Thursday, July 2, 2009

The only magic I believe in is love / The only religion I belong to is music.

I've realized something about myself today. Something that I've known for a while but today, chosen to embrace. Everyone has something that they don't like about themselves and I think I've figured out what my least favorite trait is.

As you may or may not know, I was raised in a devoutly Christian home that was full of both love and support. My parents, believing in Christianity themselves, obviously thought it best to make sure my brother and I were in church as often as possible. I completely understand why they thought and did this so I'm not in anyway questioning their intentions or love for us, its just part of the story. So from an early age, the church teaches you that nothing in the world is as important as your salvation and faith. Only you can be responsible for your salvation and it is more important than your friends or your family or, literally, anything else in life. Because it lasts forever, right? Its the one thing that you'll have forever. The importance of faith was so ingrained in my mind, that by the time I was in high school, I was constantly thinking about religion. It made sense though, because I believed that it was that important and I lived my life by it.

Now its several years later and I don't believe it anymore but now I just think about how I don't believe it all the time. Its maddening and I really hate it about myself. But I guess if we've learned nothing else from the apostle Paul, its that zealous people will always be zealous no matter what side they play for.

I think its admirable and necessary for the faithless to be vocal and if I've made anyone question their faith by what I've written here then I'm very proud of that. I started this blog because I wanted to try my hand at writing and knowing that I would talk about religion because, as I said, I think about it way more than I would like to. Also, religion provides me with a seemingly endless supply of topics with a lot of different angles to discuss. But the Internet is a strange place to talk about heavy issues, and its especially difficult to try and talk about things with a bit of dry wit and have it come across the page the way you intended. Things I write and think are funny, someone else reads and thinks they're inflammatory. So it goes.

So people get offended and while that was certainly not my intention, I'm not a moron, I knew it would happen. Most of the people that get offended are my family, but I told myself (now I'm not so sure), that in the long run this would be good for us all because I haven't felt like my family has really known me in a long long time. Which is my fault. I act differently around them because I know that I think and say things in my normal life that would be gravely offensive to them. So its a labor of love, this censorship. Its the same reason I never told them when I was having faith crippling doubts or flirting with suicide because god's silence had convinced me that he had abandoned me. You just don't want to trouble them, you know?

So I guess, if I have any resentment towards the church, or god, or Christianity, its not towards the people, its towards the belief system and the years I feel like I wasted thinking that god had a plan for me. But I don't think I'm going to write about religion anymore, at least for a little while. I don't feel like I've said too much, in fact, I don't feel like I've said enough but I'd like to try my hand at being a normal person for a little while. I'm not the only skeptic in town though, so if you feel like you'd really like to be offended or agreed with, might I recommend PZ Myer's blog Pharyngula.

One of my favorite songs from 2006 is "Rise Up, Rise Up!" by Cursive, where at the climax of the song Tim Kasher sings "Do you want to hear my confession, my greatest sin? OK, here it is: I wasted half my life on the thought that I'd live forever."


  1. You write so well. I hope you never feel silenced. Your thoughts and feelings are always important and even though this sort of stuff bores me (maybe that's my one fault), I still would rather listen to you any time of the day, all day, than have you feel like you have no one to talk to or shouldn't talk in the first place. You are wonderful and intelligent and I want the whole dang blog world to know it!

  2. I think this is well and good. It is difficult enough to grapple within yourself with these things & sharing it so openly with those who feel they have a vested interest either in you or in the subject matter can just compound all feelings & thoughts to an overwhelming degree.

    I am personally (selfishly) bummed because I really like what you have to say about all this. From the little I have read here I think your views are well reasoned and that your having lived on both sides of religion & still having a loving relationship with your family gives you a unique voice. It is a balancing act I know all too well. I hope you know that there are others out there in similar situations - for me that is a comfort in itself. Also, your wife has your back in the best way and that is the greatest!

    I look forward to continuing to read your blog & hear your thoughts on a myriad of other subjects :)

  3. zealous people will always be zealous no matter what side they play for

    This is so true, and I get it.

    I wrote a lot more but I just deleted it to leave it at this: disagreement always breeds conflict. But your beliefs are your own, and if censoring yourself is what you want to do because getting along will make you happier than conflict, then that is 100% what you should do. But it's your call. I hope whichever you choose has the benefit of desired result.

  4. Wow with every new entry I read on here they remind me more and more of myself. Good to know I'm not the only one.

  5. Your wife is right! You're an awesome writer. I look forward to whatever you write about, although I do have a personal love of the religion topic. I know it can get heated and feelings get hurt, but I think if you're going to devote your life to a school of thought, it ought to be able to stand up to the criticism. Everything should be questioned.

  6. I give Taylor a week. anyone want to start a pool?

  7. I only scanned everyone else's comments, but I agree, keep posting on religion (wait, you already did.) :-) I like what you say and what it makes me think about--you definitely have a supportive readership.

    I don't know how to phrase this so that it's comment-length, but the only time in my life I ever felt religious, really, was part of when I dated Andrew. I probably was really a jerk about it. I feel like myself now, but I'm still definitely digging through a lot of why I acted/thought that way. It's embarrassing to me. I want to be firm enough in my beliefs to not really fall for anything again, I guess.

    The point is, I'm glad you're posting, & I can understand the constant interjection of religion into your thoughts, whether or not you want them there. You're a smart dude, Taylor, let your brain go where it will.

  8. I's good to know as many parts of yourself in the present as you can, because it helps you see how your ideas have changed and re-shaped themselves, or how you yourself have re-shaped them. I also think your ideas about religion are interesting (I've been reading, just not commenting because Jasper likes to be held and typing long comments one handed is a challenge, so I'm going to try to make up for it in one HUGE comment), but simultaneously respect that you want to "be a normal person a for a while."

    HOWEVER..what is normal? I write about babies, or one baby, all day long. I'm sure people are SICK of it, but right now, my life is seriously devoted to this little guy and every completely small or large thing that he does. I people really, really, really care that Jasper can hold on to things now? Most likely not, but I just wrote about it, because it was such a huge moment in his life so far.

    Believing or not believing in something is a huge thing to me. It doesn't have to be talked about a lot, but taking a stance, one way or the other, is usually a character shift in some form or fashion. I think blogs, if anything, are places of expression. In fact, I routinely use mine to talk about all of the things that everyone I know is already sick of hearing about, because the odds are someone on the Internet will dig it, because it's the first time he or she has "heard" me talk about it. I know I just contradicted my earlier paragraph, but that's how I roll.

    Did any of this make ANY sense? You're already a writer--a writer as much as you are a musician, if I may judge by your songs (in a good way)--so it's natural that you express what you think here. I think you'll find an audience who is willing to read about anything, be it religion or not. And it's no fault to your family if they're tired of hearing about it, you are, Mr. Rosewater Presents. Blogging. At your blog.

  9. I don't always chime in, but I always take the time to read your posts and really enjoy them. Specifically, I love your posts on religion - you articulate your thoughts much better than I can. I avoid posting about religion altogether, because I know I would ramble, offend, and be offended. I am not as open-minded as I would like to be with respect to this topic, and I have very little restraint when it comes to protecting the feelings of others on these sorts of issues. You mentioned having pride in making someone question their faith, and I think you should also be proud of creating a platform where someone like me can quietly observe how a (mostly) diplomatic discussion on religion should play out. I hope your hiatus from posting about religion is a short one!