Carnivorousness

If you come in my cage I'll eat you too!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Why I respect religious people.

I do not believe in God. I wish that I could, but I don't. I used to think badly of people that did. When I was younger, I was disparaging of the intelligence of people that believed in God. As I got older and met more people and gained more life experience, I began to realize that those that had faith were merely different than I was. It may be because of brain chemistry or upbringing, I am not sure. I suspect that there is something wrong with atheist or agnostic brains that prevents us from fully fitting in with society. In any case I have a story about a person I know who is very religious. Here goes.

I have a particular brand of looks that appeal to Asians. When I go to the sandwich shop across the street from work, the Cambodian women that run the shop wax rhapsodic about my looks. They tell me how young I look and tell me that I get more beautiful everyday. They do not do this because I am such a good customer. There are usually other women I would consider better looking than I am in the shop, but they do not get the treatment. When I first began to work at the library, my Philipino co-workers called me "Miss America" or "Beautiful." They were always trying to fix me up with their nephews and friends because they thought I would make beautiful kids. In a curious way they seem to directly correlate my looks with goodness and they like me because of my looks. They think I am both beautiful and good, neither of which is true, but I have been lucky enough to have many good friends who are Asian. If this is due to my appearance, I can only be grateful for it.

I used to catch the bus to work in the morning from a certain bus stop. When I first moved to the neighborhood I was living in, I saw, on most days, a Philipina in her late 60's. We would talk while waiting for the bus and we would continue our conversations on the bus. Her name was Rose. I learned that Rose was a cafeteria worker at a high school. She said that she was still working in her late 60's because she had a daughter that was divorced and she gave all the money she earned from her job to her daughter to help her grandchildren. She would tell me that many of the teens that came to the cafeteria did not have money for lunch but that she would give lunch to them for what money they had, or for free. Rose was the epitome of the word, sweet. Rose thought that I was beautiful. She took a particular liking to me. Rose was very Catholic. She had an Our Lady of Fatima rosary book. Rose knew the rosaries by heart, but she loved this rosary book, quite literally to pieces. It was her most precious possession.

One day, on Rose's day off, she came to the libary to see me. She asked me to fix her rosary book. She knew that I worked in the book-mending section. She brought me plump juicy grapes when she came. I actually made a new book and it was not easy, because the old pages were worn and hard to copy. I looked in all the art books at the library to find a pretty portrait of Our Lady of Fatima to put on the cover of her book. I tried to make it durable because I knew that she read the rosary every day, a few times a day and that she would take it to the Philipines with her every year. She was very happy with the book. She began to drop by regularly and bring me fruit or handmade kitchen towels or flowers. She invited me to her house for a party that she had for her dead husband, who she called "Papa." She had a party for him every year on his birthday. I went with my hippie co-worker, Miriam, who was always in trouble at work for her constant social gaffs. Rose's family was a credit to her motherhood. She had a son who was a doctor and he was married to a very cool Caucasian woman. Rose's son spent the whole party discussing movies with me and Miriam. Rose had beautiful, smart grandkids. I remember that her grandaughter had just gotten a thumb watch, which she said that she had been longing for, for forever. In any case Rose had a warm and loving family and a beautiful home. She had had a loving marriage for over 40 years. This woman was very, very religious. She found much comfort and beauty in her faith.

I felt like a fraud, that Rose would like me so much and consider me worthy of even being at this party, with her family. I had no such accomplishments as she had. I had no real beliefs. I was not close with my family and had not raised children to be successful as she had done. I could not sustain relationships with men for very long. I felt uncomfortable that she liked me so much. That's when I began to see that what I had believed about the faithful was crap. It is me that is weird, not they. I am not as smart as I think I am. I am not in any way superior to those that believe in God. When I hear or read people disparaging the faithful, I know that most of them are just like I used to be, falsely superior. Totally wrong in their assumptions about the religious. I also think that there is a strong element of racism in those that hate Christians. Most of the whites that despise Christians make exceptions for religious people of color, but hate white Christians. It's as if they think that whites should be smarter and more advanced than everyone else. In reality the world could use a lot more women like my friend Rose. Rose finally retired and moved in with her daughter.

6 Comments:

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At 2:49 PM , Blogger John Doe said...

The problem of religion today, as you say indirectly, is that many people speak about this matter just from a sociological point of view. Obviously, as a religious man (bueno, ya sabes; lo soy a mi manera), I prefer speak about religion from a spiritual point of view. I ask myself if believing in God is good to be, maybe, a better man, and if believing in God is a way to save my soul. In any case, I think that believing or not believing is not related to intelligence. I’m going to cite to Tom Wolfe one more time. He said once that, when he was a child, people went to the church whether they believed in God or not. It was a social stuff. The good of modern times is that we can live freely (?) our beliefs without considering what people think about us. The bad of modern times is that a lot of [usually, leftist] people has not learned this lesson, and they use to think they are superior and more rationalist. And, frankly, my dear Miss C, I doubt there is any relation between the human reason and the human desire of transcending. Yesterday, people believed in God because it was a social imperative; today, many people don’t believe in God because... well, you know, is cool. They’re snobs atheists.

 
At 3:48 PM , Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

SF'
That was a very profound comment. The Tom Wolfe reference was right on. You articulated beautifully what I have come to understand about those that believe in God. I am sure that there are very religious people whose IQ's would blow mine out of the water(you probably). Not to mention, highly educated people like the last and present Popes, and C.S. Lewis. And yes, even I, went to church as a child. My mom read the bible to me and I said my prayers every night. My mom did not believe in God, but she let me decide for myself, by letting me attend different churches with my friends. My mom was a good mom when I was a small girl. I still go to mass on Xmas eve and find the ceremony very beautiful and moving. I am a former and reformed athiest snob! Sf, I am thinkiong that you should write a blog in English too.

 
At 3:21 PM , Blogger John Doe said...

I was reading by chance an article about CS Lewis' conversion to Catholicism two or three nights ago.

And yes, they say that Benedict XVI was the most important theologian of the past century (well, the left-wing Catholics, and a great number of anticatholics, think that Hans Küng was the best theologian at that time...). I'll write a blog in English when I write fine in English. Actually I should buy a few English grammar guides! ;)

 
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At 9:29 PM , Blogger John Doe said...

CS Lewis converted to the Church of England (not to Catholicism), I'm sorry.

 

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