If one were to go solely on what I’ve posted to SEB it would be understandable if you thought I didn’t feel there were any believers out there worth talking to outside of ***Dave and JethricOne, but that’s not the case at all. I’d like to introduce you to another fellow by the name of Carey Henderson who emailed me about his thoughts on God, Anne Rice novels, Christians, Music, and religion in general. I think it’s one of the best emails of this sort I’ve gotten in awhile and I wanted to share it with the rest of you. I won’t bother to post my response as I’d rather you guys got a chance to read it on its own for the moment. Suffice it to say that there’s not much in here that I have a problem with.
- greetings, s.e.b. (and i use that in the most respectful connotation!),
i’ve been thinking about throwing a word or two at you for some time now. but i couldn’t come up with any conceivable reason you’d want to hear MORE religious babble. i finally just gave up on such a common sense approach and decided, what the hey, right? he can always hit “delete”.
so yeah. hit delete or go get some coffee and hunker down.
i just finished anne rice’s swaggering catastrophe “memnoch the devil” a moment ago, and one word just kept going over itself in my mind: “arrogant”.
i really enjoyed “interview with a vampire” and i even liked the movie adaptation of “queen of the damned”. i would have liked the latter more if they hadn’t used jonathan davis’s whiny vocals. i say that to say i’m not an anne rice detractor, per sé.
but the book was arrogant, to a degree i can hardly tolerate. let’s assume, just for the sake of the issue here, that there is a God. (for argument’s sake, not me trying to catch you ‘round the back fence) to assume that 1) there is a God and 2) you’re going to approach said God from a Jesuit/Catholic stance then right away there is an admission that God is holy. omnipotent and omniscient, etc, et. al. this would be my stance on God, though i am protestant and don’t bother too much with mary and the like. so anne rice’s book is an admission that the two variables are truth. she readily admits the existence of God, to the extent that she has her flagship LeStat lamenting his own life,
existence and sins.
then she proceeds to rip the very fabric of God in two, and juxtaposition satan (whom we find out from her is really named “memnoch”) as though God weren’t really all too certain about what he’d done when he created us, and that sata…er, memnoch AS God’s accuser had somehow played the role of heroism, boldly interjecting God’s own arrogant blindness into his face for creating something he couldn’t control. to me, what signaled the arrogance of it all was some quick backtracking she did at the end of the work. “hey, WAS it a lie? maybe God USED memnoch to get you to, etc, etc…” “hey, maybe memnoch just used YOU, LeStat, love, and he IS evil”
i hate that kind of blatant arrogance that says “yes, there’s a God…and i’m about to write him and make him in my own fashion. he will be my God, serving to forward my agenda.”
and it just sort of hit me. a good percentage of the population of Christians (catholic or protestant) do this once about ever thirty seconds. whaddya know, Les, we’ve much to agree on, you and i.
i don’t have some testimony that reads like so many of them do. you’re an atheist, and, personally, i’d rather just talk to you as though we both respect the other’s opinion. i’m not looking to preach, you’re not looking to draw me away. we’ll shake on that.
God came to me when i was ten. i haven’t been able to shake him since. the last few years i’ve had perceptions torn in two, put back in front of me while God said “fix that one, church boy.” you think you know something, you know? i’ve spent my whole life in church. i’ve been given the same ineffectual platitudal image of Christ that i think is greatly responsible for the fact that so freaking many people hate God now. the white washed Son of God who came to make every one happy then and make them rich with movies and such now.
i’ve lived my life according to that.
they’re turning asimov’s shorts “i, robot” into a hollywood machine. i like will smith, so i might see it despite itself. but there’s a line i heard in a trailer he utters that sticks with me: “if you see something that everyone around you doesn’t, does that make you crazy? if it does, then maybe i am.”
i’m clearly no visionary, Les. the more i learn the more i see the less i really know. but, truth is, the church’s views don’t jibe for me now. and i’m not certain what that means. thing is, i think they’ve got a lot of it right. but there’s a quote that pops up on your random list that says something to the effect that people follow Christ’s rules so long as it coincides with their own style of living.
i don’t know why i’m babbling all this to you. possibly because, from what i read, we can relate, though diametrically opposed in terms of belief. maybe, Les, well, maybe it’s because it all scares the hell out of me. in the last nine months, God has reached down, shattered my idealism’s and left me with nothing but a “come and learn” in their place. my whole system of beliefs has changed so radically, i can’t even EXPLAIN it to people (especially Christians) without them just shutting off and speaking in terms of what’s comfortable to them.
so many people in my position turn to eastern religions. there is a profound LACK of positive discipline in the Christian church. compare it to so much of the eastern way, which is to focus, focus, focus. wake up perfecting yourself and go to sleep perfecting your spirit. and you know what, Les? there’s SO MUCH of that in Christ’s teachings that no one talks about.
Christians tend to talk like life is a war. we are at war. i believe in a lot of ways, that’s true. but i, the Christian, am NOT at war with you, Les, the Atheist. but that’s how it’s communicated. and that, my man, is a lost battle. i wouldn’t bother field dressing my rifle for that war. assuming there is a God, and as well assuming he is what Christians say he is, why then are we so damned content to step out into battles we shouldn’t be fighting, much less that we could ever, ever hope to win?
back to the eastern thing. i started going through a depression years ago. it’s been a black period. almost six years running now where i’ve gone to battle with my own mind. through it all, i’ve read everything i could get my hands on. questioned God. creation. old earth, new earth. absurdism, agnosticism, deism, taoism, all of it.
i still profoundly cannot shake God.
i still cannot reach an agreement with myself and the modern church.
we are so arrogant. we take the Bible (God’s own HAND, and WORD according to us) and rewrite it to suit us. package, parcel and ship God like some cheap, ineffectual djinn we can stuff in a bottle. and that’s PRECISELY what we’re all intending to do! what if this God we immortalize with cheap song and dance showed up for REAL, man? i mean like pissed off, too.
zakk wylde’s one of my favorite musicians. his old band Pride & Glory have a song called “Horse Called War” and there’s a line in it that goes:
“All of this hatin’
Just social masturbation
All you Jesus freaks we need you now
What the hell are you waiting for”
he goes on further to say this:
But nobody’s walkin’
We keep feedin’
It keeps eatin’
We’ll be down, down, down on the killin’ floor ”
how true. how freakin’ true.
at any rate, i’m not looking for anything from you on all this. except perhaps to accept my apology for the scope of the boredom i just threw at you. i don’t know, man, i like you. God knows we’d be better with a few more real folk like yourself.
Carey Henderson maintains the blog SpeakEasy(x).