Thursday, November 09, 2006

Jesus died for my sins

OK, so I was standing in front of Dino's last night (in Yellow Springs), smoking a cigarette, when an attractive young lady approached me and asked if I wouldn't mind answering some questions. She warned me that it was kind of personal stuff, in case that would make a difference. I told her to go ahead.

The girl introduced herself as Carissa, I believe, at which point I introduced myself as Ryan. After the introduction, she said she and her male companion (who was still inside Dino's at this point) were from Cedarville University. By now I pretty much knew what was coming because Cedarville is a Christian school (Baptist, I believe).

Carissa asked me if I had any strong beliefs regarding God and spirituality and whatnot, to which I answered, "Yeah, I have very strong beliefs, but I'm always open to the possibility that I may be wrong, and my beliefs may change if I see evidence suggesting I am wrong." She then asked me to reveal my beliefs. Like usual, when confronted with such a task, I was not exactly prepared to explain my beliefs because I don't think about it a lot. That is, I don't go around trying to convince people to believe what I believe, so I don't keep all the justification for my beliefs hovering around in the easy-access zones of my brain.

I guess it's kind of like trying to explain my bedroom or something. My bedroom is what it is, and I don't have to think about it much, nor do I have to memorize things about it or have faith in it; I just sleep in it. And if someone asked me to describe why I don't feel my bedroom is some kind of mystical place, I wouldn't know where to start. Similarly, my beliefs regarding God and spirituality come from what I see, what I experience, and also what I don't see or experience. In other words, there is absolutely no evidence pointing toward the existence of a god, so I don't think about it much, nor do I spend any time trying to rationalize my clearly rational stance. So, unprepared to explain why I don't believe there is a god, I told Carissa something to the effect of, "I just don't see it (God)."

I told her I do my best to treat people right. Not because someone told me to or because some book told me to, but because I believe that's the right way to live. I figured that out on my own, and I think that's a lot better than doing it only because you've been ordered to do it. I know I don't always succeed, but I honestly try to treat everyone how I would like to be treated. And when I fail, it's in my nature to punish myself pretty harshly. The best part about my way of living is that it's inherently sincere. (This paragraph alone makes God meaningless, whether he exists or not.)

But that is not the point of this entry. It was just the introduction--an establishing shot.

During my conversation with Carissa, she asked me some questions regarding how I feel about gifts and giving. For example, when someone gives me a gift (which doesn't necessarily need to be a physical thing), do I feel obligated to reciprocate the gesture or repay the gift giver? Or when I give someone a gift, do I tend to expect something in return for what I've given them?

I told her that when I receive gifts or favors, I do feel somewhat obligated to reciprocate the gesture, but I don't believe the gift giver should automatically expect anything in return. I mean, they had a choice: Either give a gift or don't give a gift. No one made them do it, and no one made them not do it. Similarly, I told her that if I choose to give someone a gift or do them a favor, I have no reason to expect anything in return. If I have chosen to give someone a gift, I have done it according to my own free will, out of the goodness of my heart, and I would be an asshole to expect any kind of repayment in return for my gesture. If that doesn't make sense to you, please ask me to elaborate.

Soon enough she got to the "Jesus died for your sins" spiel. Yeah, I've heard it a million times. Whatever. However, unlike everyone who has ever said "Jesus died for your sins" in my presence, she actually made some sense of it. For once, it was not just a meaningless, parroted talking point.

How did she make sense of it?

She likened Jesus's life to the gift question. She said Jesus led a perfect life, a life without sin, specifically for people like us. As a gift to us, he paid for our inevitable sins with his life. If we accept his gift by letting him into our hearts and by repenting (or something like that), then our inherent sins will be forgiven and we will receive another gift: eternal life in heaven with God. But if we don't accept his gift, forget about it.

Now, I know I have not recapped her explanation very well, so this may not all add up. In fact, it's not even adding up to me right now, although last night I felt like I had a pretty good grasp of the point she was trying to make. (I can hang with the idea that Jesus gave me a gift, but I don't see how acceptance of that gift is grounds for another gift. Is Jesus expecting a return on the gift I didn't ask for or what?) Hopefully I'll remember some of the details and revise this so it does make sense.

Until then, let's just pretend it all makes sense.

So why shouldn't I give my heart to Jesus? Why shouldn't I believe in a god? Why shouldn't I believe it's impossible for me not to sin? Why shouldn't I change my mind and join her religion?

Because even though this explanation may make sense, it's all based on premises that don't make sense. For me to believe her story, I must first believe that a god exists, even though there is absolutely no evidence. I must first believe that Jesus actually was the son of that god. I must ignore the reality of the life I've lived for almost 33 years and blindly choose to believe that all the ridiculous stories about Jesus could have actually happened. I must ignore the reality that most of the stories about Jesus were written by people who weren't there to witness his life, supposing he actually ever lived.

It all comes down to this: To believe her explanation, I must ignore reality and believe fantasy. Sorry, not interested.

During our conversation, Carissa said some other things that caught my interest. One was the belief that all humans sin, that we're all imperfect and there is no way to avoid sinning. Sometimes we just can't help it, yet other times we do it even though we know it's wrong. If we accept Jesus into our lives, however, all our sins will be forgiven, regardless of whether we knew our actions were wrong.

Um, I don't buy it. Like I said, I try my best to be a decent human being, and I don't always succeed. No matter how hard I try, I know I will still occasionally fail to meet my own self-defined standards of decency. Would I say it's impossible, though?



I don't know. But I don't pretend to know, either.

Aside from not buying into the automatic forgiveness thing, I also think it is dangerous, stupid, and irresponsible to believe all your sins will be forgiven. If you believe in that bullshit, it just opens the door for you to do whatever you want. You know your sins will be forgiven, just because you accepted Jesus's mysterious gift, so why even bother trying not to sin?

The scary thing about that question: That's exactly the kind of behavior I see from almost all so-called Christians. They have no conscience because their religion allows them to have no conscience. They have no conscience because their religion encourages them to have no conscience.

Well, my "no religion" doesn't allow me to live without a conscience, nor does my No God. In fact, my conscience punishes me a million times harsher than any religion or god ever could, and my sincerity punishes me a million times harsher than any religion or god ever could. Furthermore, I pay penalties for smaller things that most people would never even consider sins, like that one time when I didn't wave or smile at the old lady walking down the street as I turned out of my driveway. Yeah, I felt real shitty about that one, even though she probably never thought twice about it. I felt shitty immediately following the missed opportunity for a random act of kindness because I hold myself to some pretty lofty standards, and I'll never get over the fact that I can't go back and redo it. And no one ever forced me (or even suggested to me) that I should lead this kind of life. I figured it out on my own.

After thinking about this stuff (and lots of related stuff) for many hours both last night and today, an idea has come to me. Now before I reveal this idea, I want to make it very clear that I do not necessarily intend to act on the idea. In fact, I do not expect to act on the idea, either. It is simply a hypothetical situation relating to the differences and similarities between my life's guiding principles and Carissa's guiding principles.

So what's my idea?

I should try to get Carissa in the sack with me. Yeah, I should try to get me some of that.

Now before you go getting pissed off at me or accusing me of trying to take advantage of the girl, consider a few things. First of all, I'm not that kind of dude. Even if I wanted to take advantage of her, I probably couldn't allow myself to do it because I respect her both as a person and as a woman. I'm not going to lie; I think about pussy nonstop, just like every other heterosexual guy does. But there is a HUGE difference between thinking about pussy all the time (which is completely natural) and actively pursuing women solely for the purpose of "conning" them into unwanted sex.

Here's why I should try to get Carissa nekkid:

First of all, her rules are more permissive than mine. She knows it would be a sin for her to have sex with me, but she also knows her sins will be forgiven. She already told me there have been times in her life where she has consciously chosen to commit acts she knew were sins, although she was not specific about what those sins were. I'd imagine a few of them are pretty easy to guess: She has probably allowed herself to hate; she has probably lusted; she has probably been jealous; she has probably killed bugs or other pests. She may have even had [pre-marital] sex; I won't speculate. But regardless of whether she has had sex or not, and even though she knows it would be a sin for her to have sex before marriage, she can do it if she wants because she will be forgiven.

Now consider some of the principles I've chosen to live by. I'll try to keep it short.

Dating back to my teenage years, promiscuity has been a major turn-off for me. I don't think promiscuity is inherently wrong or a sin or anything like that; it's just not what I seek in a prospective partner because it is indicative of a personality that does not consider consequences. Conversely, unforced non-promiscuous sexual behavior (or abstinence or celibacy) indicates a personality that does consider consequences. It indicates a thoughtful, trustworthy personality. It says, "You can rest assured that this person will never cheat on you, either sexually or emotionally, because she (or he) has been true to you even before she (or he) ever knew you existed." I happen to find that attractive in a prospective mate. (And no, I am not bisexual.)

Now, if I want to find someone who leads that kind of life, shouldn't I lead that kind of life myself?

Yes, I should. So I have.

Needless to say, my dick has spent most of its life in my pants. I don't care if people think I'm a total wuss for living that way or admitting it; I happen to respect myself immensely for showing such restraint and for not stealing anyone else's self-respect. And I know my actions have made me a good catch. Too bad no one else seems to realize it.

But you know what? I'll be 33 next month and I'm way overdue for some fucking pussy!!! There comes a time when you start realizing that maybe your honorable actions never meant shit. Maybe I'm just stupid. Maybe all it means is that I'm a fucking loser who hasn't had any pussy for years and, as a result, I have no idea how to get it. Or maybe it means I'm just days or months from being rewarded for my patience, my good behavior, and all the other stuff. Maybe I'm about to meet my soul mate. Maybe I met her Wednesday. Or maybe I met her on 11/2/2004. How the fuck would I know?!?

But that is not the point. My point is that I should try to get me some of that because her guiding principles allow it and my principles seem to have been proven pointless or wrong. I have been a very good boy for way too long, and I think I deserve something for it, on the condition that I don't hurt anyone. And I just may give it a try.

Maybe there is something else to be learned from this hypothetical experiment. Maybe I should try it because it will ultimately end up showing that I am too decent to go through with it. Or maybe she'll end up putting the moves on me. Maybe by trying it I'll end up finding a good friend in her, or a soul mate. Who knows?

All I know is that if Carissa walked up to me right now and indicated that she wanted to do me, I would fuck her fucking brains out. And I wouldn't regret it, either, because I deserve it.

Jesus died for Aimless's sins.

Another one gone

My dad just got back from the vet's, where he picked up Homer after having him fixed. He told me that before he left he accidentally ran over one of the outdoor cats. (I don't think I've ever mentioned this here, but we have kind of a "cat colony," with most of the cats living outside.) It was Mickey, or as I called him, Fart. Dad said he died pretty quickly.

He was a sweet little guy, a little over a year old. Kind of annoying sometimes because he would always get on my lap and sneeze when I tried to smoke in peace, but a sweet dude nontheless.

Like most of the other outdoor cats, I made it a point not to get too close to him emotionally because I've seen too many cats come and go over the years. It's a defense mechanism I use because I have a hard time dealing with animal deaths. But I still loved him and I'll still miss him. Poor little guy.

I love you, Fart. Goodbye.