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Saturday, June 5   5:30 PM

Two Cathedrals

Finished Galactic Pot-Healer, the latest justification for my belief that P.K. Dick was a brilliant mystic but a mediocre writer.

Spent an hour at the video store with Jeremy, a "spiritual" friend of Jonas' who had some interesting/crazy views about the accuracy of the fossil record.

And so it's no wonder that I've been thinking about religion again. I haven't changed my beliefs, however. What I hath said in my heart still stands.

I've just been thinking about the tension between honest nonbelief and seeming belief, which entails certain benefits.

I'm proud to say that I can't see myself pretending to believe something I don't. The most I'm willing to do is skirt the issue of religion, and as long as my parents are willing to play along, I won't have admit that (as a famous author's little brother once wrote) I believe in No-God, and I worship him.

It's intellectually dishonest to do otherwise, but being an idealist here would help only my conscience. What's more, my high-minded behavior (if I were to give, say, a longwinded rant about my beliefs) would be inscrutable, even hurtful, to others.

Which leaves me with two choices and a Machiavellian dilemma.

I could lie, put on a show of piousness. The benefits? My parents would be happy, probably even proud.

There are also undeniable social benefits to myself, which it would be hypocritical of me to ignore. I wouldn't have to continue this irritating silent battle over my church attendance. I could "network," as the extroverts say, with some important potential employers. And as I've said before, I enjoy the pomp and circumstance of a Catholic mass.

As Ann of Stillwater once said of the Lawrence Christians gatherings, I don't have to make this about religion, it can just be a social thing.

The other option is admission. Assuming that the situation did move away from this constant talking-around (really the best possible situation, as far as I'm concerned), I could just say what I believe, or rather don't. I'm not here to debunk, but I can't ignore my own reason, which this God of yours was omnibenevolent enough to give me.

The benefits? A clear conscience. As I said above, I'm an idealist when it comes to certain things, and intellectual honesty is one of them. Affecting piety would be like affecting Republicanism or romanticism; good for a private laugh, but trauma-inducing over long periods.

And that's it. I can't see any other real benefits to anyone besides myself, were I to tell my parents what I think. They can figure it out, if they want to. They choose not to, and I think it's better this way, not talking about it.

Is lying better, then? Not sure. It seems more reasonable, less selfish, than I had originally thought. If pressed I would still probably take the moral high ground and say what I think, but the most likely decision here isn't necessarily the best.

Idealism defeats heartless rationality, for now.

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