Religion is a complicated matter for me.
My childhood could best be described as “Christian Unchurched.” My father did not trust organized religion, believing that it was often about money rather than God. We would sometimes attend on Easter.
Then came youth group, in my case Methodist Youth Fellowship (or, as it was commonly known, MYF, now UMYF). I was fortunately to receive my “religious education” from people with a liberal theological bent (not to mention the fact that all this happened before the rise of the religious right…politics and church just did not mix). Our youth directors (often interns from Perkins School of Theology at SMU) would say things like, “Oh don’t be ridiculous. Jonah wasn’t swallowed by an actual whale. Bible stories use narrative constructs to teach.” Obviously this is why I became an English major.
We put on anti-war musicals, painted banners that read, “War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things,” did an experimental communion once with tacos and Dr. Pepper.
What can I say? It was the 70s.
This all left me with a healthy suspicion of supernatural claims…. such as the fact that an actual dead body would get up and walk around on earth. Needless to say, in today’s theopolitcal world – especially here in Texas – this position must be shared judiciously (just ask the folks at Nicaea about consequences).
While many of my friends have crossed over completely to atheism, I still have my doubts about the nonexistence of God. What to do?
But Buddhism makes so much sense and, as is increasingly clear to me, conflicts in no substantive way with either doubt or belief.
More on this topic tomorrow.