Posted by: jamesotis | June 24, 2008

Faith and the Food Chain

(Warning: long, deep and possibly disturbing post.)

Never mind shooting the sheriff, I beat the buddha.

  Lifeguards are highly superstitious. We do the rain dance (some with a >90% success rate), we cast the occasional spell on customers and yes, we have rain gods. The particular bit of majic of subject is a rock, decorated to mimic the small brass buddha known simply as Rain Buddha. As many will attest, Rain Buddha

actually worked, and the stone that replaced him after his mysterious dissappearance during Nandreeson’s construction showed wonderful promise.

  Enter myself, lifeguard for more than a decade, strong believer in the power of such things and desperate to avoid loosing hours due to weather. When Buddha was placed in the window today I hid him twice. No such luck. As the other guards put it, he calls to them. So I had to create a counter-talisman of some sort. Enter Nandreeson. Ever since coming up with this moniker I’ve been looking for a pool mascot of some sort- an aligator-ish monster such as described in Star Wars novel fame. In the toy bin I found an ankylosaurus. Not a gator or even similar, but it did the trick, countered the counterfeit buddha’s spell and although it rained the threatening storm broke up just before reaching our location.

  I write all the above not to blow my own horn, but to illustrate something fundamental: For the most part, what you believe in is as strong as your belief. My ankylosaurus has no inherent power. It simply served to focus the staff’s corporate belief away from the decorated stone in question. Combine that with my own belief in such distractive qualities and some appropriate suggestive wording and presto, no more Rain Buddha.                                 Buddha Bing, Buddha Bam.

  So where do you place your beliefs? Those beads, the statue in your car, the mass manufactured good luck charm made in a sweat shop in the third world? Maybe it’s in yourself or other physical beings, concepts like human goodness or something more etherial such as a particular spiritual being or type thereof. Regardless, why do you believe therein? How did you come by this belief? On what do you base your so-claimed unshakable beliefs? Does what you believe change the power of said object/being/concept?

  And if so, what will happen and where will you be (on any given level – spiritual, physical, psychological etc.) if your own belief, the corporate belief or the beliefs of others change? Is there something more powerful? Is there something non-belief dependent, or at least less so?

  I’ve chosen Christ. Not the so-called gospel, nor the Apostle’s Creed, nor even the entire bible. I follow Christ, as portrayed in the christian bible’s accounts of his life, and the God that Christ represents. I’ve been through a rather large crisis of faith in the past 3 years. My faith has been given a shake down, but not shaken. Or perhaps I should qualify that: My faith in God has not been shaken, but my faith in humans professing to be his teachers has been utterly razed. They contradict one another, themselves and on a frequent basis the very god they profess to serve. God conversely has never let me down, regardless of my faith in him, my obedience to him or corporate beliefs or practice. He’s never changed throughout an extensive history (if in doube regarding this, study God, not his follower’s and their teachings). And yes, I’ve found that he’s the top God (dog?). No other spirit, physical being or power has trumped what he can do, nor even match it: predicting, planning and controling the future; sorting out hopless situations and understanding me when no one else is able.

  So where does that leave me? Do I still use other means, very human and sometimes human/energy/spiritual means to bring things about? Yes. No need to arm a nuke for every mugging. And yes, I believe that that’s O.K. to do, so long as the spirit’s don’t pull in the opposite direction and believe it or not, that falls well within 1st century christian orthodoxy. All I can hope to do is to do as did: to walk with God. To communicate with him constantly, both ways. To try to please him, neither to curry favor nor from fear, but to have a loving relationship with the spirit I believe to be my creator. And lastly, to attempt to share him, not through expounding on my beliefs, but through sharingmy experiences. Much of what we credit to god is no doubt quite human; a simple comparative religion class will reveal this to be true. But some things go beyond that and are quite ineffable.

Those are what I want to share.



  1. Viva la Anti-buddha!

    Upon what exactly do you base your faith in Jesus? I assume this is Jesus as the Son of God.

    I found in my own search for truth that believing only selected portions of the Christian bible was setting me up for failure. It’s all or nothing. All, for me is clearly fallible. So I abandoned it as the end-all be-all that the Christians claim it to be. Especially the parts about Christ. It has no more or less truth than the Qaran or Book Of Mormon. Or Dr. Suess for that matter.

    Christ existed, I probably would have gotten along with him well. I don’t think he is what the Christians have made him out to be though. He was a great teacher same as those of the other major religions.

    If you haven’t read Davinci Code yet I’ll loan it to you. I know it’s a fictitious story but much of what it prtrays of the ways the the Catholic church has controlled Christianity’s development is based in truth.

    Be careful of me. I’m a bad influence.

  2. Hmm, an Anti-Seuss? I might try it.

    Believe me, I’m familiar with the Catholic Church’s historical and literary atrocities.
    Assuming Christ’s utter humanity for a moment, he still provided a good guide to making some sense of the rest of the collected books. Which I still hold in high suspicion.

  3. […] I can’t help but feel a bit wistful. Sober or not, Nandreeson Memorial can call me if the Maker of the Anti-Rain Buddha is […]

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