Today was the second time I attended Mass. The last time I went, I went with Joanna and it must have been 2012/2013. And as usual after attending religious ceremonies I came away feeling very confused about what I want from life. I need some time to sift through these thoughts, and what better way than to start writing here? Title is from Seventeen’s Pretty U and means Got so much to say but can’t organize myself which is extremely fitting haha.
During today’s Mass some things changed from 2012, and some stayed the same: As always, I felt out of place when they sang and recited the phrases in unison. Obviously, being in a new social situation it’s quite expected with in-groups and out-groups and me being in the latter.
There’re a few odd feelings/thoughts: Suddenly thoughts of The Giver come to mind — thank you sec 1 LangArts lessons — and I recall how the community in the story would mourn the dead by chanting their name over and over. And also the unnerving thought of did I step into a cult oh no even though I probably didn’t. Who knows what cults are actually like though. And also memories of kindergarten where all of us just sang the songs happily together and it was fun. With the added filter of ah but I’m not even in the religion so isn’t it odd for me to be singing these songs of praise?
What differed from 5 years ago (good gracious time flies very quickly) was that my attention kept drifting from the speaker thanks to all those thoughts, haha. I was very absorbed in the priest/pastor’s story back then! I somewhat remember the story, haha. It was about some girl in a hospital with a purple aura.
There was something called Witness Wednesday after Mass where a student gave the talk. which was about the “one thing” to seek in life. (No points for guessing what the answer is, I mean who are we kidding right we’re in a post-Mass talk.) Anyhow, it was mentioned if you hear the message from God and act upon it you are a wise man, and if you hear it but do not act you are a foolish man. So I was sitting there thinking “huh but then what about those who don’t hear any message?” And right at that moment “I’m sure all of us sitting here have heard the message,” said the speaker. HUH WAIT did he just say we all have heard the message but- So someone inviting me to church is a message oh my goodness then how many times had I heard the message but failed to act?
But at the same time I’m also not gonna convert just because a friend asked me once right like…. when I hear about people talking about their “calling” I certainly did not expect it to simply just be the act of accompanying a friend to church.
Back then, and now still, when I went for these religious events I was and am still caught up in the moment and yes I want to be a good person and have direction in life like wow. It sounds so good. (I realised today that the music really does sweep people along. Nwoye was right all along!!!
Something something music tickled his heart and … stream? water? OK I went to search it and I am absolutely wrong ahaha. “The words of the hymn were like the drops of frozen rain melting on the dry palate of the panting earth.”) ((And also yet another reason why I was distracted: I was thinking about Things Fall Apart and also ahhh music is how the missionaries converted others because music is universal~~~))
Related to music, a sudden memory popped into my mind during the talk, I think it was because the speaker said the word “ship” and suddenly I remembered the song that goes With Christ in the vessel which somehow was sung on the bus in Suzhou in p5. I felt so happy singing that song at the time because ayyy I know this song!!! Even though I’m not Christian!! Thanks to kindergarten!!! Singing together can really make you feel part of the in-group. In hindsight though I wonder about the friends that didn’t know the song — how did they feel being left out? And it was also not very nice of us to be singing so thoughtlessly. Though I guess we were just 11 year old kids.
But now, I also think of how so many churches have gay reform camps/discriminate against single mothers etc etc and I also wonder how I can subscribe to such beliefs? On the other hand I just googled a bunch of phrases such as “pope stance on ____”and wow he seems like a very Good person.
And evangelisation: On the one hand I can understand why friends do it — they saw the light and care about you and don’t want you to go to hell. But on the other hand I also thought “everything in it’s own time” is something that is commonly said? If it is meant to happen it eventually will; and if not no matter what you say or do, it won’t. And also isn’t it good to be considerate of your friends’ choices though?
During Ethics, Prof Clarke posed a question: Is the act good because the gods love it, or do the gods love the act because it is good? It’s kind of a chicken and egg question. But if you do something good because someone powerful told you to do so is it really a good thing? And if another person did the good deed without any higher power telling him to do so, wouldn’t you consider the atheist to have a heart that is more good? But the religious person will go to heaven/jannah and not the atheist.
Also during Ethics (again, haha) we learnt that pre-axial religions had people worship gods out of practicality, and axial religions worship gods because it is the good thing to do. When people talk about God, I normally hear things about how He is very loving and almost like a friend walking next to you. But it’s so hard to imagine such a kind being not accepting people who didn’t convert. In a way, it’s much easier to believe in the pre-axial gods like the capricious Greek and Roman gods. Just give offerings to Neptune/Poseidon and your ships will sail safely, please Hestia and your kitchen will not lack food.
I realise suddenly everything just started colliding together: On Sunday I met Sharm, Lau and ZR for lunch and we were discussing religion; for Ethics there were 2 religious texts and 1 philosophical text to analyse, and going for Mass today. Oh man this whole post is a utter total mess and nothing makes sense but I remember Denise once told me religion isn’t supposed to make sense, if it did it’d be called logic. And that’s why it’s called a leap of faith.
But that’s a really cop-out answer!! How frustrating, I’m going in circles driving myself into a frenzy and not being able to sleep. This post is a monstrous size.