he saw both sides of everything and found he could not move.”
Shawn Mullins, Where’s Johnny
I believe that the Battle Hymn of the Republic is one of the greatest song ever written.
I don’t like people that say that they are spiritual but not religious. To me, that comes across as every bit as arrogant as those that say “My church is more correct than your church”. Maybe even more arrogant because at least the churchgoer isn’t saying that they’ve found the answers on their own without help, which is the implication of those that say that they have a handle on spirituality without help. At the same time, I find the notion that any particular church has it exactly right to be… unlikely.
I was baptized and raised in the Episcopal Church (USA), which was a (forgive the pun) godsend for me. I would not have done nearly as well in the Catholic Church or Mormon Church because of the rigidity of their beliefs. The funny thing is, though, that I often wish I was the kind of person that could put faith in a church’s tenets. I wish that there was a church that I agreed with all the time. I wish that I could completely buy in to what they’re selling. Really smart people believe this stuff, so why can’t I?
I wish that I could believe, with a degree of certainty, that God Himself picked a group of people to act as the final word and arbiter of His wishes. I wish I could believe, with a degree of certainty, that there was this guy named Jesus that took the bullet for all of our sins and by virtue of his having done so cleansed us. I wish I could believe that if I read and lived by this book, it would have all of the answers.
In a similar way, I wish that I could believe that all of our problems could be solved by having the government take care of us. Or that everything would work out okay if we just let the free market do its magic. Or that the Republicans were right about everything or that the Democrats were.
I would love to be a partisan warrior, a religious crusader, and a harbinger of all that is right. I am attracted to the imagery of that in the strongest way. I’m a comic book reader. I like right and wrong, black and white, good and evil. I get immensely frustrated by the constant equivocations that people make to excuse that which is wrong and diminish that which is right. And the most frustrating thing is that they make sense to me.
This all makes me sound like a wishy-washy person, which I don’t believe myself to be. Some people around me will describe me as being a moderate guy, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone describe me as wishy-washy. But I make decisions because decisions have to be made and not because an overwhelming since of what is right tells me to. Whenever I am told anything, there is a voice in the back of my head that says “maybe this is not so”.
The spoils go to those who fight for them. Religions that stick to their doctrine and demand adherence succeed while those that foster independence fall apart at the core. Our wars are not fought by those that spend their time questioning why, they’re fought by soldiers that have it within them to just do what they are told. The leaders are not those that question their motivations but rather motivate others to come around to their own righteousness.
People like me watch and say, “Hmmm.”