There's no punchline, that actually happened. I had just finished a show at the Funny Bone in Columbus, Ohio and a paunchy gentleman in his 50's was chatting me up. I don't know how we got on the topic of religion, but I made the mistake of telling him that I'm agnostic.
(For those too lazy to click on the link, it just means that when it comes to the 'how and why' we exist, I have the courage to say, I don't know, and I don't care.)
The guy wasn't a jerk or dogmatic, and the conversation ended with him complimenting my act, then disappearing into the mall.
Not five minutes later, he returned with a priest and a deacon dressed in full regalia, each toting a doggie bag from a nearby Italian restaurant. Apparently, the dude from the show summoned them like two off-the-clock super heroes to come save the clown from eternal damnation.
I liked the deacon right away. He had a friendly face covered with near-hipster whiskers and was sharp and witty. The priest was a bit smug for my taste, and both were in their mid-20's.
Like most good Christians--and they do exist--I don't wear my beliefs on my sleeve. If I believe in anything, it's common courtesy, and I generally don't voice my distaste for religion out of consideration.
Unless I'm provoked.
This particular evening, I felt like a zoo animal getting prodded, jabbed and gawked at by three slack-jawed deists.
"You grew up with Catholicism? What went wrong?"
I told them I was a bad Catholic...I asked questions.
"Don't you have faith?"
Yes I do. I have faith in my lack of faith in man. Man can manipulate and con the masses. There are sheepish people and shepherds with soap boxes. Hell, it continues today, and we're supposed to be smarter than witch-burners! Want proof? Google "FOX News viewership."
And peddling the idea of blind faith is the scam of a lifetime.
I began to question everything when I was 12. I was on the porch with my best friend, star-gazing, and I said aloud, "You know the only reason we believe in God is 'cos our parents told us to?" That was the beginning of the end. I spent the next several years looking for answers that no one had. Even a priest said, "You're just supposed to believe."
Then I felt guilty for not believing. Then I got over it. I came to the conclusion that I don't need religion to be a good person.
In essence, curiosity killed the Catholic. And thank Christ for that.
You could poke fun at my disbelief until the flying pigs come home, you'll only strengthen my grip on reality. But it rarely works in the opposite direction. Most people get offended if you rag on their religion, even if said ragging is civil discourse.
In my opinion, "getting offended" is just insecurity with a fake nose and mustache.
So I remain Agnostic and sure of it. It's not cowardly, it's honest. And for those who say things like, "get off the fence," I always reply with tongue buried in cheek: "I like it up here...it puts me above the rest of you."
Oh yeah, so back to the three wise men...each shook my hand and took their leave. It was a lively discussion, and my pleasant nihilism remains intact. The deacon gave me a genuine smile, but Father Superior's good-bye reeked to high heaven of judgment.
At that moment, I bet he was thinking the same thing I was thinking: God help this poor soul.
Okay, sermon over. Go now, in peace.
spiritual hugs and hickeys,