This I Believe

Rev. Art - Fairborn, Ohio
Entered on January 30, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I was raised and schooled as a Roman Catholic, even attending University of Dayton, a Marianist college. I was always serious about my religion. I was the kid in Religion class who was always asking the teacher difficult questions. From the time I was 15 or 16 I realized that more and more of my questions were not being addressed to my satisfaction. Gradually, I concluded that the Church could not resolve my doubts, although I continued to sing in the parish choir. My complete break with the Church was triggered by the pastor, a humorless old Puritan, and his abrupt decision to switch to all Gregorian Chant for all occasions.

My dissatisfaction with the Church ranged from the metaphysicians’ “proofs of God” which engage in circular reasoning to the lynchpin doctrine of Jesus’ death on the cross so that all the rest of us humans would be saved from Hell. I remain unconvinced that a world-view founded on the idea that the world’s only perfect human’s sacrifice of his own life for those who were imperfect is a positive narrative to inculcate to the masses.

For one thing, the Christ acts as Redeemer of all the sins of humans – not the least of which is so-called Original Sin. Adam’s legacy to all of us who have followed is a guilt-trip!

Along the way I have burned hair off hogs in what we used to call a slaughter house. I was a saloon singer with my own band for many years. I have worked in marketing, material control and transportation. I supervised a production floor in a rehab facility for people with psychiatric diagnoses. And I worked at a special radio station, a reading service for those who cannot read due to visual or other physical difficulties. I worked in administration and production. I still volunteer at the station presenting a continuing series of classic detective fiction and a program of political content.

In June of 2003, I realized one of my life’s ambitions, to become a retired eccentric. I spend a lot of time in my home studio in Fairborn, Ohio, surfing the net, composing and editing a blog that casts a mostly humorous running commentary on current events and culture, with an emphasis on politics and religion from an avowed atheist’s view.

I also indulge my life-long love of all kinds of music performance, particularly roots-oriented genres, such as blues, country, bluegrass, rockabilly and r & b.

Through the years I have formulated a world-view that informs and is informed by study and experiences during my life-journey.

I subscribe to a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and I embrace the material world as a source of rich personal significance. I take genuine satisfaction in service to others. I have no “god” or higher authority than me. I am what I am and that’s all that I am. At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves and, if we are fortunate, friends and family.

I believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion and the virtue of selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

I believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings. Prayer may bring comfort to the believer, but, as I have indicated, I would rather deal with life straight on as consistent within Nature than depend upon an entity for which I have no evidence and no reason to believe. And I would add that, unlike many religionists, I have no doubt that works are more important than faith.