Come share with me my profound sense of disillusionment. Come sit for a while and see things as they really are. If perception is everything, then perception can be nothing at all. What we see can deceive us. What we hope can delude us. What we lust after can derail us. All that glitters in the end is not gold. It is merely expertly gold-plated. Underneath the veneer of what we thought was gold is in fact nothing but termite-infested wood, rotting and breaking down under the weight of wishful thinking, unrealistic longing and ungrounded hope.
Take religion for example. The bitter irony bites real deep here. Leaving aside the question of God, his love and his mightiness, we have been misled by our own contrived sense of piousness. If I get a dollar for the number of times we religiously covenant with God to repent and renounce our sin only to find ourselves going back to the same filth, I would be a very rich man by now.
I don’t want to be a sour-grape here, but I sincerely believe that true repentance eludes some of us. I know this sounds weird but I believe the seasons of a man’s life is so multivariate and complicated that for some of us a season of sin stretches to the eve of our mortality (or morbidity). Repentance is a tall order for us. It is often easy and even convenient to say I have changed but to live out that change is much tougher than words alone can justify. Here is where the disillusionment cuts really deep for me. Instead of bringing us closer to God, religion ironically sets us on a treadmill of forward motion without the forward progress.
Here is where perception plays an insidious role too. We think we have progressed by paying lip service to repentance but we have only tacitly given ourselves the immunity (or impunity) to sin even further; this time under the guise of religion. By hiding under the refuge of religiosity, we are merely replacing one sin with another. It often takes a more religious sin to cover the less religious sins of humanity.
The illusion of piousness is so powerful here that it can even make us believe that we are a new creation when the only thing new about us is that we have put on a new cloak of self-righteousness while discarding the old one of open rebellion. We therefore looked white-wash from the outside when the only change within is an astute rearranging of the sins we have disingenuously sought to renounce. This apparent self-avowed exercise is as futile as trying to diligently tidy up a messy room by rearranging the clutters in another way instead of throwing all of them out.
If religion is all about the perception of change, then it has done eminently well with its believers. We see the change in them no doubt but alas, it is unfortunately only a change of context and not content, so to speak. If putting an unrepentant believer in a Church and giving him some pious ministry to serve in is a sign of transformation, then sleeping in a garage would by the same self-serving logic transform one into a mustang or standing still in a living room long enough would turn one into a recliner.
Indeed the love of God covers over a multitude of sins. But the problem here is that we constantly misapply this love to make us feel good about ourselves when we continue our double-minded lifestyle of self-justifying transgression. What makes it even worse is the recent doctrine of hyper-grace; which is really a godsend for many believers. You can’t expect the believers not to exploit this doctrine for all its unintended consequences.
My soul-gnawing disillusionment here is how anyone with half the mind can ever think for a second that the believers will not take advantage of a doctrine that assures them that all their sins are forgiven unconditionally under the auspices of God’s unconditional love just because human gratitude will do well to effectively ring-fence their fleshly appetites. Imagine the floodgates! We will milk it for all its perverted worth. We will go berserk with the idea that God loves us too much to ever want to condemn us or judge us or reprimand us or discipline us. With that kind of love, however misconceived by us, only losers end up in hell.
I can go on with this marathon of disillusionment if you have the time. I can bemoan the illusion of invulnerability, control and certainty of humanity. I can lament about how cocksure we are about what we know with a little knowledge gained from ivy-league institutions only to find that the higher we climb the totem-pole of knowledge, the clearer we show our intellectual derriere to the world at large.
I can tell you about the empty boasting of men as they parade their worldly toys around for all to marvel but alas, their life is in shambles because their endless striving came with a price that they can scarcely afford without knowing that they can scarcely afford until it is too late. And such ill-afforded price-tag reads, “the narcissism of the insignificant”.
I can tell you that there is no certainty in this world except for men who are glowingly cocksure about things. I can share with you about the persistent disappointments of a devout pining her hope on a miracle that never came or the deafening cries of children clinging on to the hope that life would be better in the long run when it is more probable than not that in the long run, we will all be dead. I can go on and on about the meaninglessness of what most of us think is meaningful and the hopelessness of what most of us think is hopeful. But that would be an overkill on my part as this world sadly lacks neither the resources nor inspiration to fuel my disillusionments. And more pertinently, I guess I have said enough.
I greatly appreciate your time with me to muse about things most soul-bitingly ironical that our mortal eyes have obstinately refused to see for the utmost reason that hope, even the deluded ones, is infinitely better than giving up. If I had unraveled too much in this one sitting, I apologize for being a wet blanket of humanity. This is my bucket list of disillusionment that I have served up on you.
And in a strange way, this list somehow keeps me hopeful of the one thing in life that I guess makes it all worth waking up for. It is the hope that maybe, just maybe, all this bottled-up disillusionment really comes from a place of empowerment and realization that we are not as bad, helpless or irredeemable as we first thought we were after all. Cheerz.