Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,

Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,
You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you

Monday, June 12, 2017

Supernatural and Finding my Religion (basically, how Supernatural helped me figure out what, exactly, I believe)

Most people would think that an Urban fantasy TV show couldn't help someone in regards to their faith. In fact, if I told that to most people, they would probably give me a strange look (in fact, this has happened). 
But that, oddly enough, is what ended up happening. It isn't the only thing to do so- Godspell also helped me in my religious beliefs, and- adjacently- Star Wars (and the Jedi Order) helped me to formulate my moral code, while Lord of the Rings taught me the meanings of heroics and hope. However, Supernatural has a special place (alongside Star Wars and Lord of the Rings), in that it finally got me to gather all the ideas I'd had swirling in my head for years, and come to some conclusions. 

A question that seems to have plagued humanity for many hundreds of years is- "how can evil and God co-exist?" People have found many ways to explain it to themselves. Some become atheists (if they were believers before, since many grow up atheist) or at least agnostic, and some go the complete other direction- proclaiming that everything happens for a reason. This has been seen time again and is often something many writers struggle with (we were reading and discussing Alexander Pope in my lit class this year and this was a common topic in his writings, for example)

I've always been religious but- many a time- what I was hearing from many religious individuals (especially the more modern church people or youth groups or even some of my peers; I didn't get it from any of my pastors or any of my really close friends, thankfully, which really helped)  just didn't click with me. I never liked the whole 'everything happens for a reason' or that 'God has a plan for everyone's lives and we shouldn't worry about things' (I remember being a kid in Sunday school and saying I was worried about the environment and being told that I didn't need to worry, since God would take care of everything). Because..that just doesn't sound right. Bad things happen in our world, things that don't make any sense, and how could they all have meaning- did the Holocaust have some kind of purpose in a master plan? Did what is happening in Aleppo? Or bigotry in general? I don't think so.
 I also never liked the type of preachings that either centered only on what I call the 'me me me gospel' (which is when people only seem to care about one's personal relationship with Jesus and forget to acknowledge, you know, what he commanded us to do) or the ones that act like our only purpose is to worship God and that we shouldn't do anything else, cause this world sucks and we aren't supposed to enjoy it at all. I also dislike the whole 'only Christians go to heaven' belief, which I'm glad the show decided to not buy into, what with God telling Donatello that it was fine that he was an atheist, because he believed in himself. Because, to me, what matters is that you are a good person and that you care just because it is the right thing to do; I never believed that anyone would be damned to hell or to oblivion just because they didn't believe in God. That's cruel and doesn't sound right and has NEVER sat well with me.

None of these above ideas made sense to me and were things I struggled with. 
Faith, while I have had it- mostly- for the majority of my life, was something I did debate with myself on. I remember being confused when some of my fellow Christians would act like they were superior to everyone else when- to me- they were no different than non-Christians. I also never liked how some people only talked about how things could benefit THEM, such as when they expected us to list all of the ways WE benefited from a Mission Trip. It shouldn't have been about OUR growth, it should have been about how we helped others (and we really, REALLY didn't).
I even remember questioning things as a child. I remember my sister and I discussing how we felt God had matured throughout the old Testament. I also would often debate within my Sunday school groups as well as my Confirmation groups, voicing opinions that made many uncomfortable.

However, I think the beginning of this faith journey happened when I first learned about deism in elementary school. I don't remember how old I was, but I can recall reading about how many of the founding fathers viewed and the world and thinking '..that makes a lot of sense.' However, I kinda forgot about it and didn't really touch upon it too much as my faith evolved and changed throughout the years. 

However, last year, I feel like I finally shed the last of my doubts and confusion and finally figured out what I believe. 

Supernatural, up until now, has had a plot-thread of faith and what it means running through it. Whether or not you take it how I do is your prerogative (since many viewed it as negative while I got positives from it). However, it has been there and it finally culminated in the main character's meeting God. 

Now, in the show, God is not exactly how I view him in real life. God in Supernatural is flawed and, while not a bad individual, he is shown to have both the positives and negatives of the human experience, which makes sense: humanity being made in God's image, after all. But, I feel, on the whole, the show tapped into something truly right. I don't know if the authors intended it or if I am reading into it differently, but I got something out of it. I am not quite sure when I had my realization, but I think it may have started with this quote below.

God: I get it. Believe me, I was hands-on – Real hands-on for, wow, ages. I was so sure if I kept stepping in, teaching, punishing, that these beautiful creatures that I created... would grow up. But it only stayed the same. And I saw that I needed to step away and let my baby find its way. Being over-involved is no longer parenting. [Sighs] It's enabling.

This dialogue really spoke to me and I was saddened that many people didn't quite grasp the importance of this above line. Because, while many think it's giving excuses (and in show, it kinda was), but when looking at it on its own? It makes a lot of sense. Humans do need to grow up and we have been- with setbacks, yes, but we have grown and changed. It reminds me of what I've heard various people throughout my life say and what I have said too. Why would God create humans imperfectly and then damn them if they made mistakes? Some people say that God is involved in everything but then, why DO bad things happen; as Dean says in the show, wars happened, millions of people have died because of senseless wars and famines and plagues and because of hatred. Genocides have happened, slavery has happened, lands have been stolen and the people boxed into little areas where they couldn't survive. How could these things happen and it all be a part of a plan? 

And, that quote, to me, answered that question. Because, what would be the point of having an existence if you didn't learn from it? How can you choose to be good when the choice has already been made for you. Being good means something in our world because we choose to be that way. Because we- as the show has stated- have free will. To me, it makes sense that God would want us to make our own choices, to choose whether we will be good or bad. In affect we- humanity- have to grow up and it's up to us. God loves us, so he refuses to control us through his whims. He wants us to choose to do the right thing, rather than be pulled by strings, having no real voice. 
Because, while unlimited freedom is bad, freedom is- in and of its self- an important thing.

God: There's a value, a glory in creation that's greater and truer than my pride or my ego. Call it grace, call it being! Whatever it is, it didn't come from my hands. It was there waiting to be born. It just is, as you and I just were. Since you've been freed, I know that you've seen it.

God (known as Chuck Shurley at the time): So, what's it all add up to? It's hard to say. But me, I'd say this was a test... for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. [Flashbacks play.] Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well... isn't that kinda the whole point? 
No doubt – endings are hard. But then again... nothing ever really ends, does it? 

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