Sunday, June 24, 2018

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Angelology and Demonology, that's more fun than we're allowed to have.
- Rev Dr Lindsay Bates

"...lest He proceed to some unimaginable and shocking act--create perhaps, as a casual afterthought, a being more beautiful than man."
- from "Immense Journey" by Loren Eisling

I took my mother to church a few weeks back. The sermons are pretty hit-or-miss at my sanctuary, sometimes the pre-posted subject is more or less literal than one expected. This time, it was more literal: an attempt by the retiring Reverend to summarize her beliefs in a single lecture, a request made by a member who had "bought" the right to request a subject at a fundraiser some months before.

On the trip home, we talked about it, and my mother expressed a concern which surprised me. She suggested that someone who doesn't follow an established religion, but rather their own path, must go through a lot of work discovering what they do and don't believe.

I suspect my sanctuary has fewer members who hew their own path than I hope, and more who simply feel ostracized from their established churches for reasons more centered on politics and interpersonal relations than belief. But that's not for me to say.

I have addressed before that there is no "church" for my beliefs. That's mostly true. Some of what I believe would cast me as heretical in the more traditional religions, and much would just get me laughed at. On the other hand, being a pantheist means the Earth is my deity (or close enough), so my attendance to worship only requires experiencing nature. While I'd prefer that would have minimal infringement by civilisation, it's a longer journey than I'd like to get clear of the noise and light pollution, being outside is enough.

But don't let me cast the impression that it's been an easy road. More introspection than I probably should admit has gotten me to where I am, and I'm far from done.

As for the first quote I chose, I don't believe in angels or demons, except in those that plague our minds. We all have our demons, and they're more commonly referenced than our angels, and I suspect that's largely because people prefer to identify as the role of the angels rather than painting themselves in a more reasonable light.

As for the second, well, I think Dara O'Briain said it perfectly well:

Something really fucked up on an evolutionary level: we find the young of other species to be more appealing than the young of our own. Not just kittens, not just puppies, lambs... ducklings... baby crocodiles... 

It's pretty much a given that there are beings more beautiful than man.