. A Catholic man.
An innately good man, I do believe. And he would occasionally be quite gracious
and cordial towards me in days past, once extending the invitation to be
his guest for Sunday mass at his church, knowing that I was raised Catholic,
yes but had long since fallen. I would have to fly out
that particular weekend, alas, but never did get around to accepting the
thoughtful invitation at a later date.
Pat would take my satirical appraisals of him rather well, as I referred
to his talk program as Our Radio of Perpetual Sorrow or
sometimes, Our Talk Show of Immaculate Reception
describing the talk personality as being Chronically Catholic,
much like an affliction. But something happened
My more sardonic overview of The Church or rather the topical behaviors
of those associated with the same would genuinely anger Pat, along
with the satirical mocking of Christs resurrection (I feel obligated
to describe Pats response as genuine anger as much
of talk radio is filled with affected outrage).
But time had passed and I was sincerely interested in how he was doing, having
always enjoyed listening to his steadfast perspectives and their
presentation, even as they often differed from my own. And with my successful
contact, Pat would write in return
Nice of you to look me up. Let me be up front ... I'd be overjoyed to converse
with you, but the irreverence (some would categorize as sacrilege) that you
would often post on the previous site was far too much for me to swallow.
If we can chat about any topic other than religion, then I'm game. But savaging
Christ, Christianity, His Church, or the like is something that I want no
part of, and don't wish to be associated with.
Savaging Christ ... I thought that was the Romans or was it
the Jews? But no, it was me. Clearly, Im in trouble ...
Big trouble. At any rate, by my count, I satirically covered the
Boston-based priest sex scandal on two intermittent occasions over a one
month period and, with the assistance of my crew, further featured a singular,
multi-media piece to be reprised by popular demand entitled,
The True Story of Easter. That would be a total of three instances
of sacrilege (four, with the reprise), out of 447 installments
over a staggering, 10 year period, total.
But to be fair to Pat, the frequency didnt matter. For even a
single instance was far too much for (Pat) to swallow.
And despite the sizeable popularity of these seemingly objectionable pieces,
Pat wouldnt be entirely alone in his revulsion and expressed
outrage. Yes, Ive Got Mail
There are those few who, indeed, believe that theyll be struck down
by God, himself, rendered to a conical pile of iodized salt, for even bearing
witness to perceived sacrilege. Perhaps this would describe
Pat, as obliquely suggested in his own words. Or, like many, Pat may
simply believe that expressing outrage in response to sacrilege will,
upon his arrival, somehow get him a better seat at the table.
But for many more, it runs deeper
The Fragility of Faith
If one were to have faith true and actual then
it seems to me that theres really nothing I could
possibly say, write, or produce to diminish that faith
or ones loyalty to a belief. For those who respond otherwise, I can
only have a diminished faith
in their faith. And therein, perhaps,
is the heart of the matter ...
When challenged (or taunted) with a denial relating to ones belief,
it in turn often triggers a suppressed element of doubt, no
matter how small, within the faithful. My own doubts or denials couldnt
possibly warrant such upset, otherwise. They arent angry with
me, per se other than for bringing something to the fore
within themselves. I, among others, are merely the omnipresent reminders
that it just may all be a ruse. And I know that cant be entirely
comfortable for those who exclusively rely upon a belief as being true in
the absolute, without fallacy or invention.
But even as it relates to matters of adultery, faith or
faithfulness may be of diminished significance if its
never been subject to challenge. Without it, in fact, ones faith
or fidelity exists principally in the academic. And there is no medal
or other award of recognition for that.
Beyond this, according to the Christian Bible as in, His very
own words Christians would be persecuted, challenged and subjected
to ridicule. And yet oddly many followers of this faith
by this very Biblical
fulfillment. I mean, as it relates to prophecies
famines, and floods
theyre totally into that shit
Rejoicing, in fact, with rapturous enthusiasm and delight for
every perceived fulfillment.
Photographed during one of my several near-death, tunnel
of light experiences, I would inadvertently capture a young woman photographing
God with a cell phone or perhaps sending him a text message of some
sort. I was never entirely sure.
I tried texting Him, myself, and kept getting a 'Denial
of Service' prompt.
Be that as it may, notice that Ive used the terms faith
and belief often two words offered and used in the English
language in the absence of tangible evidence. And, interestingly,
the two words most commonly referred to by all followers of
in every language, as translated. That
is, the two words
of their own choosing to describe their own
credence and persuasion. Faith. Belief. As in, unsupported. One neednt
consult a Bible
only a common dictionary. Neither term either suggests
or even implies
truth. The definitions, indeed, advise that
it may be
It's been said principally by those who secure philosophical wisdom
from peel-and-strip bumper stickers that "there are no athiests in
foxholes." Period. (followed by a bumper attachment rivet) ... Uh, huh. And
it's likely also true that there's seldom a devout believer in that very
same foxhole who, nevertheless ... isn't afraid to die. Curiously.
Faith and The Missing Component of
I imagine that Pat wont be entirely appreciative of the above. But
one of his favorite authors, Ayn Rand, would tell him the very same thing
that which is further at the heart of her religion
and works: Objectivism. (Left Brain, Left Brain)
Oh ... Pat probably wouldnt really dig her stated views on abortion,
either, but thats another diatribe
Still, a curious thing
as, more generally, Ayn Rand is often a favorite among conservative
thinkers even though shes in direct opposition to at least
two of their most passionate issues and positions. Go figure ...
.. I went and figured it for you
was a devout anti-communist and pro-capitalist, supported with objectivism.
Conservatives simply love that shit. They eat it up. But what conservatives
sometimes miss is that the very same objectivity can be applied
to other areas and issues. And it is here that Ayn Rand trips them
and fucks them over. Rand, indeed, went on spoken record to once
say, Conservatives are worse than liberals. To be fair
or precise, Ms. Rand was not particularly a friend to either. And,
perhaps, even less of a friend
Godless, as Ann Coulter might characterize it.
As it remotely relates to the same, this is where things begin to get a little
Ive written previously that conservative thinking often
has an upper-hand because its more frequently grounded in objectivity
and points of reason, while liberalism is commonly crippled by emotional
underpinnings. And yet
the notions of faith and
belief represent an emotional antithesis of rationality, while
still being more generally regarded as registered trademarks of the conservative
movement and yes the Republican party, by extension. Oddly,
it should be the liberal who is better suited and more open to all
forms of non-intellectualized spirituality, inclusive
of Christianity. After all, the feel good inclinations of
faith and belief are emotional elements, not supported
by rational thought and objectivity.
Its true that those of faith often feel more righteous and virtuous,
relative to non-believers, by the very virtue of their beliefs. Okay
Lets entertain, if for the moment, that as being true. The believer
is more principled and of a higher character, possessing a innate moral
just not an intellectual one.
But, of course, the devout isnt endowed with any such
moral authority or superiority. After all, there are those who possess an
intuitive sense of whats right and wrong, without requiring
a weekly tune-up at the local garage that others call church.
And if their attendance is to simply further explore a
singular book for 60 or more years, then theres clearly a cognitive
retention problem at play. If for the reinforcement of faith, then
the faith itself is innately weak and compromised, subject
to corruption, by its own inadvertent admission. So, again
superiority and certainly no intellectual eminence.
Its often asked why some otherwise highly intelligent people are also
ones of faith. William Buckley among others has often been
cited as an example of the same. The answer to this may well be in the
realization that even those of genuine intelligence are not entirely immune
to the contemplation of their own mortality or that of the ones
theyve loved. For even intellectuals
seek comfort. And it is
here that their own intelligence or rationality is betrayed
by emotional components.
Still, there are those who nevertheless endeavor to provide intellectual
arguments regarding matters of faith. These most often include if
not entirely reply upon a litany of biblical quotations and other
spiritual teachings. The problem: One cant successfully support an
argument with the very sources that are being called into question in the
first place. The dispute is lost with the first utterance.
The Backup Argument, Number 2: This is
where a distinction must be made between organized religion or faiths
and the existence of God. For one can surely reject the storylines
or that of the Muslim faith, yet
still believe in the presence and influence of a God
or higher power,
as one prefers. With this in mind, one often presents the Look Around
You argument of purported objectivity as a proof positive
Just look around you, as requested. The birds, the trees,
the ocean, the grass
Intelligent design, Im told.
For those who adopt such a premise, okay
Lets go with that argument
the very one of your own choosing
If an entity
presumably higher is required to create yet another entity,
then the question inevitably beckons ... who or what in turn,
God? This is where you either hit a brick wall or an
infinite space. In either event
you lose. Checkmate. It would
be your own argument that, once funneled back to a point source,
But heres the kicker
Meet Right Brain.
not find God in any book, biblical or otherwise or in
any tree used to produce the book. You will not prove him by way of
intelligent design. No ocean, no sky, no field of flowers contain him. For
the proof, if any, will never be found in the tangible. It would be
in the intangible that which can never be revealed by way of
any X-Ray, MRI, or CAT scan
yet is contained within us all
It would be if at all within the love we feel for another.
And the love that is returned. It could even be your cat
sometimes may reciprocate that love, depending on hourly mood. Yes,
for those who reject the mawkish, the same could be said of hatred and rage.
Jealousy, even. But whether it be anger
or endearment, even the most
devout of atheists have to ask themselves
that come from? It would at least seem to suggest that we may
all be cats included more than mere
And it is this emotional component and only this component
that the atheist must somehow reconcile with an otherwise wholesale
rejection of anything above
And to the rest of you, in search of God, you may just be looking
in the wrong place.
EPILOGUE: Pat and I remain friends on this day, currently enjoying
our good-natured exchanges, as part of congenial debate.