Yesterday marked the 12th anniversary of my father's passing. I miss him dearly, and think about him daily. One frequent recollection concerns his frequent tirades against organized religion. From as far back as I can remember, he railed against every sect, every belief system, and everyone who took his or her religion just too seriously in his view.
To most people, he was an atheist, but he didn't care for that label. Instead, the term he used derived from his general derision of all things religious: "Fuck 'em all!" he would yell to anyone whose ears were in the same house or just outside, nearby. Hence, he was a Fuckemallist.
Get this one point straight, reader: He was not really an atheist. I do not refer to his frequent cursing, which invoked some god's (God's?) name numerous times in the span of a project, but rather some sort of spirituality that defied being named. Or, at least, no commonly accepted term could be readily interpreted by the uninformed listener as a terse summary of his beliefs.
In the same manner, neither do I consider myself a Christian. To call oneself Christian conveys a boxcarload of attributes and pre-conceived notions, not all of which can be true for all people, all the time. Nevertheless, a whole lot of people call themselves Christians. It's a safe thing to do, a popular thing to do. Get just about anyone talking, though, and you'll rapidly find that they don't uphold a good many facets of Christ's teaching. Maybe in some future blog I'll develop a good list with which to take someone apart, but not here, not now. All that matters here is that I employ no label. To do so is to employ some level of pretense, and if there's one thing I don't do well, it's to pretend.
Am I a Fuckemallist? I'm not sure; I certainly did not agree with my father's approach to things. What he did do for me, though, was to keep me and organized religion at two arms' length until I was off to college, whereupon I was exposed to all manner of different systems of beliefs. By 18, I'd made up my mind not to make up my mind for a while. Now at 48, my mind is still malleable, and is still keeping organized belief systems at bay.
Am I worried about going to Heaven or Hell? Um, shouldn't the answer to that be easily deduced? And also irrelevant? Mostly what you need to know is that it ain't any of your damn business what I should be worried about concerning my destiny beyond my death.
I am, however, much impressed by the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. To live as he would have us live -- isn't that important? In that regard, it is very much your business how I go about living my life, at least as affects you, whether directly or indirectly -- and vice versa. We're all in this world together, and somehow we have to get along. To follow the teachings of Jesus, we would all get along a whole lot better, and in so doing the world would be a better place.
That's how I feel about it. That's very close to how my father felt about it, too.