Religion and Overthinking

Sorry, folks. This is a long one.

TL;DR
I show my past contempt for religion while maintaining my composure. I tell a harrowing tale of an experience I had, and speculate on its meaning. I also entertain some cool ideas. All that and more below.

Artwork by Actividia

I spend a lot of time contemplating my existence. I read and listen to books on the subject, watch videos and documentaries, read and/or debate other views on social media. I spend even more time just thinking aboutit all. How it all ties in like pieces of a puzzle. Hoping beyond hope that I (me, a layperson) will figure it out when no one else in history of the entire world has. Somehow, I will discover what ordinary physicists, biologists, astronomers, and mathematicians have simply overlooked. Yes, I’ll somehow solve it if I just keep working at it. Yeah, right.I wonder if anyone else feels like that.

I used to get furious with the notion of a grown adult believing in religion. It used to drive me nuts that anyone could be so easily brainwashedby such complete rubbish. I would gladly debate any of them at every opportunity—family, friends, and even customers I’m supposed to be selling something to at work (even if it would cost me thousands in commission). These are the hallmarks of a fierce and ruthless debater. And I was thatguy—and then some.

It’s not that I was an atheist. I have never claimed to be an atheist, and I never will. In my mind, there is no such thing as an atheist (the way they think of themselves), since believing in no god is (still) believing something without all the facts. I call that faith—faith in the idea thatthere is no god. Since you can’t know, you must choose one, or stay in the grey zone until you can figure out if you’re going one way or the other: Agnosticism.

I would define myself as an agnostic. I grew up without religion, except for the celebrated holidays based around bunnies, pancakes, and Santa Claus. We had candy cinnamon hearts, coins hidden in pancakes, hunts for chocolates, putting our teeth under our pillows, and opening gifts at midnight on the 25th. While our parents told us some stories from the christian perspective, it was rare and delivered more like a fairy tale. But my parents encouraged my brother and I to be open-minded and ask questions. They were both fascinated by the mystical. We didn’t attend church, but I went to a catholic school for JK, SK, and grade one. It was awful, traumatizing, and I remember fearing the nuns worse than any other living thing. They still scare me. My amazing parents ripped me out of catholic grade one after Mrs. Taylor made me stand in front of the grade two class and announce that I had stolen all the scissors. The truth is, Ihad such terrible social anxiety I did not return them each time I used a pair. The class would all line up to get their scissors—me included—but I would have been the only one for all to see at the front of the class if I were to bring them back. I couldn’t have that, and I could never get the timing right between kids. So I shoved them into my desk and tried to remember to bring them all back when no one was there. I never did. I already told you the rest.

Back in the early 80s at the public school I attended (my second school), we had to stand and recite the Lord’s Prayer each morning after the national anthem. I’ll level with you, at no time in my childhood did I ever even once know what the Lord’s Prayer was all about. I knew it phonetically only. It might as well have been in Aramaic, it was all the same. I’m not sure anyone else knew what it meant or not. But I guess it was just something I did backthen, like brush my teeth or comb my hair. And with the end of the public school christian prayer in 1988, so too did anything remotely religious force itself upon me again during my adolescence… unless they were hall rentals or graduations. The rest I began the quest for on my own at 14.

Fast forward a few decades and I have still never willingly attended any church function. Only the occasional christening, marriage, or confirmations of friends or distant family. In the catholic ones, I would always say, “May the Force be with you… and with you,” at the appropriate time. No one thought it was funny. I have attended no other churches or temples since but would like to now. I’m not sure if the fact I have only attended christian things has added to my disdain for Christianity the most, or if it’s because they scare me the most. I think it’s the latter.

If you want to know how I see fundamental Christians (a special kind), the perfect example would be the old scary preacher man from Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist. That is exactly how I see fundies (that’s what the atheists call them). So in that sense, religion scares the balls out of me. I mean, look what undying faith can do. Bad stuff, man. Perhaps some fantastic stuff, too, but also some terrible stuff. People die and kill in the name of a god. Bad hombres in every religion. But the non-christian religions of the world seem so far away from me and I have little personal experience with them. In my world, there are mainly catholics, Jehovah’s Witness, or something evangelical (which I feel is insane)—all of them a form of Christianity. I suppose I might feel the same about any other religion if that was the predominant one around me growing up, but they weren’t. I never even knowingly met a Jewish person until I was in my early 30s. Same with Muslims or any other faith. But please, this does not mean I hate anyone because of a religion. I do not. I may strongly disagree with any faith that requires you to hurt others, but I do not condemn people because of it. I also feel that hate was not the intended original message of a anyreligion, from any standpoint.

I am an avid supporter of science and thus am a progressive. I do not understand how anyone could not be that, but to each their own, I suppose. If your god requires you to halt the progress of humanity because we might discover he doesn’t exist, you gottaask yourself who’s really putting that idea in your mind. If you have to give God money through a church, you gottaask yourself what’s really going on here—especially when these pastors are driving their lambosthrough the 30-foot guarded gate to their 14-bathroom estates. If you have to use the term “god-fearing” when referring to your rendition of a good person, then you gottaask yourself if that’s the kind of vengeful god you hope lives up in the clouds. Last, if you relish in the belief you will be rapturedone day and all the unbelievers (fellow human beings) will burn with Satan in hell, then you gottaask yourself if you are, in fact, the good god-fearing person you imagine, or an actual good person.

So what do I believe? I believe there is something else before and after this. There is far too much evidence of reincarnation to discount the possibility and there are far too many identical experiences when melatonin converts to dimethyltryptamine and is releasedin the brain to ignore that, too. I joined the AMORC Rosicrucians in ‘03 and the Freemasons in ‘12. I read books ranging from The Pagan Christ to Unto Thee I Grant. I’ve watched countless real documentaries (with real scientists) and have worked on grasping quantum physics for years. I worked with psychics on History of a Haunting and took part in group meditations with the Hamilton Pronaos Rosicrucians. I have meditated, almost astral traveled, and tried The Secret on for size. All of theseexperiences have value for me, and a place in my mind. But the strangest thing that ever happened to me was on the airplane coming back to Hamilton From Banff in ‘12.

My friend and business partner, Todd Brown, and I were on a flight coming back from the International TV Festival where we represented History of a Haunting. The flight was smooth until the end where the plane hit some rough turbulence. The plane kept dropping rapidly, like an ultra-fast elevator when it first heads down. It kept doing that repeatedly as we were descending to land. The ground was getting close now, and we kept dropping at a rate of what felt like 1000 feet per second, and then repeated. People on board around me were losing their minds, and it included me. My anxiety was at its absolute max as I knew we would die. It felt like it was far too long a time living with that knowledge. I couldn’t believe the terror I felt. Such loss of control. It was going tohappen and there was nowhere to go but down with the plane. Just as we neared the ground, it dropped one last time and smashed into the ground causing a massive explosion which swallowed us all. Then I snapped out of it. I was still in the plane and we were landing. The plane was dropping the same way again, but this time it landed on the runway with a loud thud—and this time it didn’t explode. I was wide awake the entire time and had been sitting up in my seat. I told Todd right away and I think he told me to write a movie about it.

I know someone will look this as a scene from James Wong’s Final Destination, but I assure you, this happened. It forever changed me. I didn’t understand it. It didn’t feel like a premonition—not that I know what that feels like. It felt more like it happened and then my consciousness reverted to a timeline where it almost happened but didn’t. That’s what I felt had gone on there. Then I thought about all the times I almost died and then asked, “What if I diddie? What if our consciousness won’t accept its own death? What if infinite possibilities exist simultaneously in countless dimensions and our consciousness moves in and out of them carving a path through the dense jungle of possibility?”

And then one night while falling asleep listening to Coast to Coast AM, I heard a guest describe almost the same thing and posed the same questions, and then he gave the theory a name. The guest was Dr. Robert Lanza, and he called the theory Biocentrism. He wrote a book of the same name about it. The concept is that you are the creator of the universe and not just a random participant dropped in. He bases his Unifying Theory on mind-blowing discoveries in quantum physics and the great work of many notable scientists of the last century or more. You can check out the wonderful Biocentrism world by clicking here and checking it out (I am not paid to say this).

Years later, and with a good head start into my 40s, I am seeing there may be a warm comfort in one’s faith and it makes them feel good. I realize now that hate can also be the thoughtless ridicule of a religious person in the name of science. The person ridiculing does so because he/she wants to inject reason into the other; show them the truth they’re so blind to; make them see they’re wrong. But this only puts these people in an uncomfortable place. They feel awful if they’re really listening. And what’s more, they usually dive deeper into their faith if only to draw power from it to resist the facts that made them feel sick in the first place. Many of my atheist friends do this on random social media posts while also condemning hate groups in another thread somewhere. I did it also.

Now, I am not accepting Jesus into my heart or changing my mind on how evil religion can be; nor am I a proponent of faith in anything other than in the sense that your spouse remembered to turn off the oven this morning. I don’t think we should respect any religious notion that causes anyone harm. I simply appreciate the idea there are many people that don’t spend all their time trying to figure it out—they have faith in what they believe and that’s enough for them to live a good life, full of appreciation. And as long as they love and accept people for whoever they are (race, gender, religion, politics, sexual orientation, etc), and not feed into the hidden hate that lurks in the shadows of religion as it does atheism, then they are heading up the same mountain everyone else is, whether they know it or not… just maybe not the same route.

So, in conclusion, as of the time of this writing, my current metaphysical understanding is somewhere in the middle of:
Biocentrism, Buddhism, Existentialism, Nihilism, Last-Thursdayism, time travel, The Matrix, Groundhog Day, The AdjustmentBureau, and What Dreams May Come.

There’s truth somewhere in that list.

I just know I’ll find it…

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