pastels on paper.
Here. Try this:
How strong is your faith?
Is it more real than the evidence of your senses? Of your other beliefs? In the validity of your sensory perceptions? Are emotions that are not spiritual less powerful, less True, to you? Test your faith in the violent light of THIS context. Stand your faith against these words, if you can:
“I SPECULATE that I can touch the face of the woman that I love with the rise and the fall of every breath that I take.
“I OPINE that the woman that I ache for, that I live for, her for whom I would die all deaths, lives and has a mind and heart. That her lips, the softest in a million worlds, TRULY DO touch mine warm and wet in the morning.
I SUPPOSE that my friend is real. He who stood beside me as I warred, exhausted and failing, failing against the softness of death. That I may embrace him. That he will feel it, as I feel the strength in his arms and the old love in his eyes.
“I PROFESS TO BELIEVE that my eyes see this screen. My eyes that have served me since seeping light into colour into form when I was a tiny child and new to humankind. When I saw and I saw and I want the feeling that I have forgotten, of seeing colours, such colours in this world! My eyes: the shock of blue and black and red that gave me; gifted me in spectacular benevolence the holy face of my mother.
“I HOPE THAT IT PROVES TO BE THE CASE that my hands that have fought, fists and wards against my enemies – that have and written and worked and bled for me – are mine own. That they can teach and touch and trust and trace the arc of the jaw of the woman that I love. That the tactile memories that burgeon within me of hurt and blood and lust and sex clasped in rage and held before me in prayer, are fed to my seething aching mind the ambition of truth.
“I TRUST in the veracity of the fingers that have forged everything that I have made. With which I touched myself tenderly as I felt the first stirrings of sex. The fingers that hit the keys in front of me and that have brushed against the warmth of what humans I have known. The tips that have fleet the soft blessing kiss of tear from my lovers’ faces. That have shown me the texture, the heat, the shape of the world.
“I ASSUME IT TO BE TRUE that I can hold close to me the child that I have sired, that I have loved and taught and feared for. That I really, REALLY CAN feel the warmth of her sweet breath against my chest as I carry her with every gentleness I can find in my heart to her bed. That I can smell her hair and hear her steady breathing as I lay her down and step hesitantly away. That she is real. Her, my child. Her, whose sweet sleeping form I watch in the half-light for long moments, amazed a thousand times that a miracle, the best of natural miracles, found half of its well of inception within me. Her, sleepy in the quiet of evening. Whose perfect, perfect face I carry before me in my mind as a sigil, a ward, a spell of strength. Her whose need is a terrible weight and dire command. Her love the most beautiful thing I have ever known.
“I CHOOSE TO IMAGINE TO BE FACTUAL Her existence; the best reason to fight that there has ever been. That the stunning wonder of her birth – when my patella smacked the hard white tile floor and I found I was on my knees and tears of joy were streaming hot and salty down my face – ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
“I SUSPECT that the life that leaps and hurts and shudders inside me is MINE.
“I HOLD that I truly LIVE.
“I CREDIT, I POSTULATE, I PRESUME, RECKON RELY AND VENTURE that my body exists and that I am not a creation of a sickness in a mind without a world.
“I hope that I walk this earth.
“But I KNOW that God exists.”
Then this is outright, unmistakable. By choosing, swayed by beauty, experience, love, pain, to believe in God. We are howling into the night, screaming and frantic to hear ourselves. To BELIEVE OUR OWN VOICES!
With this choice, we are saying this: “The divine waits with every unexperienced second. This moment is FECUND! It is PREGNANT with hope!”
Perhaps it is not that we conceive of a divine past, but that we believe in such vast improbability to ordain a divine future. To make it inevitable.
The most beautiful symbols in the history of the Western world have shaped and tugged each essential violence. They are as omnipresent as ourselves.
These symbols have fired the lungs of ten thousand prophets. They have sustained fervour amidst tortures upon tortures, and death upon death in vast numbers lost to time.
Tens of thousands of martyrs have screamed their crucial and earnest fidelity. In gorgeous and compelling abstraction as their lungs were seared and they burned alive, as blood and pain and life poured from them.
These symbols have compelled children to hope. They have told billions of illiterate men stories. They have forced souls barely able to carry the weight of their hate to philanthropy out of fear of the possibility of their truth and the reality of their power. They have given beautiful hearts a means to twist our society from universal brutality to a place with unemployment benefits and public health care. To the point where slavery is almost unknown in this lost and vicious world. Wonders of love.
Because of these ideas, countless human hands have been raised. Weapons have been envisioned, forged, distributed. An endless number of proud human lives have been dedicated only as soldiers for God. Killers and rapists for a concept of love. Adherents to horror excused and endorsed in murder. Heroes for God even in their own hearts. Millions of lives. Millions. Of course. Considered thought exploring and exploiting endless possibilities of tragedy written into human flesh; finding revealing actualising and using endlessly creative machines with which to hurt other humans. The genius of the kill. Adherents to a God of pain.
From this source, from here: emotion blooming in human hearts inspired into conviction:
These tools of thought have led endlessly, endlessly, to war.
I wonder what has allowed such surviving rituals as the wine and bread to follow us from their dark and unknowable origins into the moments, the passions of our lives? Eucharist has an aesthetically seamless nature – “here, eat this symbol. Enact it. Force it to be real for you by participating in its arcane order.”
A process of transformation from concept to belief and hence forcing sensory input to lose its veracity. Fingers slip bloody from the emptiness of the unknown. I cannot begin to grasp what occurs as the ritual is performed, when this happens. As the symbols in the process of ritual are given belief. As they are given CREDENCE.
Drink. God created the world. This liquid the colour of blood was drawn from the endless flood of his wounds.
Eat. This explicit piece of the world is carved from God’s very flesh. You hold his skin, the meat of his body, within your mouth. it. Swallow.
He is INSIDE YOU NOW.
I posted this initially with the text stopping at the last sentence above.
But I can’t do it.
I just can’t.
I am in truth a passionately devoted atheist. I just think a lot I suppose. And I think religion matters, don’t you?