Anyway, the next day at work I walked into a conversation about Charlie. Charlie is apparently the grandfather of the previous owner of the deli. He died a decade ago and used to bake--I guess. Apparently Charlie shows up from time to time. Kim, my boss, asks us to treat him with respect. She also told us a few stories that employees have had. Some just fleeting--a woman will call your name with a sense of urgency. In another instance, a girl had a difficult time opening the door to the General's Quarters. The GQ is a small section that is often reserved for parties. A girl was going into the GQ to get it set up for a party, she didn't believe Kim about Charlie. She said that it was dumb to believe in ghosts. But this night, she had to push and push and push to get the door open and as she was setting up the tables, apparently she kept hearing a woman ask, "Who are you? What are you doing here?" The woman was mad. The girl ran out and wouldn't go back in.
So, as I said, I walked into this conversation that was taking place between Kim and a high school girl named Amy. Amy said that she has a theory that if you don't believe in ghosts, then they don't exist. Now, I don't know if ghosts exist and I really don't care that much but I do know that statement is the most gigantic load of tripe I have ever heard out loud. I mean--how could something exist but only for those who think it's true?
Kim told her about the GQ incident and Amy sort of laughed at her. Kim asked, "how do you know it's not true? Well, what do you believe?" Amy said, "Well, I believe in God and in the Bible..." Innocently, I asked her, "In the Bible, does it say that ghosts don't exist?" I mean, I haven't read the whole thing but from what I've seen I don't think that I've crossed anything that mentioned it. I really was just wondering. She's got, like, a 4.8 gpa and does very little other than study and go to Youth Group so if one of the two of us would know about this stuff, it would naturally be her.
So I told her, albeit very quickly, where I'm coming from. I told her that I'm a Christian (though would appreciate a different term, since this one has been ruined) and that I (regretfully) just spent five years at a Christian (extended summer-camp) University. I said that if there's one thing I learned--one thing that I took away from that experience that made me into a whole and entire person it was learning that I won't know everything. But more importantly, that there's a difference between what the Bible says and what people have been telling us this whole time. Sometimes people tell us what the Bible says but sometimes Sunday School teachers are just telling us what their Sunday School teachers told them and we listen to it and think that it's what God says. But really, honestly, it's what Great Aunt Gertrude said and we never think to ask where this information came from. Secondly--we think that checking Gertrude's references is the worst thing we could ever possibly do. Questioners are either shunned or welcomed by their own kind--who are also shunned.
"Doubt is not a pleasant position, but certainty is absurd." --Voltaire
I have to be honest with you, I have never felt as secure and whole and even beautiful as I did the day I realized--and was okay with the fact that not only is it impossible for me to have the answers to some questions but that I shouldn't. Moses wasn't allowed to even look at God. What on Earth makes some of us believe that we could possibly be privy his every thought or reason or idea about stuff--even trivial stuff. You know? Maybe he did make ghosts. Maybe they're not real. Who cares? And it's not just ghosts and aliens and vampires--I really couldn't care less about this stuff, it's just what prompted me thinking about the subject. Other subjects though, "What's Heaven like?" "What happens after you die?" "What is sin?" "Does God actually give a shit about where I go to college/ who or if I marry/ if I move to another country/ if I name all of my children after the secondary characters in Harry Potter/ if I sleep with a gentleman to whom I have made no vows?"
On the other hand, very few things offend me more than ignorance. So how do you marry those two ideas? Why keep looking for answers when you know you'll never find them? I don't know. The only thing I can think of is so that you and I can continue to be the types of people that you and I can stand being around. I want to have important ideas. I want to believe things and I want to know exactly what it is that lead me to that belief. Just understand that there's a line between fact and belief.