April 05, 2005

My Secret Plan

I have a plan to make my blog stats go through the roof. All I have to do is announce my conversion to a) Christianity, b) conservatism, or c) both. I’ll become the darling of a huge section of the blogosphere.

It’s not as if I haven’t flirted with those views throughout my life. But let me think about the probabilities. Conservatism? Not bloody likely at a time when a Republican senator and an ethically tarnished reactionary congressman are making veiled threats against the lives of judges. Is it too obvious to point out that their vicious, antisocial, antilife attitudes are the exact opposite of conservative?

How about Christianity, then? That’s much more of a live possibility, as my readers may have gathered. I probably think about religious questions more than most signed-up believers. I think about them continually, in fact. William James has got nothing on me for religiosity. I revere Jesus as the greatest of holy men and prophets. But then there’s that little question of belief in a mythology I was not imprinted with at an early age. My brand of Christianity would have to be Tolstoyan and non-supernatural, a belief in Jesus’ teachings of love, forgiveness, humility, and the innerness of heaven, rather than in any church’s teachings about him. No glorying in blood sacrifice, no totemic feast, no loyalty oath as prerequisite to salvation. Certainly no internecine wars over hairsplitting interpretations of manmade doctrines.

If I had been raised in it--baptized in infancy as my children were--I could slide over such issues or leave them undecided. But as it stands, they bar my way.

And anyway, suppose I took a Jamesian leap of faith, casting rational doubts aside because doing so made me feel good. (See this interesting post by amba on the dangers of feelgood religion.) Wouldn’t that be rather cheap and self-serving of me? Signing up in the battle to save souls, when I don’t believe that any souls are lost? Would God accept such a gesture? Is getting one more recruit so important that He’ll even take someone who just wants to boost his blog stats?