“Writing is a struggle against silence,” Carlos Fuentes once said through the strands of his fringe. How forever true this aphorism will be. Until I began to write this particular piece I was at a halt in thought; was without the creativity or genius (by ‘genius’ I mean ‘having a guardian spirit’ – the essence of confidence – ‘that injects in me creative wisdom’) to write something profound, original, salient: I have read too many literary masterpieces to pathetically reduce myself to mediocrity. By no means was I about to write something unintelligible.
Admittedly, my vainglory showed itself, my cowardice reared its ugly head, during the interlude. Where was my interlocutor? My genius? Yes, indeed: I was, pitifully, without transcendence. I had no excuse to not write. Really, there is no such thing as writer’s block. It is called: being lazy.
A Gentleman and a Scholar
A few days ago I had a discussion on the phone with one of my dear friends; we discussed a number of topics: religion being one of them. Kevin is his name; if it weren’t for him, who, unintentionally, got me out of the “rut,” to quote Vladimir Nabokov, “that any frog could straddle,” I would have remained lost out at sea, not knowing in which direction to set sail.
Kevin is “a gentleman and a scholar,” to echo Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet. To be clear: I do not describe Kevin as ‘a gentleman and a scholar’ in the same way Holden, sarcastically and insultingly, describes Ackley in Catcher and the Rye. Kevin is, truly, a gentleman and a scholar.
Jesus in an Asylum
After I asserted “religion makes extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence,” and before Kevin asserted “the Occident has a difficult time understanding spirituality as being a force completely independent from religion,” Kevin quipped: “If Jesus were to come back I think most pastors would lock him up in an asylum.” Together, we laughed, embracing our coquettish passivity of religious twaddle.
As I laughed, I asked myself: “Would Jesus, indeed, be locked up in an asylum?” Having worked in a psychiatric hospital, I answered (laughing still): “Yes,” I continued, “as someone who speaks and listens to the imaginary, and practices witchcraft.” I laughed a little more, until I finally ceased.
I remember when Andrea Pia Yates of Texas drowned her five kids, one by one, in a bathtub. When she was found out, she swore to officials God told her to. Before God rescinded His deed, Abraham was mere seconds from murdering Isaac, his own son. This begs the question: Why did God rescind His deed for Isaac’s sake, but not for the sake of Andrea Pia Yates’ children? God certainly works in mysterious ways (sarcasm).
A Sense of Community
Kevin and I discussed a while longer. And it was when I had to get off the phone I began to ponder community: a community in which people, who do not ascribe to the same philosophy of thought, can come together to discuss life’s greatest mysteries without hurling ugly epithets at each other, without getting those blasted feelings hurt (emotion occludes logical thought; dirt occludes pores), and without…sciamachy.
Life is beauty. Life is also art. What better way to enjoy the beauty of life, to enjoy life as art, than by expressing your thoughts with others? Atheist Republic is a community where I can do this; and it is because I can express my thoughts here, openly, I consider it a safe haven. (After all, it is a safe haven for godless heathens!) Everybody needs and deserves such a community.
Not too many of my personal friends, who I know of, are agnostics, atheists or freethinkers; a sweeping majority are Christians, who, I am sure, pray for my salvation…when my name enters their mind. If they do, that is okay, but I would rather they pray I have continued good health.
You see, when Kevin and I discuss with profundity religion, spirituality, philosophy and/or psychology, we, at times, disagree, but we disagree politely – and we never fail to explain to each other why we disagree. In other words, when we disagree, we reason with each other, and then we move on. Our feelings never get hurt. And we end each discussion with revelation: because from each other we have learned (and continue to learn) imperatives. It is this kind of honest dialogue, comrades, that gets lost when conceit is involved, when one’s pertinacity becomes overbearingly resolute.
I am a Spiritual Agnostic, teetering on the brink of Atheism. And you, my affectionate reader, are part of this honest dialogue.
Photo Credits: Clément G