Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Faith

It's taken me a long time to recover from all the damage that Catholic schools and Catholic church have inflicted on me. Nope nothing dramatic, just years of dour old unhappy Irish men trying and failing to make people feel good about anything. Guilt and some brimstone can only work for so long. At least for me. My parents remain unhappy with my being a bad Catholic. I tell them it fits right in. They're supposed to be unhappy. That's religion.

I'm on the brink of digressing. I'm staring into the void of digression, but I pull myself back. The point of bringing this up is that one of the sleeper themes in River and Ranch is faith. Faith in different colors and packages, something the average religious person may not recognize so much. It's not in an epistle, there are no songs about it. The faith theme in River and Ranch comes quietly when the time is right, when Cale is under stress. Cale has come to accept it as his personal private guardian angel, a kuan yin with a bit of modification from over in the Hindu camp.

Several episodes in the past for both Cale and Lane are exclusively in the religion camp. They get to see and encounter what corrupt individuals do to innocent people in the name of religion. Whether in Africa or Afghanistan much, if not all of the bad and sad, tends to be driven by men (almost exclusively) who think that their view is what counts and that others should do what they say in the name of religion. There is no tolerance, no kindness, and really no religion as we think of it in the western Christian sense. I've learned that while men can really mess up Catholicism, they really can't hold a candle to what men do when it comes to subverting the good in Islam and acting only upon their own twisted version of what remains good at its heart. Again we see that art, the fiction of River and Ranch, imitates life, the reality of culture dominated by religion in many African countries and Afghanistan.

Yesterday's entry was almost "education" because perhaps the most effective means of fighting back against the many corrupting aspects of religion is an ability to think. Thinking gives one the rational ability to listen to the declaration of a mad man and realize they are wrong, that what they declare has no basis in fact and therefore should be seen as something from the madman and not from anyone else. Education encourages an awareness of two sides, of there being a right and a wrong. Education encourages a nuanced view point in which there are many shades of gray in a spectrum in lieu of only two end points. Those seemingly in charge of religion want their religion to be accepted "as is" based on what they declare to be true. Believers of religion need to believe what they are told, and in many cases not what they think or see.

Faith is the refuge of Cale. He may not seek it out, but it is there. Faith lends a hand, faith keeps him going. Faith shows him the right way to be a good human. When he is not, faith is right there waiting for him to come back.

No my writing is not religious. It portrays religion in a mostly negative light. It seems to me that while religion may have served a crucial purpose back in the day when common sense morality needed a boost, as humanity evolved, religion was corrupted. For me, as for my characters, faith is a private personal thing, influenced by personal beliefs, not those of others, and untainted by the questionable issues religion is now carrying along everywhere it goes.


  1. I've read a few of your posts and really have enjoyed them. Remember, faith is a journey, not a destination. I know, sounds like a Hallmark card, but it really is true. Found your blog through the A to Z challenge. www.dianeweidenbenner.com

  2. The one thing I hated when I was a kid was all the guilt and sin talk. I was just a kid!