I care not for a person's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
I am the beggar on the steps of the temple asking for and living on alms. There is no bench between here and the market. There is one stone about knee high. I sit on that to rest with my groceries at my feet, my cane in my lap and mutter out loud to myself as an old man should. Those who pass by think there's a crazy old man sitting there. And they;re right. I sit in the cave staring at the shadows on the wall. I am one who knows they are only shadows that others call realities. As with others before me and after me I try to interpret those shadows.
I am a caricature, a cartoon, a shadow on the wall that resembles an old man with a cane who mutters to himself and never goes to church.
I will remain on the steps and not enter the temple because I've been inside and I know it is a magnificent and beautiful chamber of hypocrisy. Inside is preached the negation of life, the removal of the vital forces of existence, the degrading of the innocent, the veil that covers true holiness,. The great door of the temple is an invitation to enter the sanctum of false security, to relax into the arms of unreason, to join in the celebration of a paradigm of delivery to an unknown source and to emerge cleansed and purged of the need to affirm any responsibility for ignorance and wrong doing.
Humanity is dressed in white robes of purity which cover up the sweat of true worship if there is any.. I no longer listen to what men in pious robes or everyman costumes tell me what God thinks, says, does or doesn't do. The simple fact is they don't know. They are staring at the shadows in the cave like everyone else. Concepts of God change with the flickering decades.
They can hang the Ten Commandments on the wall if they want to, but a plaque on the wall is not going to save anyone. There is no less paganism today than there ever was. Once outside the temple people go about worshipping the old gods of money, power, medicine, war, litigation, vengeance, hatred, exclusivity, status, prejudice, bias, ignorance: subtle sorcery, beliefs and practices of every shape, size and color.
One may get to heaven by being good. Good is what we are supposed to be. But leave me the freedom to try to be better than good. Don't coax me to accept your faith. Don't pray for my immortal soul. No one has the right to do that. Don't quote scripture to me. I've read it over myself many times. I wonder how many pious pseudo deists, including the ones in the robes, visit the fatherless and widows and keep themselves unspotted from the world.
I will practice my religion, if I practice any, at home, away from the candles, choirs and cheering mobs. And I know my dog and cat, if I had them, would prefer it that way.
DB - The Vagabond