The Monster

Computer problems persist, but I am doing my best to at least deliver with more frequency, even if I can’t manage it every day.

Christmas ball - Christianity

Christmas ball – Christianity (Photo credit: nabeel_yoosuf)

There was a moment a few weeks ago when I was talking with David about biblical authority. I was going on, repeating the old song about how choosing to invest in any belief system is essentially an expression of faith in my own judgement. That’s my real struggle with religion. Barring the indisputable intervention of some external force, every worldview must ultimately convince me of its superiority by it’s merits.

It was one of those evenings when I was feeling very pessimistic about the merits Christianity, and I was despairing the sense of loss at a viable truth system that included a divine figure. “I don’t want to be an atheist David. I really, really don’t want to be an atheist.” By this point I was sniffling and tearing up, because the thought that I really am just dust in the wind terrifies me. There’s no getting around it. I want to transcend this life. I want to transcend myself. If it means returning to the soup of consciousness, that I would no longer be ‘me,’ or any kind of individual but a drop of water in the sea of awareness it would soothe my ‘self’ now if only I can avoid oblivion.

I suppose ‘terrifies’ isn’t quite the right word. I wasn’t aware before my birth, and I don’t suppose I’ll be aware after my death. I have nothing to fear from unknowing, but I continue to fear the unknown. And my fear translates into near bottomless sadness. I don’t want to die.

But if there is no afterlife, I don’t want to abide in the false hope that there is. I don’t want to choose the ‘palatable truth’ after it has become apparent that it is a lie. I don’t want to delude myself. So one evening, as David and I were parked in my driveway, I mourned the unconvincing faith of childhood.

For an instant I bought into the false dichotomy of every worldview: “there is only death beyond our walls.” Of course. It’s not as though there’s a world out there of nuance and shade. It’s not as though there is a universe of possibility, from which every person has to choose–has to decide what rings truest to them. Sometimes the Despair Monster gets me.

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4 thoughts on “The Monster

  1. “The Despair Monster”! I like that name. And I engage him myself at least a few times each week. I used to wonder if a fear of death and the abyss of nothingness was the reason I felt so deperate to believe in the supernatural, but after changing my spiritual views I came to a point where I didn’t fear death any longer. Not to say I welcome it, but the fear of it no longer preys upon my thoughts. I enjoyed your honesty in this post.

  2. Instead of being sad that you will eventually have to leave the party, be happy you were invited in the first place. It is very exclusive, this party of life. You had the opportunity to witness some crazy stuff. Giant balls of gas, lit ablaze by continuous nuclear fusion, a small blue planet full of diverse life forms and geologic features, and of course you witnessed the creation of new life in the form of your son. It all wasn’t created by any intelligent designer, but it is no less amazing. Yes, it has been a fantastic party indeed.

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