Friday, December 16, 2011

Sorry John It Took So Long, But I'm a Dreamer Now

By: Gus Victoria

Religion. It looks like a dirty word doesn’t it? To me it is. It carries with it the combined baggage of our collective human existence, its origin predating the very foundations of culture. This article does not begin there. Rather the genesis of this particular rant is found years ago in one particular song; Imagine by John Lennon. For so long I had spurned this song as a soulless heathen daydream. How can one imagine let alone wish for a world without religion. Friends and family adored this song and I resisted. I was at the time a self-styled intellectual with deep spiritual roots and happy in my conservative Catholic tradition. I saw a world so different than what was ideal, but a world where religion was crucial as a means to bring back that ideal and create a better world. Imagine was a childish fantasy I wanted no part of. And then I grew up.

Years of study and living has led me to see the best and worst that religion has to offer. I could assign the bad to Satan and credit the good to God. A younger me probably would have. An angry, equally foolish me would have reversed it ironically.  I choose to do neither, because those two figures have nothing to do with it. Every action, good or bad, began as a choice. Religion is a mask we use to protect us from the truths of the world. The best and worst that religion can offer is also the best and worst that humanity can offer.

It is easy to condemn religion as an opiate or a panacea for the weak. It would be hard to argue the hate that has originated from all religions despite the message of love they all seem to convey. However it would be equally hard to deny the power of love and justice that religions all over the world throughout time have championed. The cycle of hate must not be allowed to carry on by condemning believers, nor must the cycle of love be allowed to end through a difference of belief.

Just imagine it; a world without religion and without nations. The differences of mankind would no longer divide. These are not the words of a foolish man. They are the words of a person that understands we are one. Now I understand that song. I am a dreamer. Are you?


  1. As you know, you're 'not the only one.' I really enjoyed this one, as you can imagine. I admire your open-mindedness, and thanks for yet another good read!

  2. Thanks Gus! What's really awesome about this is I knew you then. I remember when the "Derek" I was back then would be in a conversation like this with you and the..."self-styled intellectual with deep spiritual roots" would come out.

    I resonate with your personal transformation because I similarly went through the opposite. I used to believe in eternal truths and that everything could be fixed if we just thought about it enough. But I have now realized "everything is as it should be." And any problems I see are my own.

    Problems like trying to fit the world in my vision of the "world." Trying to fit other people into my expectations of "other people." Its a daily meditation to remind myself that peace comes from love. And love doesn't want to change people. My ego does.

    All in all I appreciate and respect your point of view and your voice. I am a dreamer as well. Always have been. and hope to continue to dream as long as I am able.