I could spend this post complaining about how I had nothing but headwinds the whole day, made no progress, and ended up sleeping in a ditch for the majority of the day. But I don’t want to. Oh the wind was in your face, BOO HOO! Today was kind of a throwaway day. Apparently the wind’s supposed to be at my back tomorrow so for today I’ll just sit and stare at stuff. Ok enough about the wind.
Because I didn’t do much cycling today, I had ample opportunity to think about other things in my life. Something that has unavoidably faced me for this whole trip is the topic of religion. I mean, I’m in the think of the Bible belt right now, and every town has about 6 different Protestant churches, so it seems fitting to write about it. Be fair warned that I’m writing it at a truck stop off the interstate so these are going to be unorganized, scattered thoughts about the subject.
I am aware of the immense cultural and social sway religion has over people. It’s such a big part of someone’s life, or menial to someone else. Either way, its influence is so strong, that it’s unavoidable. Being raised Christian I remember being a kid, looking at Jesus on the cross and thinking, “eh, that’s not for me. I think I’m just going to draw stick figures on this pamphlet until I get to go home and watch cartoons.” Church was like the dentist for me. In and out in 45 minutes, someone lord’s over you the whole time telling you how irresponsible you are, and you leave feeling numb. As a result I toyed around with other religions. I rubbed Buddha’s belly, read Sufi poetry, I tried to live in harmony with Taoism, and watched a bunch of Mel Brooks’ movies. Ultimately, I realized that an underlying constant was “Our religion is the best. Practice ours!” If I practice one, doesn’t that mean I’m rejecting the other ones, thus implying they’re wrong? Who am I to tell someone their beliefs are wrong? If you want to pretend Juicy Juice and Saltines are the blood and body of a mid-thirties carpenter, go right ahead. If you want to wear miniature wacky hats and talk like you have phlegm coursing through your throat, be my guest. There are a ton of things I do that I’m sure people think are silly. Problems arise when people tell others what they believe is wrong and decide to kill them to prove they’re right. That’s why I grew to resent religion. Now I’m realizing that it’s not religion to be frustrated with, but stupid people. Let’s be real here, people designed religion to cater their lifestyle, and that’s cool, but no two people think the same way. There are over 7 billion people on this earth. That means there are over 7 billion ideas of what God is. Organized religion was simply a place for people with somewhat similar ideas of what God was to get together and talk about it. I find it incredibly hard to believe that someone agrees 100% with the scriptures of their choosing.
No one can prove the physical existence of God today. Oh you have a book that says so! Here’s the problem with that. Now, this is my lazily thought out theory. Remember: interstate truck stop, sleep deprivation, possible dehydration. Not long from now, our race will eventually wipe itself out except for a few survivors. Those people will regress to a society similar to that of one 2000 years ago. One day, a survivor will uncover a book from a pile of debris and start reading it. “Hey this guy did some pretty neat things! Let’s make him our savior!” That book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That is such an unbelievably flawed theory it’s got more holes than Swiss cheese.
So either God is a really good mom that lets you yell, complain, and question her every motive but will ultimately be there in the end for you, OR God is a deadbeat dad that took one look at the human race he created and was like “Fuck this, I’m going out for a pack of smokes” and never looked back.
Be a good person. That’s basically at the core of nearly all religious teachings. But complicating that idea with meaningless details like not eating pork and hating gay people is infuriating. I want to eat bacon with my gay friend Tony! Why? Why? Why do you insist on infuriating me religion?
“Well you just haven’t taken a leap of faith yet, Tom.” Yes I have. I have faith in a bunch of stuff. I have faith in order. I have faith in plants. I have faith in progress. I even have faith in people. I know that every person on this earth has the capability and potential to do, create, or say something that can move others. That can inspire people. That can motivate people. That can propel those people to do, create, or say something that can move others thus perpetuating the cycle of progress. That is a constant throughout man’s history. Some people put their faith in very specific creations or ideas such as religion, anarchy, doughnuts, etc. The whole idea that everyone on earth had the potential to design and create their own personal religion that caters to their lifestyle, is my religion. Just as long as there’s no victim. But what if someone’s religion requires a victim? Well that’s a difficult question to answer and exceeds the parameters of this silly little blog about a guy riding a bicycle.
This is such an exhausting post. I grow tired of it. There are a ton of different things I probably would have said on a different day about religion. But that’s kind of what pleases me. My idea of religion is constantly growing and evolving. I don’t know. None of us really do. If religion was a board game, the objective would be: Try to be the most convincing while having absolutely no real idea of what you’re talking about. I sure know I don’t.
This song is incredible. I have faith in De La Soul. I have faith in good music. This is good music:
Total Ascent: 908 ft.