Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A god is a god is a god
I am comfortably atheist regarding gods other than the Christian one. Greek gods, Islamic, whatever. Let's use Zeus. I don't believe in Zeus. Likely you also don't believe in Zeus. I am comfortable in saying Zeus never existed--yet for those who lived in the era in which Zeus was "God," Zeus totally existed.
Distance--both geographical and time--has given me not only the privilege but the right to say I reject Zeus as a real entity and his religion as totally unnecessary.
The same goes for today. I wasn't born in ancient Greece. If I was, I'd likely be worshiping Zeus. But I wasn't and so I don't.
I am atheist with regard to these and other faiths and gods, and that is okay to those who share my feelings. My family, also not born in ancient Greece, would not disown me or cock their heads at me. There would be no whispers in the corners, behind our backs. My worthiness would not be put into question. I realize this is a privilege, that not every atheist with regard to Zeus especially was given this right, and while I can never understand what that is like, that's beside my point right now.
Listen, I am totally okay with saying Zeus never existed except within the hearts of those who believed in him. I can denounce other gods and religions, no problem. But for me to embrace atheism with regard to the god I grew up with? It's not so easy.
Why is that? There is no difference that I can see. A god is a god is a god.
Not really like the Christian god is any better than the others. If he is better, it's only because of me and my interpretation. That's all god seems to be, an interpretation. Mormonism is one interpretation, Catholicism another, etc. etc. etc. God seems to be something that lives only in my heart and yours. And yet I can't let it go. There's a chance, I say. Maybe nobody has it right. Maybe there is a god, but then who is that god and why do I need to know? To feel better? I don't know why it would make me feel better. What the fuck would I do with that information--it's not like any god I'd believe in has a set of scriptures. I'd love to believe in the ideal Christian god, but I can't legitimize making that god perfect. I'm not making up that story, y'all. There are too many things I need to edit from what I've got in the Bible, and I've got my own shit to edit. Not to mention that I feel (perhaps mistakenly) that god is manifest in god's believers, and I'm not perfect--nor do I want to be.
So I can swiftly deny one god while holding onto another, even if by the threads. I think this is why I struggle with embracing agnosticism. I can't wrap my head around it.