I went to a Kol Nidre service tonight since it’s Yom Kippur, and I had to go atone for my sins of the last year.
That, and shut up all of my parental units who would berate me until the end of time if I didn’t go.
(You didn’t know I was Jewish, you say? Um, hi. My last name is Shapiro. If anybody knows anyone whose last name is Shapiro who is not Jewish and didn’t either a. marry into it or b. convert, please, introduce them to me, because I have yet to meet a single one.)
I hate that the only reason I go to services is to get out of a serious guilt trip. However, I realize that I would hate the guilt trip immensely more, if only because services last an hour and a half and the guilt trip would last at least a month.
There are certain aspects about organized religion that rub me the wrong way. One thing that really bothers me about a lot of services, in any number of religions or denominations, is group reading.
Several hundred people, just reading the same thing together, in the same monotonous voice. There’s something about that that really bothers me, although I’m not quite sure what.
Maybe it’s the fact that it somehow reinforces the notion that all members of the same religion think the same thing.
This is a really, really dangerous idea, especially when doing such things as seperating the psychotic fanatics from the peaceful believers. This must be done in every religion, although right now Islam is in the spotlight, since their fanatics tend to be the most publicized.
I know religion brings peace to a lot of people, and the idea of a benevolent or at least merciful God is something that, at the very least, gives me comfort. It’s just that I often have difficulty accepting it.
The one thing that really bothers me sometimes about having the identification of “Jewish” attatched to me is a lot of people, Jews and non-Jews alike, tend to assume that I automatically agree with everything the state of Israel does.
A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I think Ariel Sharon is a fucking idiot and the settlers have absolutely no right to the land they have claimed, since I am Jewish and therefore I must support my…whatever.
I may be an American, but I think Gee-Whiz Bush is a fucking idiot, too. Oh, and Ashcroft, Carnivore this: You lost your senate seat to a dead man!
Anyway, getting away from my leftist views, going to services has never really been my favorite thing to do, and it’s been really downhill after my bat mitzvah.
That sort of thing is supposed to bring you closer to religion, but to me, it was more like something I had to do than something I wanted to do, and I think that pushed me away.
So I sat in my seat, Attention Deficit Disorder acting up in full force, checking my watch constantly, making faces at the little baby in front of me (well, at least for a while, then I got bored with it and my face started hurting), and counting how many more pages until the end of the service.
Maybe someday this will all matter to me again. But I think I’m going to be having a more personal relationship with God from now on. I’m sure it’s more convenient to hear prayers on a group basis, but I think I’m going to give the organized religion thing a rest for a while.
So what am I, an agnostic? I think that’s the word, athough I usually hear it in conjunction with Catholics, so it may be a Christian thing, which would be off-base. I dunno. Maybe I should get a dictionary or something.
Just goes to show how much I know (or care, for that matter) about religion.