I’ve mentioned that one of the things I like about Denmark is that religion is private. In the United States it’s very public. It’s quite common for people to just come right out and ask you about your religion and being a fairly judgmental country, then give their opinion on it. It’s one of the nice things about being Jewish, because unless the person asking is Jewish, generally speaking the conversation ends with “oh, you’re Jewish". No one asks if this is your culture or religion or wants to plumb the depths of how you are Jewish. The reality is that’s my culture and as for religion I’m agnostic.
For a long time, I thought I was agnostic, because religion just didn’t play a large role in my life. I never thought about it. I observe the rituals my people have observed for thousands of years and that includes paying homage to our deity, but I’ve never once considered if he exists or not. After the 2016 election, after a recent tragedy that befell a friend and after an infuriating discussion with another person about whether fate had brought her together with someone, or rather it was a statistical likelihood, since they live in the same town and both spend a lot of time with me…I have come to the conclusion that I am agnostic, not because I am not sure if the divine exists, but because I don’t want it to exist, but I feel that there is enough unexplainable in the world that it would be closed minded of me to say this was enough to deny the existence of gods. I had a baby sitter who was raped by her grandfather, repeatedly, finally took him to court, got disowned by her family for disgracing them, met someone, fell in love, had kids and he died of a congenital brain tumor that she then had to worry about her children having. This is when I decided I didn’t believe in karma. Just desserts, poetic justice, random payback, sure, we’d all like people to be punished by their misdeeds, but the idea that your transgressions follow you through multiple lives and that your present suffering is all your fault, you just don’t remember why, no. In the same respect, I refuse to believe that the family friend whose kid was out camping and got crushed to death by a random tree felled by lighting is anything but bad luck, anything but it being one of those rare times where the coin didn’t land on heads or tails, but on edge. The idea that the divine has control over all of this just seems to horrible to me.
I don’t think we are total masters of our universe. Bad stuff happens. Mistakes happen. We try our best, but life is unpredictability. I think we should live life as best we can, be kind, be caring, try to make the world a better, more beautiful place, but I just don't feel like gods need to be a part of that equation and I refuse to abdicate responsibility to them.