Tuesday, October 11, 2005
a WoRd aBout ReLigioN
I hang a lot at the Air America Radio Al Franken blog. We have some crazy fun conversations, some wrong-wing trolls pop in for a little rough and tumble, and occasionally we talk about the serious issues of the day, usually riffing off of what Al or Katherine or what Randi Rhodes talks about later in the day on her show. Today (and yesterday) we started in on a conversation about religion, which seems to rule the roost of our government these days.
Of course, it got me thinking about my own religious past life, and of course, any discussion like that begins in the year of 1964.
I don't remember having any recollection of religion when I was born. In fact, I had no recollection of anything, but religion? Hell, I don't think so. Of course, in Buddhism, a child brings his baggage with him. In Christianity, we are all born sinners, each and every little bundle of joy that arrives in the world. In Christianity, you have to be baptized to help in the first stage of being rescued from the grip of hell, the sooner the better, so your soul can be safe in the hands of Jesus, just in case you happen to die at the age of day one.
It's a bit of a toss-up in life as to which religion you happen to be born into. It depends on where you born and into what family you were born into. Each family believes something different, each culture worships their own icons.
I was conceived in Pakistan in 1963, sometime in July. My birth parents were in the Peace Corps. Things happened, and here I am. Both were, I am assuming, of the Christian faith. She maybe Roman Catholic, he maybe Episcopalian. But still, if they had been Pakistani, they would more than likely have been Muslims. My adoptive mother was the daughter of a Baptist minister. My adoptive father didn't really give a care about religion. Family legend has it that at the time I came home, Dad hadn't been in a church since the pastor locked the door and wouldn't let people leave until they gave a donation. I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes a good story.
So here were five chances to be of two different strains of religion; Islamic or Christian. Within these strains the chances are that I could have been Sunni, Shite, or maybe even Sufi; I could have been Baptist, Roman Catholic or Episcopalian. Or I could have been somewhat agnostic, like my father.
So, six different possibilities within two different religious strains and one "what, you want me to give money? Open the damn door" possibility.
Who can really say that any of the six are the right or the wrong way to have been born, to have been brought into the world of religion, of faith, for a little bundle of mewling baby who doesn't even know that there is such a thing called "God"?
It's a crap shoot, my friends. All a crap shoot. The dice of birth is rolled and "poof," you have a religion.
It's like magic, don't you think?