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I got to thinking while walking back from the subway yesterday. (Don’t you hate that? I constantly try to drown my thoughts out with headphones around the house and with books on the subway. It just doesn’t seem to be working.) I think the reason I’m not really into religion is partly because I don’t really understand any of them yet and because you have to subscribe to the whole religion in order to belong.

I read the Koran and understood that Muhammad gave some awesome speeches, but I’m not really sure I’d like to restrict my life to fit in. With religion, it’s sort of all or nothing. You’re either in or your out. Usually, if you agree with some basic tenets, you’re in but finding the right sect for you is all on your shoulders. Again, I’d need to know more about Islam before I could convert–the Koran contains a lot of interesting stuff but also a lot of stuff that is clearly no longer applicable (at least in America–unless I read it wrong, I’m pretty sure there was a section on polygamy).

So with Christianity, I believe there’s some sort of God. That’s all Christianity. I really only think that Jesus character was just another historical figure and I haven’t read the bible. I want to, but I’m still not going to put stock in a book that thinks the earth is a little over 5,000 years old. That’s just not what I believe. So technically, I can’t be a Christian. At the very least I can read some awesome fairy tales that everyone alludes to and finally catch the references. It’s like the Hans Christian Anderson collection before there was a Hans Christian Anderson. But with less mermaids, I guess.

It’s not just a matter of basic beliefs–science, evolution, what have you–but also lifestyles dictated by each religion that often prevents me from jumping on board. To go back to my Koran discussion a bit, a lot of the specifics outlined in older books that religions have been founded on were perfectly appropriate at the time–you don’t cook chicken or shellfish right, you could die. Why not ban it so people don’t die from food poisoning? I’m not sure why ham is not allowed (for both Jews and Muslims–they may disagree about everything else, but NO HAM!), though; is it because pigs wallow in mud and the meat is thus dirtied? Fish live in their own poop and we get to eat them, so something tells me we could be O.K. in the ham department.

I can’t buy into Hasidic law of dress not only because I’m not Jewish, but also because you have to buy into the whole thing (the same could easily be said for Islamic dress code, Hindi customs, etc, it’s just that the Hasids are across the street–it’s what I do know). You can’t just wear a black hat and declare yourself Hasidic. I like that they wear black coats everyday of the year but that coat wouldn’t circumsize me and make me eat kosher.

What I do buy into is magazines. Playboy, Maxim and Esquire categorize me as a man who likes boobies. Simple enough, right? Maxim has basic style guides that I don’t really buy into and an immaturity level that I do. And boobies. Playboy and Esquire give a better, much more refined idea of what is acceptable in modern fashion. Also, the impression that it’s okay to think beyond poop and boob jokes–it’s okay to enjoy literature. Rolling Stone reviews music so I can find the music I like–the music I can buy (into). Popular Science has all the crap that I don’t need but could use someday. If someone wants to build a supercomputer cooled by rabbits and spare keyboards, then I have the information. I can tell them how, but I don’t have to make every neat gadget describe in the How2.0 section. I get to choose without adhering to the whole thing.

I have all the proper information to be a dude. I can buy into whichever aspect most appeals to me, whatever makes me feel most like a man. And I try to save a lot because I gotta raise two to four kids someday, but I subscribe to the bits and pieces that make me most comfortable to be me.

Clearly, I need to study up on my religions, but parts-from-all work much better for me right now than all-or-nothing. Wow, looking back, I think I just made magazines my religion (but I guess we shouldn’t be surprised). I am such a heretic (in every religion. Yay, false idols!).

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One Comment

  1. I was going to comment that magazines might be your Chosen One/Savior/$deity$ but you mentioned that already. 😉

    Hi, my name is Erik and I’m addicted to magazines too.


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