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Perspective: Faith...and a lack thereof

2016_St._Patrick's_Cathedral_-_Manhattan_07.jpg
Farragutful
/
Wikimedia
Main entrance, St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York

An atheist walks into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City…

The start of a bad joke, right?

Yet, there I was last month, in one of my favorite places in the Big Apple -– nearly a must-see every time I visit.

Years of Sunday School. Married at and an active participant in a church. Even had the kids baptized. Yet, despite all the social conformity, it turns out I’m an atheist. Always have been. I had just succumbed to cultural and societal pressure that squeezes us like a vise and makes us do and say things we don’t really believe.

For years now, I’ve continued to work my brain around religion. And I absolutely cannot grasp that there is a higher power somehow guiding our daily lives.

It doesn’t help that organized religion is rife with death, destruction, sexual abuse, persecution, homophobia, sexism and on and on. The absurdities and the horrors of both ancient and modern religion are there and easily accessible to all of us.

The Catholic Church can declare with a straight face that a miracle attributed to Pope John I 33 years AFTER his death will help him move toward sainthood. Or, a friend of my children when they were young tells us with a straight face that at their first communion they will be “eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking his blood.” Ummmmm, what?

Irony can be pretty ironic, though, and I am fascinated by religion. I’ve increased my reading of and learning about Catholicism, Islam, Judaism and others. Religion is such a pervasive part of our geopolitical structure that it’s absolutely necessary that we understand it. The theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said there was no god that created the universe or directed our fate. Instead, he noted, “we have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

I am too.

I’m Wester Wuori and I believe that’s my Perspective.