My mom and I were at a banquet a couple of nights ago. As I was returning from the buffet table, this lovely painter leans to me, saying, “I think I just scared your mother away.” If you know or have merely met my mother, you would agree that such would be unlikely—or a radical effort to be effective. “What happened??” She had a bemused look. “Well…I said something about religion…” Okay, that makes more sense.

Mom: (something about reading the bible, which she doesn’t really do, but we forget the context)

Painter: Hmm, I don’t read the bible, I don’t pray and I don’t believe in religion. And my kids don’t either.

*crickets chirping*

Mom: (suddenly pointing at the buffet table) Ohhh there’s a Mongolian grill! (gets up and heads over to the grill—and never returns)

Suffice to say, the lady and I conversed for most of the evening. Mostly trading stories and comparing notes on turning points in our lives when we turned our backs on Catholicism—and religion itself. I am not angry at God or against any of them or ever fancied myself as an Atheist (nothing wrong with that, of course, though it still is a religion)—I just hadn’t bothered with making decisions on it. Or I’ve been much too open about the matter in general. Shrug. It’s both eerie and amazing to think that about a century ago we’d get into so much shit (or some roasting at the stake) for a casual chat as that.

I received two very insightful reads from her. One is a humourous comic on How To Suck At Your Religion, which seems to nail all my views to the core. The other is investigative and based on facts and made me really really sad. The article focuses on the ongoing poaching and killing of elephants for ivory for religious relics for worship—Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, etcetera etcetera.

The Señor Santo Niño: typical statue of the holy child

And in light of that anti-Islam film and the violent global backlash it spawned, the subject of religion as an institution of power has somehow managed to creep over and get to me; a dark cloak of despair or gloom. It just makes me sad overall. I am emotional like that, yes.

In the midst of all the struggling in pursuit of perfection, power and immortality, at what point do we lose ourselves? In the passionate defence of the fundamentals, what is there at the core really?

Anyway, here’s a song. Nope it isn’t the last clip from Life of Brian.


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