Sunday, April 8, 2012

A good Friday

Sunday April 8, 8:55 a.m.

All of us went to church on Friday after being invited by my sister-in-law. It was a 90-minute service in which the guest speaker was very animated and entertaining, though not to the level of a high-rising televangelist. Still, it was religion which meant that 90 minutes had me dozing off at points. Unfortunately, I was caught literally napping by my niece who dutifully told her mother; felt bad about that but most likely my sister-in-law simply told her daughter, "Let's pray for him." I kinda understand now the dynamic between Sheldon Cooper and his mother.

Being a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, I always feel like an interloper since I will treat any sort of sermon as an observational exercise of organized religion. The main pastor was gladhanding everyone in the room, and even gave all of my family a verbal (and in my case, a literal) slap on the back and spoke a few words of Chinese although we are Japanese. My brother shrugged and smirked at me; I just remarked how closely he resembled Ned Flanders.

As seems to be the case with every service I've attended since meeting my sister-in-law, there has always been a concerted effort to attract new members to the church. And last Friday, there was even a short video of a fellow who had been an atheist but has now turned to the Word of God. He spoke about how lost he had felt during his dark days of atheism before feeling better when he saw the Light. Perhaps irrationally, I had half-expected my sister-in-law to turn to me with a facial expression that said, "See?"

Ah...nope. I didn't see. Still don't. If that video fellow has felt better because he decided to believe in a deity, that's fine with him. I just don't really correlate the two. I can't say I'm a particularly happy person but am I going to seek religion despite my non-belief just so that I can be happy? Too much of a leap. And I've just seen too many bad things happen, supposedly under "God's watch", to ever believe in a deity.

Do I have faith? Not much. But I have faith in family. My parents have supported me during this time of transition without griping (at least not too much griping), and if my sister-in-law invites me to a church service, I will go because she is family and it is important to her. Plus, my niece wishes it, too.

It was a good Friday, though. Got to get out with the whole family. And had a nice dim sum afterwards.