Riker's Mailbox

Monday, January 19, 2009



This place seems familiar.  Like I've been here before...  long ago.

I need to get this out of the way first:

Happy New Year, readers!*

...and also...

I'm sorry I don't blog much anymore!**

There is a medley of reasons why I'm not posting frequently these days.  A promotion at work bestowed upon me a whole new set of responsibilities, and I'm left with much less time at work to type as I ponder the greater mysteries and ideas.  

I got another new car, this time an even more special one to me, and I'm spending much of my free time scouring the enthusiast forums and other associated corners of the web for information I can use to keep her at her absolutely thrilling best.  Saab 9-3 Viggen, by the way.  Still gushing over it, so please pardon the enthusiasm.

But that's not why I'm here today.  I'm here to give you guys some CADAVER.

Believe it or not, I didn't stop posting because I ran out of ideas.  I actually still have a cache of essay stubs ready to turn into posts, and I've been jotting notes down feverishly in odd spurts; I have a pile of stuck-together post-it notes waiting to be rendered coherent.  It'll happen eventually.  I just ask, again and with a little shame, for your patience.

While I do have a handful of pieces of timeless VAP and vibrant atheist insight kicking around in the ol' noggin, I was inspired to post today by something that just happened to me.

I'm a facebooker, and a former Catholic.  That combination got me involved in a survey for present and former Catholics... probably for some college student's sociology class or something.  The questionaire asked a handful of questions about my opinions of the church, how much of my life is still influenced by it, and so on.  At the end I had the opportunity to write a statement in the 'comments' form, and as I filled it out, I realized it'd be a nice thing to share here.  So, reproduced from the survey, here's my closing statement.  Much of it is similar to things I've already written here, though it may be cast in a new light.  Check it, yo:

As a child of a family closely involved in and even employed by my parish, the church significantly influenced me during my formative years.

Unfortunately, I have to regard it as a trial by fire, rather than as an upbringing.  Discrimination against my mother by our pastor and other parish faculty resulted in a quite literal excommunication of both of us.  While the church as an intangible entity has always been good-intentioned in my mind, the engine driving the people who wield it as a tool has always been flawed.  I learned this after my experiences prompted me to take a more honest and critical look at Catholicism and competing spiritualities of all flavors.  

After years of inspection and introspection, I resolved upon the understanding that all the good times, all the learning experiences, all the camaraderie and education, and all the moral qualities I assimilated came at the hands of good people, not of church doctrine.  The people responsible for the positive aspects of my catholic upbringing would have been equally valuable to me without catholicism guiding them, and in fact the only times that people around me failed in their basic goodness was when a misunderstood or outdated christian ideal nudged them away from their natural compassion, in order to conform to obscure ethical confinements, and in some cases pardoning them for unfortunate biases.

This awareness, bolstered by a hard-earned scientific understanding of the mechanisms of this remarkable universe, affords me the ability to revere and respect humankind and all life on this planet without appealing to the double-edged sword of a deity who both created us and constantly hinders our ability to grow into a mature global family.

At the end of the day, I find that the church is simply a bad means of being good; one that gets in the way of its goals, and one that our species would be bettered by casting off its vestigial traditions and confinements.  Only after we grow out of religion can we achieve our true potential.

So yeah.  I think there were a couple sentences in there that hit points I've missed in the past.  And this little bit of sharing has stoked the fires a bit...  I can't say that I'm gonna make it back to weekly blogging, but I'm still here.  Still don't believe in God.

* - All three of you know who you are.
** - though the reasons I'm not blogging much are that I'm very busy enjoying some very fine times in my life.  So I'm not that sorry.