Monday, October 19, 2009

Church of Chuckology? Where do I sign?

This morning on NPR they did a story on radical evangelist atheists--you know, like Richard Dawkins. It was a moderately disturbing story about how these people believe that religion is actively dangerous and must be actively opposed by rational men and women of the world, and the slightly absurd notion that this militant view is causing a schism in the atheist community. (Dude, as schisms go, that's not really going to make it into the top ten, is it? I mean, you've got your Urban VI, your Martin Luther, hell, even your Henry VIII. But the guy who separated the unbelievers from the less strident unbelievers? I find it hard to believe that's real schism material.)

For the record, I'm not real sure I disagree about the danger of religion. Religion is many things--a comfort, a blessing, an incentive to make the right decisions, and an awesome tool for, well, tools who want to control politics, abase women, and excuse appalling injustices on pretty much every continent except Antarctica. But I'm an agnostic, not an atheist (you have to have much healthier self-esteem than I have to be an atheist--I could never be so full of myself to claim absolute certainty that there is no God), and far be it from me to oppose people--and there are plenty of them--who truly want to make their faith a force for good in their lives and the lives of others. I reserve the right to make fun of them sometimes, but that's about as militant as I get. And I think a lot of agnostics and atheists envy the truly devout their faith, even if they think it's a divine madness. Let's face it, it seems pretty comfortable to know what's going to happen to your eternal soul.

Sometimes I kind of wish I could join a religion. Unfortunately my experience with Catholicism left me so mistrustful of organized religion that my one try at attending a Buddhist meditation retreat nearly gave me a panic attack. In case you didn't know, Buddhists are about the least "militant" sect out there. You go to a Buddhist temple and they're like, "have a cup of tea. We do this. If you'd like to do this, you should stay. If not, well, at least you had a nice cup of tea." They are definitely not out to recruit you or control your thoughts--they'd be pretty happy to observe their own thoughts, thanks. But there was a bit of the meditation where they chanted together, and it reminded me so much of mass that I just had to leave--it was all I could do to keep from crawling out of my skin before we got to a moment where I could flee without disturbing other people.

So it is with great interest that I read that Chuck Lorre is starting a religion that is, if you will, informed by Buddhism, but which probably doesn't involve synchronized chanting and probably doesn't involve getting dressed up or going anywhere. Yay Chuckology!

All of which is just my way of saying:
The Big Bang Theory is awesome.
Wil Wheaton is also awesome.
Wil Wheaton and Sheldon in a duel to the death? It may not be communion with the eternal, but I was totally there in the moment.


Amy said...

LOL! As a recovering Catholic who's been trying to be a Buddhist for a few years this totally hit home. It all sounds good on paper, until I go to meditate with them. And the chanting and singing makes me cringe. At least the Catholics had Bach and other masters composing and the music is beautiful. I found your blog while searching for "easiest triathlons" and have been enjoying several posts.

Katy said...

Glad you're enjoying it! Keep looking--I did eventually find a place where the chanting was more freewheeling. "Some people might chant or sing here. But some people just read silently. Or you could reflect on the idea of change. Whatever's right for you." I dig it--although I'm still having trouble attending.

Shifter's the dude to go to about the easier triathlons. The man's a superachieving machine. Good luck!