GOD, THE WORLD, THE DEVIL, AND LATE NIGHT TV

Colbert had Ricky Gervais on this evening. He’s not a particular favorite of ours, but we like him well enough. Tonight, he and Colbert got into a mini debate on the existence of God. Gervais, an avowed atheist versus Colbert, the avowed Catholic. No, it wasn’t angry or mean. It was interesting, lively, and thought-provoking.

Colbert asked “Why is there anything rather than nothing?”

Gervais said that was a meaningless question.

They went back and forth for a while, but in the end, the answer is, was, and always will be — we are all agnostics on some level because, unless we think God speaks directly to us — or we are in touch with spirits from “the other side.” We believe what we believe because that’s what we believe. We don’t know anything.

Buddha, Tibet, probably 19th century

Buddha, Tibet, probably 19th century

Garry said he enjoyed it. For once, something interesting that wasn’t politics and I had to agree. But I’m an armchair philosophy and religion nerd. I can talk about this stuff for hours. I never get bored.

I’m a skeptic, closer to an atheist than anything else. But, as I have no direct knowledge, all I can say is “I doubt it, but I suppose it’s possible.”

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Garry would more likely say: “I believe in something, but I’m not sure exactly what.” The same, but different.Nonetheless, he has an inherent buoyancy and optimism which lets him believe things will work out even when it looks hopeless. I envy that.

Yet, I am living proof that miracles happen. If anyone should be dead, it’s me. I can’t close that door without acknowledging that I’ve had some amazing close encounters of the providential kind. I think it’s possible that whatever God is, he has spoken to me at least twice and saved me when I was dying. Let’s not debate this. It’s complicated. Very.

So my husband, who has seen some of the most horrific stuff of which the human race is capable is an optimist and I, who have been saved more than once, am always expecting catastrophe. Go figure, right?

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There’s no logic to this kind of thing. We believe what we believe because that’s what we believe. We can all justify our beliefs, but in the end, belief is faith-based. No matter what you call it. A minister I liked asked me what more I needed … a picture ID with God’s face on it? Because if the experiences I’ve had don’t prove to me that something, someone is watching over me … then what will?

I can’t argue the point. I don’t know who  — or what — is the watcher. God? Satan? Ganeesh? The Lady of the Lake? Spirit of my ancestors? Buddha? A nameless Power? I have no clue and am not willing to speculate. I do not know the answer. I’m not even sure I’m asking the right questions.

The only thing of which I am certain is I don’t have an answer and neither do you. If I ever find an answer, I promise to let you know.

What happened to Boston?

Our president was in Boston today, giving a pep talk. He was here for the remembering. Something happened here and it wasn’t a small thing.

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Massachusetts invented America,” Governor Deval Patrick said at Thursday morning’s interfaith service honoring the victims of the Marathon bombing. President Obama in the speech that followed, noted that all Americans were thinking about the city. “Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city,” he said. “Every one of us stands with you.” The marathon attacks were personal, he said.

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There are voices to which we should listen. We need to pay attention to positive voices so the psychopaths and sociopaths, terrorists and bad guys with guns, bombs and a determination to reduce us to shivering in our locked houses don’t get to do a victory lap.

We really must not allow that.

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From Stephen Colbert watch, smile and ponder (video).

What happened to Boston could (and has) happened in other places here and overseas. Open societies are inherently vulnerable. To terror, to deluded groups and individuals who murder people to make a point. No matter how news-weary we are, pep talks are important.

They remind us to not let the bad guys win. We all need to remember bad stuff can happen anywhere and sometimes it happens to us or those we love. There’s nowhere far enough off the grid that those people can’t find us.

Read “To Boston With Love,” a particularly apt and touching op-ed piece from the Washington Post by former local writer E.J. Dionne. It’s especially meaningful if you’ve ever lived in or near Boston.

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A couple of hours ago, it was all over the news. The FBI has pictures of two out of who-knows-how-many people involved in the bombings at the Marathon on Patriot’s Day. I’m waiting to hear what the point of the bombing was supposed to be. Did the voices in someone’s head tell them to do it? Or what? Why?

What if there was no reason at all? What if this horror was perpetrated by a bunch of local sociopaths having their version of a good time? That would be the weirdest, creepiest answer of all.

One way or the other, I would like to know what happened, if there is a semblance of a reason. I hope answers are coming.