New spirit

November 15, 2008

I am in Mountain View today, killing time while my husband gets some work done at Palm. Google provides free wifi to the city so I’ll take advantage of that and write a post.

I used to love going to metaphysical bookstores. I’d walk in knowing that the book I needed to read would pop out at me and say BUY ME. There is a terrific one here. I went in and browsed. Nothing jumped out. I guess I’ve lost my enthusiasm for metaphysics and religion.

I feel that I’ve done my homework, so that when I die, I will be ready if there IS life after death, and if there isn’t, no matter.

I used to hate it when I would ask my father about some spiritual truth and he would answer: “it’s a mystery.” Now that phrase is my core belief.

The arrogance of faith is increasingly something I have a hard time dealing with. Just as one has a hard time changing dentists or barbers or operating systems, changing one’s belief systems rarely occurs, so what is the point of arguing about religion?

The word “marriage” is so drenched with religious entitlement, I was skeptical when Mark Leno told me he was going to go to war over that word so that gays and lesbians could marry.

The problem is that church and state are dangerously entwined in this activity. Even though traditional marriage has a secular and sacred component — the licence (secular), and the church ceremony — religionists insist that marriage can ONLY be a sacred act, governed by what is written in the infallible bible. How can you argue with faith? You can’t. God said it in the bible so it must be true.

As I watched thousands of queers in SF angrily walk to protest Prop.8, I kept wondering why we have to fight over a religious status (marriage) rather than inventing a new word or status, devoid of any religious baggage. I bet that if Prop 8 were worded differently it would have passed.

Instead of buying any spiritual books I bought “The World in Six Songs” by Daniel Levitin. I realized that composers are indeed ministers or priests, but, thank dog, without any words to screw up people. The message goes right to the heart, and if it doesn’t you turn it off. Music never promises eternal life or imposes crazy rules. Each person gravitates to the music they like, and there is no going to hell if you have different tastes. And, thank God, there is NO musical bible.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

citrus November 16, 2008 at 6:41 am

“Music never promises eternal life or imposes crazy rules. Each person gravitates to the music they like, and there is no going to hell if you have different tastes. And, thank God, there is NO musical bible.”

Uh, what you describe here refers to an extremely limited form of religion called fundaentalism. Liberal faith knows nothing of such limitations.

There certainly fundamentalist composers who make the same claims for their brand of music. Are they ministers or priests? I think not, except in their own minds. Give me a composer who is a composer – no more, no less. There is sufficient dignity in that.


Roger Bourland November 16, 2008 at 8:39 am

Agreed, but why do so many liberal religionists (meaning Jews, Christians, people of faith) hold onto this one fundamentalist view point, that marriage is only for one man and one woman? You don’t have to answer that, but that is my frustration.

There are indeed fundamentalist composers and songwriters who believe their music is the only good music, but fortunately there is no words from God that support that opinion. With marriage, there is.

citrus November 16, 2008 at 10:24 am

By definition a liberal may hold ANY position. Diversity is part of the deal.

I don’t know. There are some composers – I would guess, I’m not a scholar on such things- who honestly believe that their music is direct from God.

I believe that marriage is for people, not people for marriage. (To paraphrase a famous quote from Jesus re: the Sabbath) It is, or should be a gift as well as a mystery.

Incidentally, there is diversity regarding which day the Sabbath falls on – Saturday or Sunday. (We go to church on Saturday! But we don’t question the authenticity of faith on the part of those who go on Sunday.)

That’s a liberal for you.

Roger Bourland November 16, 2008 at 10:33 am

“Good music can leap over language barriers, and barriers of religion and politics.”
Pete Seeger

Songwriters and composers are not so far from being cheer leaders, politicians, shamans, magicians, and pharmacists.

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