Thursday, July 15, 2010

i heart charles darwin.

Once upon a time there was a man named Charles Darwin. And he developed a theory about evolution and wrote about it in a journal called On the Origin Of Species. And then one day, years and years later, some one made a movie about him and called it Creation.

I should've know yesterday that my time of the month was coming, because I sat in my living room - in total darkness - crying my eyes out as I watched Darwin struggle with his spirituality while debating whether to publish his very famous theory. I really connected to this movie. And I think I connected to it so deeply because sometimes I feel a little bit like Charles Darwin. Am I even allowed to say that?

Anyway. A lot of people struggle with their spirituality. A lot of people struggle in general. As I mentioned in my previous post, my mother is a pastor. So I guess you could say I fit into that "Pastor's Daughter" stereotype pretty well considering I'm Buddhist and don't really know if I believe that God actually exists or not. The thing is, I wrote an entirely different post before this one talking about passion. Basically a cop out. And I deleted it because damn it this is my blog, and I can talk about what I think without having to worry about offending anyone. {that's the joy of it being mine!}

So as I sat there, watching poor Charles fight with himself over and over again about how he would probably go to hell if he published this theory, a theory that basically proved that God was not needed in order for a species to re-create itself for survival {although many will say that God & evolution can work hand in hand... and I think that's fine} I felt a lump in my chest and started crying in between handfuls of popcorn and gulps of wine. Ok... so I didn't have any wine, but that would make the whole situation a lot less embarrassing because then I could "blame it on the alcohol" so to speak. Whether you believe in God or not... I really don't care. What I do care about is this: We have been programmed by society to be so afraid of what's going to happen in the afterlife that we often fear living this life to the fullest.

Let me explain. When my Southern Baptist grandmother asks me if I've been going to church in the city, do I tell her that I go to a temple to meditate? Um, no. Hell no. I lie and tell her that I've been going to church, and keep it at that. Or tell her I go to the river. Which is actually more frequent than the temple these days. When people at work tell me to have a "Blessed Day" or "God Bless" do I smile and say "Please don't offend me by assuming I believe in God"? Again, no. Why, you ask? Because I am afraid to be judged. Just as Christians are sometimes afraid to be judged by Non-Christians... Buddhists get a little intimidated too, especially since we're kind of out numbered here in Richmond, Va. And cut that number in half, because some Buddhists still do believe in God.

And if a part of me doesn't honestly think a big man in the sky really does exist, why am I so afraid that he'll smack me with a bolt of lightening if I vocalize my beliefs out loud? Why am I still afraid of hell if I don't even believe hell exists. Hmm. Do you know, whenever I say "There's no such thing as God" I feel my heart race a little bit? I imagine that's what the girls in high school must have felt like, smoking in the bathrooms.

Some people may be thinking that if I feel this way, maybe I still believe that God exists and I'm just rebelling. Well, I'm still on the fence, but I think it's completely normal to feel insecure when you're going against everything you've ever been taught. Especially when a lot of people judge your morality by your faith. Let me tell you, atheists generally don't make it to the top of those moral lists.

I think Darwin was incredibly brave, because he finally published his theory and basically changed the world and how we think. It's not easy going against the crowd and speaking up. Especially with religion... that tends to be a sensitive subject for a lot of people. When he died, he was burried next to Issac freakin Newton. And the State paid for it! People still thought he was awesome and respected the heck out of him. They still do. I think he's become sort of a hero to me.

2 comments:

  1. I think this: "We have been programmed by society to be so afraid of what's going to happen in the afterlife that we often fear living this life to the fullest." is totally true. I'm a Christian, and my heart breaks for the opportunites people miss out on in this life because they are so preoccupied with what will happen in heaven. But really? No clue. Because even in the Bible there isn't a lot about heaven. I think it's a terrible thing if you are so focused on eternity that you forget here and now, whatever your faith (or non-faith)...
    You are brave for writing this! I think it's ok to voice doubts and confusions and whatever...because that's what makes us human, no? Otherwise we'd just be robots...xx

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  2. I love Charles Darwin too, although I am biased as i grew up in Shrewsbury where he used to live and Shrewsbury is Darwin obsessed :)

    My parents are total atheists, and find it bizarre that I am a Buddhist and find the need to follow a path. I just don't know what to believe, but I think i behave respectfully and my job is not part of a profit organisation so I am doing my best either way.

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speak your mind! always!

 
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