Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Olga of the Roses

Princess Olga of Kiev or Saint Olga as she is better known in some circles. Something of a cruel mass murderer (as was the custom) until her conversion to what might be described loosely as the Christian faith. She looks like a bit of tease in this oily rendering with the smoky come hither eyes, odd way to be holding a cross etc. but what do I know? It was all very important around 975 AD or so.

There now follows a fairly senseless, formless scribble that's really no more than an uncontrolled rant or some kind of elaborate and ultimately unsuccessful typing exercise:

I'm not religious but I spend a lot of time thinking about religion. People sometimes talk about spirituality and religion as if they were the same, but they're not. Spirituality is mostly mumbo-jumbo beliefs that require certain behaviours to be exhibited, some are pretty daft some more reasonable. Eyes are often closed at key moments and you might be prone to talking to yourself a lot in candle light. If you're spiritual you've kind of given away a certain part of your life to some ghostly idea that you cant quite describe but you remain intrigued by that shimmering idea anyway. People often get spiritual when a close friend or relative dies, this is understandable and I have some sympathy for how that happens, fear and desperation can drive all sorts.

Religion is also about behaviours but more in a "have to" way than the "need to" ways of spiritual beliefs.  Combining these two things is in my opinion pretty dangerous (just look at  history) and often not at all useful for a stress free life. I know when I'm thinking about religion, most of the time I'm not thinking "hmm, perhaps I should start following this particular teaching etc." I'm mostly thinking "this is a complete crock of shit, how can I sensibly argue against it without causing too much offence". 

My problem is that I really don't want to offend people and I'm pretty much live and let live but I think it's necessary to have an argument or a view in place come the day you're confronted with some religious zealot who wants you to join in. So in my view religion is about power, dogma and control and the distortion and corruption of these very things. I suppose if it was expressed in political terms the Tories would be a strict but hypocritical religion and the Greens would be more or less on some spiritual kick. This is only important in my own head.

So I spend time thinking about these things and also trying to avoid them, that's not easy. Despite our generally heathen ways religious and spiritual trappings are everywhere and of course mostly misunderstood or distorted because the common language of expression in these areas means different things to everyone. Teaching with any kind of consistency doesn't work and there are many versions of the truth and none of them actually, properly true. It's a fine mess of questionable facts. Best not to hold rigid beliefs even though it actually is harder to believe than not to believe but people say they do, or they believe that's what they are saying. In the end I should never have read so much CS Lewis and peppered my brain with circular questions back in the day.

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