a righteous SUIT column by Chris Jungle
I reviewed a Welsh movie called Taliesin Jones this week. Most of the films I review consists of B-movies, kung-fu, and second rate comedies. I think I'm about sixth or seventh on the reviewer depth chart, but this was different for many reasons. The movie is based on the book--The Testimony of Taliesin Jones, and it deals with the concept of faith. The young boy thinks that by putting his hands on people and praying that he can heal their sickness, as long as everyone involved believes. He believes in dragons and God with the same intensity.
The simple pleasant feature made me flashback to my own youth and bouts with faith. I believed in God and went to church with my family religiously from age 3 to 15. After that, my involvement with Christians would wane to the point where I rarely come in contact with them. I maintain to this day that the worst thing about Christianity is the Christians. I never understood how people who went to church every week could be so judgmental and exclusive when they were told to do otherwise almost every week.
By the time I was 18, I had given up on God altogether and went on with life. I sought truth and concrete answers to my problems and curiosities. Faith and belief were concepts for the weak and unintelligent. I would challenge anyone who came up to me, trying to spread the word of God. Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, Baptists, Methodists and what have you. They were all misguided sects of a popular cult. I looked at Buddhism, and there were some good points. A little too much sitting and thinking, though. I looked at Rastafarianism, and it turned out to be Christianity for pot smokers. All of the organizations fell short for me. Just like Groucho Marx, I would never be a part of a group that would have me as member.
After abandoning faith entirely, I claimed to be existentialist. Every person is responsible for their own actions. No God or deity is watching out for you. This thought process, while closer to coinciding with my own beliefs, still had its flaws. It did not explain some of the strange inhuman occurrences that happened. Even by stripping down human existence to the core, it did not satiate my soul.
Living in New Mexico, people speak a lot about the power of the land. This place has been blessed by different types of humans for thousands of years. I would hike in the Sandia Mountains and feel the healing power of nature. Life growing on its own without the support or interaction of humanity. There is something to it. I began to think that it might make sense to believe in the Earth. Even though I had doubts about the creator, I had no questions about the creation. Without the Earth, I don't exist. By going to nature, I became engulfed in power of the planet. Animals became good luck omens, and the forests trees and rocks became my friends. Karma became a viable concept. Any time I feel out of sync, a trip to nature always helps the perspective.
Again, the Earth theory didn't hold enough plausibility. I began to think of the Universe in a god-like manner. In fact, if you replace the word Universe in every description of God, it actually holds water. The Universe is everywhere, the Universe created Earth and the Heavens, the Universe created man. The origins of the Universe are is mystifying as the origins of God. If the Universe is God, then it clears up many of the questions. Why does the Universe allow evil and pain? How can the Universe allow good people to suffer? Is the Universe listening? The answer is that the Universe is everywhere and does not worry about what's happening on one tiny little planet. It has more to deal with (like holding itself together). It gives us that unexplainable yet tangible energy. It also seems senseless to worship the Universe. We are part of the Universe. What we do affects what happens to the Universe in a tiny way. If you take this thought far enough, it means we are a little part of God ourselves. All that pain and suffering that God allows is because we are the part of God that allows it.
This is where my spiritual exploration has led me to so far, and I must be honest, I don't think about it all the time. I don't even bring up my beliefs very often for fear of explaining wrong. Like Taliesin Jones, I may be believing in things that aren't really there. Even with this self-made belief system, the conclusions on how to live my life are in step with many major religions. The Golden Rule still stands. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Respect the land and world. Without it, we are nothing. Take responsibility for your own actions. Spread as much positive energy as you can. It really does transfer. And in the immortal words of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, "Be Excellent To One Another, and Party On, Dudes!"