A few nights go some friends were talking and one of the guys was complaining about the poor service at a restaurant. He said, “I don’t know what it is about restaurants, I just don’t get appetizers.” A wiseacre in the group said “What’s to get? They are little pieces of food and you eat them.” Which struck me as a bit funny, but I was rolling on the floor when the first guy, more emphatically said, “No, I just don’t get them!”
And for me, it is the same with Christianity, for the most part. I just never really got it.
I was raised Roman Catholic and at one time would have been considered a pretty religious kind of guy. Went to church every Sunday, was an altar boy, went to Catholic schools for 10 of my 12 years and so on. Went on retreats, did the soup kitchen and social service kind of thing, read the Bible, found the New Testament pretty quotable and did so liberally and read the Catechism and other Catholic teachings and writings. Not exactly a theologian or anything, but for the most part better educated in things Catholic than most people in the pews, by my estimation.
I will be the first to admit that all this education and reading did not add up to any kind of spiritual practice. I did OK on the social justice kinds of things, both with the checkbook and volunteering, but prayer was not something I did a lot of and I never really felt any supernatural presence in my life.
To be honest, mostly what my education did for me was to make me cynical and critical, not only of the church hierarchy, but of the whole notion of God or any supernatural reality. Perhaps cynicism is just a natural state of mind for me or, as I like to think I evaluated the evidence and came to a logical conclusion.
As more of a mind clearing exercise, not thinking that anyone would actually care to read this, in the next few posts I am going to talk about some of that evidence and how I weighed it and how that has resulted in my moving away from Christianity, at least in the strict sense. Along with that I will talk about some of the aspects of Buddhism that have appealed to me and how they compare and contrast to my “street level” understanding of Christianity.
Stay tuned. 🙂