I had an anthropology trip to New Jersey today. I've always thought I'm an open minded person, particularly when it comes to religion. I tend to think all religions have some amount of truth...more truth, in general, than not.
Today, we spent half the day with Coptic Christians and half with Muslims. We had lunch with the Christians and dinner with the Muslims. We broke the fast and sat in on two prayer sessions. I know this isn't what most people would expect me to say, but it's what I came away from it thinking...
I'm a devout Humanist I think. Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist...whatever. After hearing so many people justify so many illogical things and talk about history and politics and faith in ways that all used the same (lack of) logic to justify themselves, I couldn't help but think that it was all somehow an exercise in how much we, humans, can believe whatever we want.
They both (along with cadets who were telling me about their own religions and how their
religions were superior) would distill their teachings to the essence, which always came down to "be good to people" or "love one another." And that all sounded great...then they'd get into the minutiae of what God apparently expected...wear this, don't eat that, say this...stand here, face that way...or worse, the patently wrong things, "well...women should..." or "once you're married..." etc. It just made me want to throw my hands up in disgust and say, "but what about the love and acceptance you just talked about?!"
And yet...I still feel pulled to religion, after all that. I can't pass a Catholic Church without wanting to go in for a minute, see the Tabernacle, or a synagogue without thinking of the great sound of prayer in Hebrew, or see a Buddha without feeling peaceful. Such is life I guess...a series of contradictions.
I remember my priest telling me that being baptized Catholic was like being a fish caught on a hook. You might not know you're hooked, and might swim far, far away...in fact, God could let out enough slack you don't even know it's there any longer. But, at some point, he's going to yank, and you'll feel it...and he'll pull you in again.
Maybe that's what I feel sometimes...the tug.