So i was in a bookshop today, looking for a nice place to settle the afternoon and finish my book on internet art, and i started a very out-of-place conversation with the bookseller. I was just checking out the store, and was almost ready to leave when she asked me what kind of books i was hoping to find. Not one for fictional books and thrashy love/sex/whatever erotic humbug books she had, i was relegated to a small albeit well-stacked section of the store which carried non-fiction books from Economics to travel. i had that look on my face that said i wasnt really impressed, and she asked me if i wanted any Mitch Album books.
(I mean thats gotta be kinda weird, considering im clutching onto a book on internet art and looking through the section on economics and how to survive in the fury of the modern marketplace. Economists/technophiles aren’t exactly known for their emotional side, au contraire, there isn’t a good association with love, romanticism, and fantasy anywhere there. She might’ve seen a sentimental side though.. and rightfully so since i DO own one of his books, though its the first and last one i buy)
So she started talking about religion somehow, and i hesitated to ask what her faith is, since she sounded like a christian in the way she began her argument; the common apologetics response to the atheist, mentioning the futility, and impracticality of going through life without acknowledging the presence of a supreme being looking over us. She made sense right till she started saying stuff about focusing on the route of interpersonal relationships as the essence/journey of a religion. Citing examples of angry neighbours and hypocritical christian individuals (most definitely a sore personal experience), she claimed that the important bit of a religion was a focus on the message of charity and benevolence, and that the outward manifestation of inner peace was the most important criteria of a functional religious attachment.
It doesn’t make sense to me that someone believes there is a higher being that calls into question the wrongdoings of man – extrapolated from her own personal judgment on the “hypocrite”, and yet still insists on the notion of the redundant watchmaker i.e. the present but not palpable designer who creates the universe according to codes of order and legitimacy; thereby removing himself from the equation and allowing matter to evolve independantly. She believes god to be a road sign, a cartographic directive that religion enforces with sole purpose of guiding people to live in harmony with each other. I think God is a lot more than guilt, or conscience. Her emphasis on a cutaneous code of conduct that god is subject to, and “strives” to aid us along, impugns the fundamental premise of the religious god-figure who is by definition with-out the world, beyond cultural standards of word ‘correct’; hence she really is better of as an atheist, a nice woman, nice smile, but at the end of the day, a walking tangled up cord.
Well, she also mentioned that she could go into the temple, the church or the mosque and still develop the same ideas about religion, claiming that it was just a whole bunch of different people talking about the same entity- water was her example. In my apprehension of subjectivity and opening a fresh can of worms, i hesitated to ask for her opinions on subjectivity and religion, but i did mention that semantics could lead to myriad of different interpretations – citing water, ice and vapour, and even soup, soda to be all possible descriptions of water, but with each interpretation came a tainting, and an erosion of the original idea.
I felt a little sub-armed since intangible qualities like faith, love and salvation, especially with an unseen divinity are ideas not efficacious to arguments with pantheists, or atheists, though they are, when understood, the most poignant modes of transcendant understanding.
but our conversation was broken up quite abruptly with the entrance of a customer. We said our good-byes and she thanked me for a nice time of discussion
heh i left with a headache.