One of Christianity’s big draws is the forgiveness thing. Yahweh’s way into that. If you’re really, properly sorry, you can be let off the hook for anything. (Well, almost anything.)
(I was going to use that link to send you to my YouTube video of me taking part in the Blasphemy Challenge way back when, but I look so young and hideous and wooden and my old webcam was so shit that I just can’t bear to. Anyway.)
This is often seen as being an easy way for Christians to avoid personal responsibility, and up to a point this is likely true for some of them. But for many, it can be a way for them to achieve a far less cynical kind of reassurance.
Guilt is often directionless, ethereal, hard to pin down, but equally hard to let go of. Zarquon knows that Christianity’s been an immensely damaging tool for ladling on the guilt over the centuries too, but in some hands, I can see how it might do some people some good.
Having someone forgive you – particularly someone authoritative and paternal – can, I suspect, often make it a lot easier to forgive yourself.
So in my prayer today, I did some apologising, and asked for some forgiveness.
Sorry, God, for breaking what was meant to be a 40-day run, and forgetting to do the prayer part of this experiment a couple of times.
Yeah, it felt a bit feeble. I didn’t get much of that euphoric rush of letting go of all my pent-up guilt in one big cathartic wave. I guess mostly because I wasn’t exactly feeling that torn up about anything to begin with. I could’ve tried to muster up some shame for the other participants who are working harder at this than I am, or for my sense of intellectual honesty, but actual guilt hardly seems worth bothering with.
I try to be aware of my limitations and failings. Insofar as they negatively affect other people, I think I should strive to apologise to those people and rectify my behaviours; insofar as they affect only myself, I think I should learn to do better, to work with my tendencies toward procrastination and laziness and navigate them as best I can, and forgive myself. I don’t need to feel sorry to God. The idea that I automatically owe him anything of the kind makes me feel indignant, and want to start ranting about the things humanity ought to hold him to account for.
But that sounds rather tedious. So instead I’ll re-tell a story I posted on this experiment’s Facebook group recently:
I had a quiet few minutes to myself just now, and thought maybe I’d use it for today’s prayer.
A moment later, I heard a disembodied voice from above, reassuring me that I was exactly where I needed to be, and heading in the right direction, and I relaxed.
As it happened, it was just the train driver announcing that this is indeed the 8:16 to Ramsgate, which I find quite compatible with a godless universe. But if you’re really keen to see *anything* as a sign… I guess this would count?