Friday, May 16, 2014
Toward Freedom XXX
It's a disorienting process, reading the history of the ancient world. Groups coalesce, become stronger, add more groups, become kingdoms. Changing conditions encourage movement into areas new to the arriving group but home for those already present; assimilation or displacement. Ideas move with the people.
Is God really just an opinion carried about by empires, one more burden amidst the bundles attached to pack animals? I found myself somewhat adrift; why do I believe what I believe? Do I really believe it? I have always tried to sort facts from all the noise of life, but there's no scientific test of the existence of God, unless I conclude that my own unstably continued existence is proof of someone in this universe who cares more for my life than I do.
In a discussion a few weeks back, some friends and I were talking about avatars in Second Life. I've tended to see my avatar there as just a place-holder, but more recently I've learned more about how to do things there and have made some adjustments to my avatar's appearance.
Some people really go all out in customizing their appearance. In my real life I treat clothing as mainly a way to stay warm and protected from the sun. Beyond that, I just like color. None of this au curant beige or black, please. I do the same in Second Life, and have often marvelled at those who spend much time sculpting and dressing their avatars.
My thinking spread out from that. In essence, I've lived as an avatar in real life, I thought, avoiding many of the interactive aspects of human life. I just wanted to be left alone. Encounters usually ended badly for me; the main defense I learned was to avoid and, if avoidance failed, give up as little as I could and then repair the damage later.
As we discussed avatars and relationships I saw a hint of an abyss at my feet. My avoidance of things led to not learning about those things. How to get along with people, especially women. How to get along with myself. I'd stereotyped a lot of this, and ran on automatic habits. Freedom in the future was always in the future. Now it was right in front of me. I have to go there?
Aloneness is how I do things. It's a state of mind. If I can't do something myself, I don't do it, as asking for help was always fraught with danger. Help usually devolved into the other taking over, and who was I to fight?
It's the same for my relationship with the God who has picked me up several times. I let him patch me, and then I forge on alone. "God helps those who help themselves," after all, and that idea clings.
Last year I started to get an impression that God wanted to join me on the walk. He wanted to comfort me on the long nights, help guide me through the confusion, hold my hand when I was scared. Being me, I said "That's nice" and then ran. Help is NEVER on my side; it's more the way large empires have wanted to "help" their smaller neighbors throughout history.
Man encounters God, and man ceases to exist. Or... man encounters God, and God does something in that man's life. The man stays a man, becoming more able to make decisions that come from who he is rather than from habit. God allows mistakes but shines some light on the process, and the man slowly learns that here is help that's neither a demand nor an attempt at domination.
It's hard to believe. Hence, the shakiness when presented with the waves of gods that come and go in world history. What differentiates one from another? For me, presence. I don't know who all those other gods were beyond their names and the facilities built for them. So far as I know any dying done in their name was done for the purported sake of the god's glory: people striving to be good enough. None of them made any attempt to approach people on their own terms. Only Jesus has shown real interest in people as they are. Only Jesus came to our world to walk with us.
Where does belief come from? Is it just a chemical imbalance, changeable with the right injection? It can be shaken, and it can be destroyed, but before anything is done there is a belief that it can be done. I'm glad God has enough belief for the two of us.