Making Things Weird
My husband’s new favorite person in the world is Pete Holmes, a comedian with a brand new late night talk show immediately following Conan. We’ve been going back and listening to Pete’s You Made It Weird podcasts where he sits down with a fellow artist and asks them three weird questions. These do tend to get extremely off topic, turning more into casual conversations between friends that often erupt in hilarity. Past guests have included Zack Galifianakis, Judd Apatow, Demetri Martin, T.J. Miller, Chelsea Peretti, Jon Hamm, and Jim Gaffigan, among many others. Recently, we listened to Pete make things very weird with Sarah Silverman.
One of the topics that Pete generally always brings up is religion. Most of the time, his guests are atheists but he does have exceptions (Gaffigan, for example) and is somewhat of an exception himself; as a former Christian, he seems to find comfort in people who fully believe in God, heaven, and everything that goes along with it. Sarah identified herself as agnostic, and then stated something that really stuck with me. She pointed out how a person’s beliefs are almost solely based on where they are born. It’s such an obvious fact, but I never put much thought into it before she said it out loud.
Thinking back, I cannot name a single person in my family who chose Catholicism. They were all born into it. Had my family been located across the globe, my upbringing would have been quite different as far as religion is concerned. At no point did I choose to be a Catholic. I was baptized while too young to know what was going on, put blind faith in Jesus being the son of God because that’s what my community believed, and grew up as Catholicism as my normal. I had Jewish friends, I knew a little bit about Kwanzaa, but never questioned why other people fell into different religions, as I was happy with mine. We had Christmas, so naturally I wasn’t questioning things.
My atheism was and is a choice and it was the first honest choice I made regarding religion. I chose that belief (or lack thereof) for a variety of reasons that I can clearly explain and justify. But if you had asked me why I was a Catholic during the time I still was, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a list of good reasons. It was just something that was expected of me; get good grades in school, don’t act up around the house, and believe in God and strive to get to heaven. I was happy to believe whatever I was told to believe about Jesus so long as the Easter Bunny brought me goodies and Santa came to visit as scheduled. There was not one single good reason for me to be Catholic, to put my faith into so much when I had so few reasons for doing so.
Can you tell me why you believe what you do and give me justification for it that makes sense and is based on something real and concrete? If you can, you’re doing it right and should give yourself a pat on the back, regardless of what religion you claim and what God you hold sacred. But if you can’t? If your only reason is “that’s what I’ve always believed” or something else along those lines? What are you doing?!? Why put so much blind faith into something if you can’t even tell me the real reason why you believe it?
Everything can and should be questioned, especially when it’s something like religion that is so big in one’s life. I could care less who believes what as long as they aren’t bringing harm to others, so this isn’t about my atheism being right and your faith being wrong. It’s about not walking through life with blinders on. It’s about questioning things that should be questioned. It’s about being your own person instead of the person you were expected to be by your parents and/or community. It’s about strengthening beliefs, whether it’s in a god or simply in science. It’s about finding yourself. Tell me here or tell yourself privately why you believe what you do. See if you’re happy with your answer. And if you’re not happy, see what adjustments need to be made. Maybe you’ll end up feeling more confident in your beliefs, maybe you’ll discover a new path you should take. Either way, it can’t hurt to give it a try.
Posted on March 19, 2014, in Life and tagged agnostic, atheist, catholic, Chelsea Peretti, christian, Demetri Martin, Jim Gaffigan, Jon Hamm, Judd Apatow, pete holmes, podcast, religion, sarah silverman, T.J. Miller, you made it weird, Zack Galifianakis. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.