At least that’s what I can make out from studying Protestant theology, or, rather, Protestant theologies (there’s one for everyone!). Granted, I’m being a bit facetious—not every Protestant is a denomination of one. They move in groups, like bikers or reindeer, each group adhering to what amounts to some dude and his particular interpretation of scripture. Many of them don’t even seem to have a clearly defined theology. It’s just PRAISE JESUS!, sing a hymn, and go home and watch Fox News.
I hate to be a party pooper, but that ain’t a religion, my friends.
For the record, I’m a Catholic (the best religion EVAR!), but a fallen-away one. I wasn’t reared Catholic, but secular. As a kid growing up, the only time I went to church was when someone died or got married. Over time, these two strange practices got connected in my mind and I entered adulthood terrified of commitment. Eventually, looking around at the Universe and realizing television and mindless consumerism wasn’t cutting it for me, I thought: Wouldn’t it be hysterical if I just, all of sudden, became a Catholic?
So that’s what I did.
I do a lot of things like that: Wouldn’t it be hysterical if I just, all of a sudden, started smoking a pipe? Wouldn’t it be hysterical if I just, all of sudden, shaved my head? Wouldn’t it be hysterical if I just, all of sudden, got rid of everything I owned and went and lived in a tent?
It’s as good a decision-making process as any other, as I’m sure anyone over 35 knows and you young folks will one day find out.
I’m not the type of guy who does something half-assed. I’m all in, no matter what I’m holding. I studied up on Catholicism big-time. I’m a compulsive autodidact and excellent student of anything when there are no teachers involved. I went into the little becoming-a-Catholic shindig as well-versed in the multitudinous nit-picking that is Catholic theology as the priest himself.
He was impressed, but not overly.
I knew the nuts and bolts but he opened up a can of insight on my ass that made my jaw slack. There is a difference between knowledge and faith, I learned. Even though I knew everything he knew, I still didn’t know jack shit.
So I did that for a while, the whole Catholic thing, then they started stashing all those pedophile priests in the nooks and crannies of their religion and I got all “Fuck this shit” and quit. Tore up my membership card, threw away my funny hat, and just stopping going.
A few months later, I was sitting around my tent, bald-headed and smoking my pipe, when a thought a occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be hysterical if I just, all of a sudden, become a Buddhist?