A week or so ago, I read this article that made me laugh and yet feel so sad. Seems there is a guy from India who is in exile and may serve prison time for blasphemy. What he did was investigate what was making a statue of Jesus "weep". Supposedly water is dripping from this statue and people are drinking this "Holy Water" in hopes it will cure their ailments. Tragically, the water is sewage that is seeping up from a leaking pipe! But when this man reported on his findings, the religious were incensed and want him thrown in prison!!!!
I find the story so....well perfectly metaphorical.
I sent this news story to a person I knew, who claims to be very anti church, and it started an email exchange which much to my dismay went ass over teakettle down the hill.
I often post rather anti-religious rants on here. Without going into a long blog about my past life, how I was raised, and my growth as a rational human being...suffice it to say, I am at LEAST agnostic, if not atheist. So, I followed the "weeping Jesus" story with a reference to Stephen Hawking's thoughts on "There is no God".
Much to my dismay and surprise, I got THIS response:
"Like Stephen Hawkins, you live in a crippling reductionistic reality defined and limited by materialistic physics, which we all know came into being from an unknown defying all the supposed absolutes such theorists postulate. I will pray no such crippling disease affects you, although you too propose a mechanical unfeeling life.
You are free to drown yourself in the swirl of a mere molecular mindset of binary code and bio mechanical engineering. I will walk on the water."
Let me state from the onset, I'm really happy...TRULY happy. I have a great life, for which I am ever so grateful. I have a fabulous daughter and a brand new baby boy. I love and adore my beautiful (inside and out) wife. I love what I do and I do what I love.
NO...it isn't always easy and, matter of fact, most of the time it's pretty tough. I put in long hours and spend ridiculous amounts of time in my studio but I CHOOSE to be positive, happy, and always striving to make it all better.
So when I get such an accusatory, condescending, and self righteous note...it makes me sad. I feel sorry for the person who sent it. It also just reinforces my view of the religious.
Judgement and arrogance disguised as compassion, is a congregation of the narcissistic. A "we know better" club which prays for those for unfortunate non members.
Then there was this quote from that same email:
"All the years spent disrespecting the sanctity of women and profiting from your abusive objectification of them, have now come back to haunt you and you find yourself dependent upon such a beauty for your welfare. Yet even now you claim no righteous judge rules the universe with compassionate concern for all. Will you not learn a lesson?"
This is a rather common dissertation from the religious. So much assumption is made about how I feel regarding women when people view my work when the truth is my work reveals what lies beneath in the viewer. When someone views a photo of a naked woman and calls me a "pervert" or says I "abusively objectify women", it reveals the feelings that arose in THEM when they saw that image. There is NEVER any question asked of me regarding what I FELT when I shot the image. No one ever says,"What was it about this image that you found compelling?". The religious just rant about the images and in doing so, reveal their own discomfort at what is inside them.
And just to set the record straight, the nudes I have shot have cost me a tremendous amount of time and money without a single penny earned. I work hard for every cent and have strived to build a photography business in a tremendously competitive market place.
But back to Stephen Hawking. In view of our place in the Universe, I find immense peace and comfort in my own insignificance. None of us, not even the greatest of us who have ever lived, commands a nanosecond of importance. Isn't it a relief to know we are all star stuff and unimportant and yet every atom from which we are made will go on? Individually insignificant, yet part of the ultimate significance of the existence of the universe!!
I was hang gliding one day out in the California desert, 8,000 feet above the valley floor when an F-15 fighter jet blew by (and under) my right wing. I had just been thinking about how tiny and insignificant I was up there and what joy and peace I got from that feeling. The jet certainly drove home the point! I wept, I laughed, and if I believed in angels I would have heard them sing. It was an AWESOME, AMAZING experience.
Coming to accept our own insignificance gives us the freedom to love, to create, and to take responsibility and joy in the eye blink of a life we have. It allows us to revel in the ULTIMATE importance of here and now! So during these holidays and all throughout the year, let's all strive to live life to the fullest. To love what we have and laugh every chance we get.
I feel sad that this person views me in such a way because it only reveals what is inside her.
But…for my part… I will continue to live, love, and laugh. I often tell my friends,"I'm sorta like a puppy. I just love everybody and wanna hump their legs!"
Happy Holidays to all you other puppies! I'm off to have an Asahi! (yea - I switched beers!)