Eggos and God

February 6, 2012
By Anonymous

This past weekend, I celebrated my spare time by treating myself to a sophisticated, chic brunch of scrambled egg whites and an Eggo® French toast waffle. This most savory delight was so extensive in its ridiculous tastiness that it forced me to reconsider my agnostic viewpoint—how could such satisfying combinations exist without a god? While my doubt was only fleeting (the answer is, of course, science and experimentation) this question sent my mind reeling. Why am I agnostic? Am I truly as liberal as I claim to be? Why do I claim to accept and respect the same thing—that is, religion—that I scorn?

My refusal of religion stems from both nurture and nature. As a baptized Christian, I grew up having visited more temples than I had churches (those Bar and Baht Mitzvah years really fine tuned my fictional Jewish roots). In fact, the only time I can recall visiting a church not for a funeral was an Easter before everyone started dying, when I was about five years old. The “everyone” who started dying consists of mother’s parents, husband, and best friend, who all passed within six months of each other.
Which brings me to Nature. Religion tells me that if I act righteously and do not sin, then I will live a grand afterlife, or something. Somehow, I don’t buy it. If this Abraham-Lincoln-meets-Heath-Ledger looking fellow is really watching over us, someone should send an optometrist up there and then tell him to redirect his hand of tragedy to the people who deserve it. But yet, the dreamer in me cannot allow total atheism. It’s too harsh, too dismal. It’s not a fear of oblivion (which I do share) but rather, a need to believe that everything happens for a reason and that some higher order aligns our universe that labels me a hopeful agnostic.

In every case, my extremely secular outlook has undeniably impacted my views on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, birth control, and gay marriage. My argument is most often that a person alone has control over his or her life and that neither society nor the government can dictate how he or she should live it. Now, I often follow up this assertion with, “if others want to let their religious affiliation impact their decisions, it’s their own prerogative, but it’s not fair for them to press their views onto others.” However, even as I speak, I find myself resisting a massive eye roll. Any time I listen in on an argument and hear phrases like “the Bible says…” or “well, God tells me…” I strangle a desire to substitute reason for fists. And I regret that. The rational part of my brain often reminds me that religion is an intricate aspect of culture that, like TV and movies, I have separated myself from. For many people, an optimistic viewpoint isn’t enough to cope—they need divine promises to encourage virtuous lives and to get them through the darker days. When I repeat these ideas, the whole Religion Thing seems easier to swallow, but only just.

It’s this very contradiction that makes me wonder about the nature of liberalism. Of course, this isn’t to say that my brand of Liberal defines the whole lot of us, but I suspect I’m not alone in this trap. Taking a stance that says, “do your own thing,” is no less impassioned than one that says, “do only my thing.” No matter how much freedom we grant the world around us to act on a whim, our actions will leave someone with a snide remark trapped in a clenched, sour jaw. But then again, leave it to God-or-Something to please everyone.

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