A year or two down the line from my re-birth some things really start to look fantastical as I look back inside the self contained bubble of god-faith. It’s not the big things like heaven, hell, salvation, belief in miracles or fundamentalism – it’s the ‘Jesus is great – he really loves me, and is amazing!’ stuff which stops me in my tracks. I have friends, close friends and family who I love dearly who give thanks to Jesus and attribute ‘grace’ to pretty much every positive thing that happens to them. The interesting thing is that I also know a lot of non-Christians, whose lives are no better or no worse, who aren’t more or less lucky in their day to day. To both sets of friends sometimes positive stuff happens, sometimes negative stuff happens but my normal rational Christians friends attribute the positive stuff to Jesus’ love (incidentally they don’t blame god for the bad stuff, of course… that’s the other guys fault).
I’m coming to the conclusion that this ritual is key. Thinking about the object of your faith at times when good things happen and attributing that positivity to him, gives a strong sense of god being in control, and ‘looking after’ you.
In the movie ‘The Matrix’, Thomas Anderson is living a fairly contented life as a computer programmer, everything is pretty much as he likes it until he is meets Morpheus . Although Thomas resists and struggles to cling on, over time Morpheus shows him that the world he is living in is make-believe, his real name is Neo. When Neo finally realises the truth Morpheus offers him a blue pill. The blue pill will make him forget about the matrix and allow him to return to his normal comfortable life, the red pill will open his mind to the disturbing knowledge of the matrix, with no going back. He takes the red pill and accepts the disturbing reality.
Over the last four or five years Morpheus has been in my head banging on at me to wake up and open my eyes. After much deliberation and a protracted grieving process I took the red pill, I looked behind the curtain and found that the wizard of oz wasn’t magical (too many movie references?). The reality is now obvious, or more accurately the unreality of the father-figure god is obvious. When I watch, listen or read debates between god fearing types and skeptics, the god-believers say things which only a few years ago I would have taken as an honest reflection of my reality – now seem completely deluded…