Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mid Life Faith Crisis

            Last year I bought my motorcycle. Something I’ve been yearning for almost my entire life. Yes, it was a dream come true and oddly enough it came to fruition at the age most men and some women experience what is known as a mid-life crisis. I know there were rumors to the fact that I was going through this sort of trial in my life. But I wasn’t. No, in fact I really don’t believe I will ever act in that manner. No matter how adamant some people are and the rumors they spread. Yes, I hear the rumors.
            The funny thing is, to me at least, is that a motorcycle is completely within my character. After all, I’ve been riding for most of my life, I started when I was eight. So it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I purchased one. I mean, I have long hair, facial hair, I smoke cigars, I like rock and roll, and I speak my mind when asked. (all of these traits have gotten me into a pickle in one form or another over the span of my existence.)
            For me, when a person goes through a mid-life crisis they change a lot of things about themselves. What they wear, their hair, who they hang out with and purchase frivolities that don’t make too much sense to anyone. True, some would say owning a motorcycle is a frivolity but I assure you, it is a much needed part of my life. So aside from the machine that sits gleaming in my driveway, I don’t think I acted improperly. At least on the outside.
            On the inside, there are stirrings and thoughts that won’t go ignored.
            I like reading, I like watching documentaries and I love learning new things. So much so that my library in my house has overflowed into my office at work. (I hide books there, don’t tell anyone.) I’ve always liked to learn things and the subject doesn’t really matter to me too much. Of course, when I’m passionate about a topic, well, not much on this earth can stop me from absorbing all the information about whatever it is I want to know about.
            In school, back in the day when there was no internet, no mobile phones and definitely no cable television, I would spend hours in the public library and school library. So much so that most of the librarians wouldn’t even bother to have me check out a book. They shrugged and let me walk right out the door with them. They knew I’d be back and I’d return the tome or tomes I was absconding with. But when I really wanted a book, which was where all information came from back then, I’d try to save my money and purchase it. Or collect it by other means.
            My family, mainly my mother, I believe understood this about me and she singed me up for the National Geographic Book Club. Great club. Every month or two I’d get a new book about some exotic far off land, marine life, or various other topics. Hell they even did one on space. I still have those books sitting quietly in a box in my attic. I want to get them down and go through them one day and add them to the other Nat Geo Books I’ve collected over the years and am currently hoarding in my office. But one book, one tome, one hard covered dead tree spoke to me the most above all the others and it’s photographs drew me in so deep I dreamed about actually seeing the real artifacts they displayed.

            I’m sure you’re saying to yourself right now, “What is this book? Why was it so important and can I actually read it? The answers are simple. The book was titled “World Religions” and I believe you can still find a copy on the internet somewhere.
            As I stated the photographs of all the religious artifacts and places were amazing and the theologies as explained by the writers were not dumbed down. They were forthright and easy to read. Although, some of the reasoning behind the religions and how they started were a bit tough for my young mind to comprehend but I did my best. When I had questions, I went to the encyclopedias or dictionary. I figured out what I needed to and motored on.
            As I grew older I be-bopped around to various places and wherever I went I was subject to going to whatever faith based sanctuary the people who were housing me went to. I didn’t have an issue with going from say Catholic to Protestant to Methodist to Babtist or taking part in any of the creed based rituals. I went with the flow, tried to understand what was being done and kept my faith strong.
            Yes, I said faith. I am a believer. Which is where all this is headed.
            You see, while my lust for knowledge was and is not just faith based. I like science and math as well. All aspects of those two subjects. So much so that when I was a sophomore in High School I took an electronics class just to learn how electricity works. Fascinating subject. I highly recommend you delve into it. That’s where I learned about Tesla and Edison. Oh, and if you’re wondering, I’m a Tesla guy.
            In that same year my science class was learning about Einstein and what he did for the scientific community. While in History we were learning about the World Wars. I had a killer history teacher, even back then he considered both WWI and WWII to be almost the same war, with just a small break in-between the fighting. Heady times for my brain. Although my grades didn’t really show I was learning much, I was and I retained a lot of the knowledge as well and that has served me to this day.
            On television, between Kung-Fu theatre, Westerns and Horror movies I was watching all types of science programming. This of course was broadcast on the local PBS station. I was also a huge fan of the “In Search of…” series with Leonard Nimoy.
            All through those years of my life, the learning of our world, solar system, galaxy and universe never did I question my faith. Never once did the science part of my brain step into the faith part of my brain and vice-versa. I took things in stride and didn’t question them. The way I figured it, the Big Bang was the start of creation and it was just a term scientists used to coincide with the creationist story. After all, it fits.
            There was a void, God spoke, and everything was created. BOOM!
            Today however, my brain has been doing some crazy tangential thinking. It’s kind of a curse for me. For you see, if I don’t concentrate and keep my lizard like brain on the more crude and human side of life, it just wanders off into one of the many storage closets I have in my gray matter then it opens the door, pulls out a box and opens it up and decides to play with whatever it finds.
            Lately my mind has decided to use my knowledge of science and religion like a Punch and Judy doll. It keeps bashing them together and asking questions that humans have been asking since the dawn of our time. So I did what any modern man would do. I turned on my computer, went to Netflix and started watching endless hours on religious programing (Caution, it is painful at times) as well as endless hours of scientific programing. All of them supposedly un-biased documentaries. (Note: I don’t think they were all un-biased. In fact I had to turn some of them off because they were clearly an advertisement for whatever the program was about.)
            I did manage to watch a great program, hosted by Stephen Hawking which delved into the big bang and how it may have happened. Very interesting and extremely persuasive in its vagueness. The gist of the film came down to this, the universe was created before time and space. It appeared out of nothing by a quirk that deals with sub-atomic physics. Hawking stated that since there was no time before creation, God couldn’t have done the creating because God didn’t exist and doesn’t exist out of time. (That is a paraphrase, don’t quote me on it.)
            Now, for the most part, I agreed with him through the entire show. Until that last part. Now, I’m no genius, nor do I play one in real life. But, if God does exist and throughout the course of humanity we’ve been looking for him and can’t find him wouldn’t you say he either has a really good hiding place or… and this may be a stretch… couldn’t he/she exist out of time? Wouldn’t that be the best place to hide? I mean, if I controlled everything and didn’t want to be found, I would just zap into either a place of temporal stasis or out of the loop of time altogether and watch the fireworks through my porthole. I know, a bit naïve but it’s just a thought.
            You see, to me at least, I look around my yard, neighborhood, city, state, country, world, solar system, galaxy and universe and I see a lot of order that has been made out of chaos. A lot of things just make sense. Things work and balance out like an amazing machine. A machine that only a great Machinist or Creator could assemble. To think that it was ALL an accident of a stray sub-atomic particle deciding it wanted to perform it’s best impression of a pop-corn kernel is as preposterous to the faith community as a grand creator is to the science community.
            As for now, yes, I’m in a bit of a mid-life-faith-crisis. But that only means I’m more of a deist, like the great Thomas Jefferson and others than I am of a blind sheeple walking into whatever popular religion is being taunted today. I believe in God and Science. I believe there is a way both communities can live, thrive and survive together especially when both sides don’t have all the answers to all the questions. No matter how loud each side screams they do or don’t.

            Have a great week.

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