Saturday, April 19, 2014

Religion as Story

On Good Friday I found a vulture lying in the middle of the road, wings spread wide as if crucified. Blood pooled under its belly.

And I wondered about the meaning: a dead vulture on Good Friday, its brethren circling overhead.

A day hallowed by people around the globe, heads bent down, tears pooled, as Christ's agony—arms spread wide on his cross—is remembered. It precedes Easter, the day he is said to have risen to heaven to return to his father's side.

It is a rich, allegorical story, with meaningful conflict, memorable characters, and a clear protagonist and antagonist.

And that is exactly what I understand religion to be. Story. A creative fiction meant to give meaning and purpose and structure. Rules. Codes. Laws.

Was a man name Jesus Christ executed by the Romans for being a traitor? Probably.

Was he the son of god? Maybe. But maybe everyone is a child of god, as some stories say. Or maybe no one is, as some stories say. Or maybe it doesn't matter, as some stories say.

But it is a good story. A martyr on a cross, blood weeping from his wounds, salvation just words away. And we do circle it still. Brethren, all—gleaning meaning,  purpose, heart.

Whether we believe or not.

-Naseem Rakha 4/19/14