Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Theological Load Of Crap

My Diminutive One is having a spiritual crisis.

Because his mother is a Godless Heathen, who unabashedly scorns the many and varied forms of Christianity that abound here in our little corner of the Bible Belt, neither he nor his brother has a strong religious foundation upon which to depend when it comes to matters of morality or mortality.

He has been exploring all the different theories for quite some time now, but I don't think any of them has satisfied him as yet. I have tried to be open with him. I have tried not to let my theological misgivings influence his need to believe in something bigger than himself.

I feel it myself, this need, and if he can find something to comfort him in times of trouble, grief, or doubt....I will champion that with all the enthusiasm a born skeptic can muster.

More than anything, I want him to have the solace of a convicted heart.

So I've become accustomed to discussing theism off the cuff, as his questions tend to come out of a clear blue sky. I do my best to blunder through, but when I can't answer something thoroughly enought to satisfy his probing nature, we often turn to our friend the internet.

It's a voyage of discovery he's on, and oh how I wish I could give him the certainty of faith...but lacking it myself, I can only give him the means of finding it on his own.

The other day, with his customary matter of factness, he posed this question:

"Mom, is it true that some people think your soul goes into another body when you die?"

HA! An easy one.

Or so I thought. I don't know why, after 9 years, I have still not learned that nothing with Diminutive One is easy. Nothing is cut and dried. And frankly, the kid can think circles around me.

"Yes, babe, some people think that's true. It's called "reincarnation".

"Is there a church for that?"

"Weeeeellll, yes, but not around here. People who are called "Hindus" go to that kind of church. I think there are some other churches that believe in reincarnation too, but I'm not sure what they're called. Maybe Buddhists believe in reincarnation, but I think it's a little different."

"Jeez, how are people supposed to learn about that stuff if there's no church to go to?"

"We can look it up on the internet. Or we can go to the library and get a book."

This of course, is not what he wants. He wants to talk to an actual person who believes in reincarnation. Better yet, he wants proof positive that reincarnation is real. Failing that, he wants to know that the possibility is strong enough and the premise sound enough for him to put some of his none too freely given faith in.

He changes his tack for a moment.

"Mom, do you think people get reincarnated as other people, or do you think you could get reincarnated as a rock or a chicken or something?"

"Hmmm. That's a good question. But since it's your soul that gets reincarnated, you would have to be reincarnated as another thing that has a soul, right?"

"Well rocks don't have souls for sure, but what about chickens?"

"A lot of people believe that animals don't have souls."

"Do you?"

"Boy, that's a hard one. I don't really know, but something tells me that they do. How else could they be so loyal and loving? I don't think a thing without a soul can love."

"Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh"...he says doubtfully, "But I don't think all animals are loving. Remember that time at the petting zoo when that chicken tried to kill me?!?"

"You were teasing it." I pointed out.

He shrugs, as if this is wholly non-pertinent to the larger issue. Then, he heaves a big sigh.

"I don't know. I thought the reincarnation thing was the answer. But I don't want to end up as a chicken. I need to think about that some more."

"Well," I said, trying my best not to laugh, "At least if you come back as a chicken, you won't have to be a chicken for very long. You'll become somebody's dinner pretty quickly, and then you can move on."

Looking me right in the eye, he says,

"That's not helping Mom."

"Sorry."

"It's alright. I just need to talk to a professional."

Ouch.

Trying to redeem myself, I said,

"Listen, honey. You don't have to rely on somebody else to tell you what you should believe. If you think reincarnation makes more sense than anything else, than you believe it. And if you don't think people come back as chickens, then you don't believe that part. People telling other people what they should believe is part of why the world is so screwed up right now."

"Yeah. That's true." he said, as if he understood what I was talking about. Maybe he did. Sometimes, he's a lot more perceptive than I give him credit for.

He was silent for a moment, processing. Then he said, "Well, I'm not completely sure about reincarnation. But it makes a lot more sense than the heaven and hell thing. That's just a load of crap." *

Amen to that buddy. Amen to that.

*Footnote: His assertion arose from a previous discussion wherein a playmate informed him that only people who go to church go to heaven. So it is not the concept of heaven itself that he finds crapacious, but the fact that only the select few who behave according to the very rigidly defined dogma of Godliness will be allowed to pass through the pearly gates. He realizes that this tenet is designed to exclude an alarmingly large segment of humanity, and it is this which he finds wholly distasteful.

16 Comments:

  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger WI Mommy said…

    Oh - I know these conversations are not far off in my future. I hope I handle them just as well.

     
  • At 3:42 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    More than anything, I want him to have the solace of a convicted heart.

    This, I adore.

     
  • At 4:50 PM, Blogger jen said…

    flutter grabbed the line that crushed me already. so ditto on that.

    and it's so funny, because i've been thinking of this lately and how i'll handle it w/ M. or how bad of a job I will do at something i'd like to get right.

     
  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    Oh, man. This is so going to be happening at my house any day now. And I'm as much of a skeptic as you...

     
  • At 7:21 PM, Blogger Magi said…

    I went on that same journey starting around 15. I never found a "church" to guide me, but I read an awful lot of books and cobbled together my own philosophy. It basically boils down to the Golden Rule. He's on a difficult journey. I echo the previous posters' appreciation of your wish.

     
  • At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Organic Mama said…

    In Jewish thought, reincarnation (a subject of length conversations with my similarly aged daughters) occurs (according to some scholars) because the soul has left something important undone in his or her past life and had to come back and complete it. I can't speak to what I think is the Hindu tradition of the wheel of life and how a soul is judged and recycled, but as I said, my kids and have talked about this a great deal. I think you did a great job guiding him toward asking questions and keeping the nearly unanswerable topic open. I hope you get an EASY one, next time? : )

     
  • At 7:36 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    Flutter already grabbed the line that I had myself copied with the intention of pasting here. Fantastic.

    You should be so proud of an intellectually curious son, trying to find his own path, even if he has to go beyond his mama to do so. It's so easy for most people--children or not--to shrug and say whatever.

     
  • At 10:25 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    The line that's got people talking? Oh yeah. That one. Yup.

     
  • At 6:56 AM, Blogger Her Bad Mother said…

    'I want him to have the solace of a convicted heart.'

    Yes yes yes yes yes. I so get this. I'm so torn by this.

     
  • At 7:24 AM, Blogger Jenn said…

    Flutter, damn you.

    Beyond the solace of a convicted heart, you should be consoled that his heart is so accepting of so many others at such a young age.

    Even now he knows that no certain type of people is better than the other.

    That is a lesson I'm sure God wants him to learn.

     
  • At 7:39 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I love this post. Although I wouldn't want to come back as a chicken.

    I sometimes worry that by not teaching my kids about ONE religion, I'm not giving them enough info about ANY religion. But, then I remember that it is just my leftover Catholic guilt that is talking to me there.

     
  • At 9:59 AM, Blogger jchevais said…

    I read Seven Years in Tibet a few years ago and I distinctly remember some scenes regarding reincarnation.

    1. Buddists believe it. In fact, they are so conscious of reincarnation that they do everything they can to keep themselves from injuring or killing anything. Including the smallest insect. You never know whose relative that was.

    2. I also distinctly remember the fact that they dismember bodies. I cannot remember if this is to release the soul, but carrion birds are encouraged to feast on the remains.

    That's all I've got.

    My son is very pleased when he manages to ask me a question designed to confound me.

     
  • At 10:23 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    Very. Wise. Boy

     
  • At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am a Christian married to an agnostic whose mom is a Hindu. She believes in reincarnation. If you believe church going people go to heaven (I don't) you are better off believing that than reincarnation because in reincarnation you die and become another being depending on how good a life you led. So basically you can become a chicken if you didn't live well enough. And the standards are WAY stricter than any Christian way. :D

    I would think better hell than becoming someone's poop.

    Peace out!
    Ann

     
  • At 1:02 PM, Blogger Rock the Cradle said…

    Smart young man, and brilliant Mother, with a beautiful turn of phrase.

    I've been pondering whether to get the Impling involved with a UUA religious education when she starts asking those questions. I'd like her to learn about religion, as it is an inescapable part of life. But I do NOT want her questions "answered" by those who would "educate" by indoctrination.

    I see long hours on the internet ahead as well.

    Luckily, that solace of which you speak doesn't need to come from any organized religion. But that's something that he can work out for himself.

    You are an agnostic after my own heart.

     
  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger Random Thinker said…

    It is a joy to read about a fellow seeker and his helpful mom.

     

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