As Easter approached, Daniel seemed to take a greater interest in the subject. While spending time with his grandmothers, he asked questions about what various items used in worship were for and what people at church do.
He doesn't get much at home. As you may know, God doesn't bother me and I don't bother Her. Still, I think it's important that he knows about it, if only to understand all the to-do about Christmas presents (which I'd happily dispense with entirely) and Easter Eggs.
We did sign him up for RE at school, although we now have considerable disquiet about it for reasons which have recently been publicised.
Sitting there this morning with people of like minds (but unlike mine), I felt a slight pang of nostalgia. I remember well the times I spent at church. There aren't many institutions that provide that sort of fellowship to people in the community. This is often cited as one of the important benefits of churches... and I think it's right. It seems difficult to think of other "groups" which might provide it. And in these hyper-individualistic and -materialistic times, it's hard to see why people would get together in such a way if they did not share some beliefs in common.
But there's the rub. It's those beliefs that bother me.
I was brought up in the church and I get it. I really do. But the core tenets of the faith are, to me, so very unlikely that they're not worth bothering with.
It has been suggested to me in the past that atheism is very arrogant... How can one be so sure that there is no God? Well, that would be because there's no verifiable and repeatable experiment that would reveal Her once and for all. Yes, I'm banging on about the scientific method again. A lot of people much cleverer than me over hundreds of years have worked very hard to find out more about the natural and man-made worlds. We've all enjoyed the benefits of that work. I wouldn't claim to know everything myself but if I have faith it's in those people.
My faith, such as it is, is not misplaced. There's knowledge and then there's what we do with it. If believers want to cite spurious scientific advances, I cite all the horrid things done in God's name. (Or Gods' names... that goes for the Muslims, Jews, Hindus,... insert your religion here.)
Let's turn it around. How can you be so sure there is a God, less one worth worshipping, especially when you insist that everyone ought to share that belief? That seems pretty arrogant to me. Furthermore, I'm happy to admit that our understanding of any phenomenon might, through established scientific methods, be turned on its head. Religious adherents, on the other hand, would deny that cannot be a God and would probably be incredulous if some experiment disproved Her existence. Now there's the fundamental difference in our positions.
Easter has me thinking about these things, so much so that I am prompted to commit my thoughts. Previously I wouldn't have, but in these uncertain days, there some really scary shit around.