Who would have thought that the God-unfearing, hell raiser, shit disturber that I am grew up in a priest house. No, seriously. For almost a decade, I lived on 4 rue Graffée 5000 Namur, with willow trees weeping in the backyard, a red and blue boulangerie on the East end of the street and a green-signed lycée on the West. Two steps from this house of memories lived Paul-Henri, my very first crush and across from it lived beautiful Vlora, my partner in crime who is now married to an affluent Albanian doctor. There were approximately 60 priests living in that building. Those I remember are Père Ministre, my childhood best friend; Père Sauvage, the philosopher; Père Manon, the biologist. Then there is also the priest who criticized my sloppy violin playing, the priest who taught me all the color symbolism of the Catholic church, the priest who lied sallow in his coffin for a week and is forever frozen as my first encounter with death, the priest who gave me crackers and tea every Sunday at 4pm., the priest who talked for three hours about Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and the priest who spoke the most beautiful words on Sunday 10 o'clock mass. They never forced their beliefs on anyone and they always truly listened
instead of waiting for their turn to speak (even if it's a six-year-old speaking). And when they taught (they were mainly professors at l’Université Notre-Dame de la Paix
), when they explained things, there was always a sense of tremendous passion for knowledge and inspiring devotion to learning that shone in their eyes, which I later assumed was from an inherent peace of faith.
What came to puzzle me in hindsight after I left Belgium was that such intelligent and knowledgeable men were unable to see the fallacies of the system on which their faith rested upon. Well, I don’t actually know that they were unable to see those fallacies, but at the very least they were able to overlook them. Sure, the story of the Bible is alluring and a true work of art, but believing in its God seems just as reasonable as believing in Greek mythological gods, Atahuallpa’s devine gift, !Xu
, or Chinese mythical gods (For instance “盘古开天地”, “女娲造人” are stories that, as a matter of fact, bear eerie similarities to creationist tales familiar to the western world: 盘古(pan gu) split a mass of nothingness with His axe and thus created sky and earth, light and darkness. As he aged, His body metamorphosed into mountains and ravines, creeks and rivers, the moon and the sun etc… In such an empty and lonely world, 女娲 (nv wa) decided to mould, from dust, figurines in Her own image and soon gave them companions. That was some 4000-5000 years ago. Talk about parallel worlds. As a woman, I’d actually prefer this tale. I mean, geez, I always knew women were first to come.) Everything is just so… arbitrary. In order to make sense of it all, I probably came to some conclusion that much resembled a simplified version of Pascal’s Wager--before I even knew Pascal was more than just a pyramid of numbers. (On a tangent, that was not a cheap shot at leveling myself to Pascal: compared to that guy, I’m a baboon. I guess my contention is that there are simply no single original thought, unlike what modernity has fooled us to believe. It all depends on what I call Opportune-Combi-probability which I may or may not elaborate on at a later time. I think A.D.
vaguely wrote about the same idea in one of his posts, forgot which one, but in any case it just reinforces 'my' [used loosely] theory). Anyhow, I supposed that in certain logic, in all probability, you gain to have faith. And my dear priests were just smart enough to realize that and chose to believe and it happened to be of Catholic nature.
But regardless of my realization, I just can’t seem to have faith in any construct that does not ring truth to me. Let’s take a random example for God’s sake: the way Moses split the Red Sea in two seems in all honesty as probable as me having 50inch-long legs and a size 36D chest (I’m Chinese). So, no, I prefer not to harbour such illusions. Then, the past few years have made me thoroughly aware of how deceptive believing in science can be as well. I just kept on sinking into some sad existential crisis as I sat surrounded by a thousand careless hung over jocks and unassuming thong revealing JAPs in oversized sweatpants, learning about the various serine-threonine kinases, Rb dysfunctions, Serotonin neurotransmitters, Micro-satellites, genes for nurturing, mating and cleaning behaviours, brain regions crucial for cognitive tasks etc... How someone who once possibly believed in free will and such can instantly be reduced to a bag of totally un-sexy cells in chemical resonance (or not). That perhaps my lack of faith is simply due to an abnormally low level of Dopamine, that my emotional constipation is probably due to some gene RCx225 located 23 cM from the centromere of chromosome 8 and that the way I absorb everything visually is due to the increased activity of metabotropic receptors in the superior left frontal lobe of my brain. Maybe I’ve just developed prejudices that make me unable to find scientific explanations cool, beautiful, or empowering enough. Damn conditioning.
So I guess, I’m stuck suffering a little technical glitch right now. It seems like I’m playing a torturous waiting game on a quest to make a change while trying to study my way into med school in order to work as a Médecin sans frontières someday, as cliché as it may sound. Meanwhile, I feel like such a douche under-using my axons and dendrites like the procrastinator that I am, blogging my life away (considering the size of this massive post, oopsie daisies :S). But hey, at least I can blame it on the genes.
Anyway, I suppose it would be a lie to say that I lack faith entirely, for I’ve always fervently believed in the existence of truth, as vague as it may be. And as brilliantly put by LaRoi
"I don’t believe in God; I believe in Truth. And if my journey towards Truth should lead me to God, then so be it.-- "