1 September 2003
Some people are so forthright about their beliefs. Evangelical Christians wearing their religion on their (not insubstantial) sleeves, driving us infidels to an early grave with their preachings on tolerance and harmony and Christian love (before posting jiffy bags of dog-shit to gays). They even repeat it to themselves, several times a week in some cases (and even in Latin - how's that going to help them remember?) Tony Blair will tell anyone who listens how he believes he's always right and always has been, and you can't say fairer than that. Even R Kelly tells us how he believes he can fly - though whether you should trust anyone who gets charged with abusing a minor and then releases an album called 'Chocolate Factory' is highly debatable. In fact, I'd suggest he takes a leap of faith and challenges his convictions, but that's just me.
But I can't go along with any of that. I see too much irrational thought in pretty much any religion to accept it as a cornerstone of my decision-making process. Take John 20:29 - 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'. OK, I see their point - blind faith and all that - but given the amount of bullshit about the Creation and all that that the human mind has been able to debunk, why should we believe the scribblings of some old-school blokes with their own agendas? I'll happily be proven wrong about this when the day comes, but till then I'll happily trust my cynicism to see me through.
No, in the words of Jay Kay, I think it's time to found a new religion. Or maybe religion's not the right word - I don't want to be some David Koresh-type nutter going up in a big ball of flame. Let's just call it my own personal Creed (hold on - imagine having your own personal Apollo Creed, who could beat up all your enemies. That would be cool. Except that Ivan Drago killed him. Git.), and if you happen to agree with any of it then fine. I'm not going to go forcing it on anyone.
Let's start with the easy stuff. I believe in the application of reason, tolerance and compromise in order to understand and resolve conflict. That doesn't mean it will always work, because some bastard with a silly moustache and some crazy ideology doesn't always want to play ball. That's when you have to brush the love-and-peace nancies aside and kick some serious arse. Then watch them come round to your way of thinking. Heh heh.
I also believe that England is one of the best countries in the world. Now, admittedly there's a lot of reasons for disagreeing with this, most of which centres around a small percentage of the population who have to go and screw it all up for everyone else. So, next time they're in Faliraki or wherever they get farmed out too to enjoy sausage egg and chips in a slightly sunnier climate, lock them all up and arrange for a surprise earthquake to collapse the gaol. Simple. Thereby leaving us to enjoy pies, cricket, roundabouts, a thriving and diverse music scene, one of the highest levels of racial tolerance in the Western world, non-league football, the BBC, afternoon tea, pubs and drizzly September afternoons in peace.
[on a similar subject, I also believe that you should have to qualify for a passport by more than nationality alone. How many people are travelling with the blessing of our monarch, having their entry to a foreign country approved by royal charter, that besmirch our good name? No, I think the queen should have to personally stamp and sign each one. And if not, make me king. I'll do it.]
OK, how about something more - spiritual? Well, surprisingly, I do find myself believing in life after death. Only I don't see it like some of you others, this idea of eternal life in paradise. Imagine how long one hour can feel when you're bored or impatient. Now imagine an eternity. That's quite a bit longer. Think how quickly you tired of your radio-controlled car. How good was that? Pretty damn close to paradise at the time, wouldn't you say? We're always looking for the next step, we're never going to stay happy with anything for long - soon we'd be complaining about the temperature in heaven, or the food, or the robes or something.
No, I believe that the only life after death worth living is the memory of you living on in those that knew you. Some of that may pass on to other people they tell about you - children pointing to an old photo, asking 'who's that?' and being told wondrous, idealised stories about you as you were best remembered - but when the people that loved you have also gone, I believe your time is up. And I believe this is a good thing - who wants to see their world transformed a million times as you watch on, helpless?
And that's why I believe in living for today. Not to the detriment of anyone else - but in making the most of the time we get. Seeing the good in everything and everyone. If you love someone, tell them, because you might not get another chance. Hey, it's an ideology. It's allowed to be touchy-feely. Be grateful I'm not forcing us into a group hug.
Oh, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.