Sure, it means that I won’t BE one of those people who gets angry about all those people out there getting angry about their own personal god–but it also means I’m just sitting there on the sidelines going, “hey you guys–what’s going on? What are you playing? Get angry in the name of god? Oh cool. Looks like a vigorous game! Can I play? No? Okay.”
And then you just end up sitting there on the sidelines and watching everybody else have their angry fun and the only other person who is not allowed to play is the atheist waterboy-poet, whose greatest joy is being pale and wearing all black and grousing angrily about how nothing matters in the universe anyway, and we’re all going to die and when you die, that’s it, there is nothing else.
Can I mention something? I don’t know how things are now, but early-ish after 9/11, when they quick built 7 WTC and immediately it sat empty for months and then years–one of the first tenants (and probably, still the only one) to move in was a science group. Great Objective Persons. These people are not afraid because they’re cool with the fact that we’re all doomed: we’re all made of carbon–that’s about where it begins, that’s about where it ends. Sure there’s some mind-body stuff going on, but we can talk about that in terms of chemicals, and how thoughts ARE chemicals, so basically we’re back to the whole carbon thing.
Anyway as scientists, they’re cool with being on the 40-something-th floor and having a terrific view of the city and the Brooklyn Bridge, and oh yeah, also the big pit directly below. It’s just molecules, people. Nothing to be afraid of. (or IS it?)
The spiritual-but-not-religious person has certain freedoms. One of those freedoms is to walk around without a crucifix or a rosary or a ganesha totem or some of those red bracelets of that Jewish thing that was so popular a few years ago (Madonna)–this freedom from the trappings of religion then leads to the other freedom, which is to ignore that icky feeling you get in certain places where there might be ghosts, and then also ignore it later when you’ve spent a lot of time in those places, ignoring certain feelings, and then later you find yourself doing things that don’t really make sense for you–like sort of sleepwalking around aimlessly, or maybe like, levitating three inches off your mattress in the middle of the night.
If that happens to you and you have a religion–likely you have a community of people who will sprinkle some holy water on you and murmur some phrases, or if it gets really bad, maybe they’ll murder you. For your own good, of course.
But if you’re spiritual, and not religious–you do what you have to do–chalk it up to carbon–and just get on with your day. And your night. Floating three inches above your bed.
I don’t know which is better, to be honest. Being part of that muddy football game of religion–or not really having a very firm mattress. Maybe someday those scientists on the 40th floor will be able to tell me.