My religious beliefs, in a nutshell, as written by Dan Harmon.

During a conversation on Facebook today, a friend of a friend of mine posted a link to Dan Harmon’s blog entry about his religious views–and I have to say, I couldn’t have said it better myself.  This pretty much perfectly sums up what I believe:

http://www.myspace.com/unspeakablesadness/blog/412530382

“At Erin’s party on Friday, Myke “Bertrand Russel” Chilian came bounding up to me with this disappointed smirk on his face and “confronted” me about this rumor he’d just heard that I believe in God.

Nobody hears me when I explain this, I feel like I’m talking into a paper bag:  The phrase “believe in God” is beneath me, that’s how awesome I am. 

This is my explanation of my point of view on religion that I’m now pulling out all the time.  You can disagree with it but don’t try to tell me it’s not what I think:

If “believing in God” is Coca Cola and “not believing in God” is Pepsi, then the “corn syrup” that unites them, the poison that slips through disguised as dichotomy, is mediocrity.  Unremarkability.  Inhumanity.  That’s what people who “don’t believe in God” and people who “believe in God” have in common.  They all think you’re limited, and they’re all inviting you into their limited world where you can realize how limited you are.

Human beings do not come out of the womb having to decide what to think.  They come out just thinkin’, the way Rambo comes out killin’, it’s as easy as breathin’. 

Society then [understandably] tells them they have to use their natural thinking power tomake decisions, decisions that keep them from getting hit by cars and arrested and stuff.  In the real world.  Fine.  I agree. Make a decision at a stop sign.  Make a decision about using condoms, or, in the event that you don’t make that decision, decide who you invite to your wedding or who to tell about your abortion.  Think real hard and make a decision about whether or not to record Nylon Nymphos 3 or Law and Order.  It’s got to be one or the other and it’s going to make a difference because you’re either going to be cumming into a rag or…well, okay, you’re going to be cumming into a rag no matter what but you might be doing it while watching Sam Waterston’s closing arguments.

There are 9,000,000,000 decisions you have to make to get through this life.  God isn’t one of them.  That’s not what he’s either there or not there for.  He’s there or not there to be there and/or not there, not to be there or not there.

Mentally, by default, we are graceful, powerful creatures of limitless potential and we are as capable of living comfortably within mystery and paradox as we are capable of drinking water instead of Coke or Pepsi.  It’s riiiiight there.  It’s the easiest thing in the world.  It is the natural state of your incredibly beautiful human mind to be simultaneously aware of completely contradictory thoughts.

Mythology is our expression of that fact, an [attempted] reconciling of the infinite with the finite, an [attempted] surfing of the whirling spiral created by our consciousness of our own mortality. 

Gods are personifications of that which we have yet to understand.  The fact that we are able to give That Which We Do Not Yet Understand a name and a face is the reason why we’re able to confront it, atone with it, and wield its power, which is another way of saying that mythology begets science, which begets us standing around at parties with the free time and laser-corrected vision to look down our noses at personifications of the unknown created by busier people who knew less and died younger. 

And yes, they were very silly people, those that came before us, with their flat Earth and their leeches and their please-confess-to-not-being-Jewish-or-we’ll-sew-your-butt-closed and their stop-being-schizophrenic-or-we’ll-blame-you-for-our-souflet-falling and all kinds of horrible things.  But that is not the fault of That Which We Do Not Know.  On the contrary, the witch burnings, the inquisitions, the highly inaccurate maps depicting everything past Portugal as a giant octopus and the highly uncomfortable taxonomical hierarchies justifying the ownership of people with different hairstyles, these are crimes committed by hubris, by refusal to acknowledge, let alone surrender, to That Which We Do Not Yet Know.

That Which We Do Not Yet Know is still a minimum of 50% of every conversation we have, every room at the party and every minute of our lives, which is why nobody gets a pat on the back from me for pretending it’s not there.  What you’ll probably get is an ulcer, but it’s none of my business and I’m not a doctor.

There is such a thing as a perfectly healthy, self-actualized atheist.  I’ve met them.  They’re not all that pissed off at other people’s religions and they don’t devote a lot of energy condescending to primitive mythologies.  When you are a genuinely smart person with respect for scientific method, the confidence it brings is rarely characterized by a need to disprove people’s personifications of the unknown.  Science is founded on the principle that there’s a great deal left to be known and a great deal to be gained by knowing it.  So when you fold your arms and talk about everything you already know, and get up in my shit about how differently I should be thinking, I don’t care if you work for NASA or Billy Graham, I don’t exactly feel like I’m in the presence of a mentor.  I kind of feel like your Mom and Dad were as dopey as everyone else’s but you haven’t gotten over it, yet.

Do you have to call everything you don’t know “God?”  Hell no, baby, you don’t have to do anything.  The big question is, now that you know you don’t have to do anything, what are you going to do with that freedom and power?  Nothing would be cool with me, I’m mostly a Taoist, I can roll with doing nothing.  Something would be equally cool, provided it was something you wanted to do.  We call the moment when a character realizes they don’t have to do anything the “mid point.”  It’s half a story.  The second half of a full story involves knowing what you want to do and doing it. 

And I’m telling you, not because I’m good at it, but because we have been told this for 5,000 years now, knowing what you want to do and doing it involves a relationship with That Which You Do Not Yet Know.  A really intimate relationship with a lot of slappin’ and kissin’.
  
Like the relationship Tom Hanks had with that volleyball in that movie where he got cast away.  It was very helpful for Tom Hanks to give that volleyball a name and a face.  It helped him be less lost and fix his tooth with a rock and get home to his ice cubes and icky face acting lady.  The process of getting from A to B was aided, for the audience and the character, by the character having something with which to commune.

So, are you going to float down to Tom Hanks’ island and pop his volleyball and explain to him that it’s not a person?  If you’re that guy, here’s some rhetorical questions for you:

1) Do you think Tom Hanks doesn’t know it’s just a volleyball?
2) Are you going to replace his instinctive mythology with something, or 
3) Is your job done when everyone’s buzz is killed?
4) Are you really doing this to help other people, or
5) Does this have something to do with your own empowerment, and if so
6) Do you think fighting something is the most effective way to gain power, or
7) Is it possible to attain something’s power by surrendering to it?

Which brings me around to my corn syrup conspiracy point, which is that when everyone’s given a “choice” between a life of religion and a life of science, what they’re really being told is that they have no choice but to believe they have to choose.  To choose in which manner they are limited.  Someone’s got to be dictating your margins, is it gonna be math or the pope.  You’re not allowed to define right and wrong, you’re not allowed to draw your own map of the cosmos.  

And I say that is a limited world, for limited people. 

I mean, if I make the statement that there is no God, I get a bunch of people with calculators agreeing with me.  Okay, could be worse.  Like if I made the statement that there is a God and he looks like Santa Claus but his suit is purple, in which case I get a bunch of high strung hillbillies and fat teenagers that haven’t tried marijuana on my side.

But if I make the statement that I, Dan Harmon, am God, then I get a lot of hillbillies and calculator people booing in unison and high fiving each other.  Because those people aren’t so different, not in the way that matters to ME.  From my perspective, they’re all on the Dan Harmon is Not Capable of Greatness Team.  Fuck those guys.  Every vote in that election is a vote against me, I won’t pick a side in the battle to decide why I’m a useless piece of shit.

I say, mythology is about man becoming one with the unknown, and in order for that to happen, you have to personify the unknown- which is very religious and not very scientific- and you have to then know that unknown – which is very scientific and somewhat sacreligious in the eyes of modern so-called Christianity, which, in spite of its name, has nothing to do with man-becoming-God and everything to do with belonging to a global cult of selfish, lazy, gluttonous, sanctimonous, xenophobic cowards.

In Myke’s defense, his family is a bunch of foreigners, which can only mean that their version of Christianity was probably forced on their ancestors through the barrel of a gun or some kind of Happy Meal, and was therefore all the more fraudulent and therefore all the more forced around the dinner table, and he needs to run all the further from it all the faster to become a good person, and how old is Chilian, really?  His band still gets together for rehearsals, that means he’s under 30, so why am I defending myself from the supposedly worthless derision of an Armenian teenager when I could be finishing my screenplay that’s so good when he reads it he’ll have no choice but to believe in God.

I just don’t appreciate the implication that there’s anything I don’t know about – oh, crap, busted.  I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m just arrogant and blocked.  I feel unblocked now, though.  Thank you, God!”

And thank YOU, Dan Harmon. (And also, thank you Teighlor for showing me this link!)

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Dan Harmon on Religious beliefs | James Hong
  2. Matson
    Oct 05, 2017 @ 19:37:07

    Man that’s really confusing.

    Reply

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