Sunday, September 04, 2005
Burden of Proof
That's me and Fellow Seeker trying to look enlightened.
He, Veteran Seeker and I went to a Buddhist art exhibit today. The artwork was exquisite and we got into some great spiritual conversations, as usual. For example, I related the story of how I got into a debate with Mother this morning. I didn't mean to, but these things just happen when we talk about God and religion. I said something about the Bible contradicting itself (we were talking about Pat Robertson's whacked out comments and I mentioned how one of the commandments is not to kill but in the Old Testament God sanctioned tons of killing) and she said not to talk like that. I said it before and I'll say it again - sometimes I think that she expects a Zeus-style lightning bolt to strike me. I asked, "What kind of God would punish me just for questioning?" I also asked her what kind of God would let horrible things happen to people, like what is going on in New Orleans or what has happened to my father. Nobody has any good answers for me. They keep telling me that I should be thankful because God gives me breath every day. Okay, fine, so since God allows us to live, we shouldn't ask why we have to suffer so much. Riiiight. I don't understand why we have to be accountable to God but S/he doesn't have to be accountable to us.
We also kept pitting the Judeo-Christian God against the eastern ones. For example, the tour guide showed us a tangka painting where the Buddha had a thousand eyes. F.S. leaned over and whispered to us, "Our God only has two." On the other hand, I told them a story about a woman who went to the Buddha when her child died. He told her that he would bring the child back to life if she could bring him a mustard seed from a house where death has never entered. She searched and searched, obviously unsuccessfully, and in the end, understood that death is universal and buried her child in peace. I was like, "Geez, at least Jesus brought the dead child back to life. Buddha sent this woman on some sadistic wild goose chase in order to make a point!"
We talked a lot about doubting and questioning, and I told them about how Priest confused me when he talked about St. Thomas. He acted like Thomas was a great role model but I was always under the impression that it was a negative thing that he doubted and wouldn't believe in the Resurrection until he saw physical evidence. I asked, "Didn't Jesus say, 'Blessed are those who aren't losers like you'?" It's true, isn't it? I haven't read the story in a while.
After the exhibit and dinner, we went to the used bookstore. Recipe ... For ... Disaster. Well, not really. I made them swear not to let me buy anything. (I already own too many books and just don't have the time to read them all.) This bookstore, however, has a ton of tables outside with books that are only $1. So, I modified my rule. I said that I could buy something from those tables, but nothing inside the store. Come on, that's fair! I wound up with a tall pile of seven books. They talked me down to five:
Pepperland - Mark Delaney
Only Human - Jenny Diski
The Thousand Faces of Night - Githa Hariharan
Esperanza's Box of Saints - Maria Amparo Escandon
Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation - Mary Daly
Quote of the Day: We were picking out all of the books about spirituality and religion. At one point, F.S. thought he saw the word 'God' in a title but it turned out to be 'Gold.' After that, I started searching for a book with 'God' in the title. When I finally found one, I shouted, "I've found God!!!" Hee hee. (Okay, maybe you had to be there.)