I grew up in a war zone of ideologies. As a young teen, I was indoctrinated into the spirituality of the Christian faith. At that time, most all my friends parents took them to church as they wanted to set a good example, and we guys found it a good environment to meet girls. Once I was an adult with a family, the in-laws served as an incentive to caravan to morning services if I wanted peace in my own family, plus an excellent Sunday lunch at the in-laws. As I mellowed and aged, I spiritually morphed into reality and soon indorsed the doctrine of Evolution. It was not until my wilting years of old age that I finally embraced the true reality of life….but more of that later.

Creationism….God created the world in six days and the NFL on the seventh. The saga goes that God built a wondrous garden center and called it Eden. At first, the help loved working there, but, soon took to nibbling at the merchandise and cavorting with each other behind the philodendrons. God sacked the help and foreclosed on the garden center. From this point, Adam and Eve Smith went out and populated the entire planet, poor Eve. Much, much later, God got really mad and exterminated most of the planet with a category 20 hurricane that makes Katrina look like a spring shower. Anyway….God finally got used to mankind’s inadequacies and BS, and in due time God accepted the reality that man was spiritually challenged and needed others in high places to tell him who and how to worship….thus man got right with God and life went on.

Evolution….I’m not saying that Charlie Darwin didn’t eat a few of those mushrooms he discovered, but, even though I found merit in his theories and timelines, it was still a stretch accepting the premise that life took it’s first grunt as a microscopic fart bubble in a churning primordial sea. Then it popped out a couple of eyeballs, grew scales and acquired an appetite for everything. Then it belly crawled out of the sea where it’s future litters would some day produce bellowing offspring the size of Ferris wheels. Then, thanks to a big friggin meteor, most of them were eliminated and what was left eventually downsized to ignorant furry monkeys living in caves. But, a day came when the apes finally got their act together, built fires, ate anything with a face and waged war on each other for the next five million years. That’s evolution, pretty much.

Intelligent Design….Here we have a conundrum. Anytime you associate the word ‘intelligent’ with any debate about Creation, most folks will turn the channel. Fact is, Intelligent Design tends to be a smorgasbord of scenarios. Some grand maestro orchestrated the ‘Grand Happening’ by taking a fact from one category, a myth from another and a whopper from still another. In all reality, after all the dinosaurs had turned to primordial crud, some liberal aliens visited our globe and gathered up all the apes, and then spliced a few strands of their own galactic DNA into the hairy simians and WALLAH! It is, because of this ancestral violation, that anytime you visit the monkey cage at the zoo, you can expect the hairy anthropoids to grin, and then toss shit at you, their corrupted cousins.

     Fact is, I don’t really know how we got here. Hell, I don’t even know why we’re still here! But, we got here and even with our proclivity of screwing things up, we still survive and flourish……for now. As far as religion goes, to each his own. I have learned early in my life that I don’t need a zealous pulpiteer expounding unequivocal directives as to how I am to worship, pray, and kowtow to some delusional manuscripts written by some forsaken monks centuries ago without a spellchecker. At heart, I may very well be Pagan, or even some kind of diluted Druid. But, most likely I’m just a follower of the divine church of reality. Religion was not created by God….but, by man in order to control man. It is a fact that some folks do need religion because it makes them happy, and all power to them, but, the fact a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than a drunk being happier than a sober guy. Sure, religion has had a vital role through out history such as the genocide of the crusades, the inquisition, and of course the 913 devout members of the Peoples Temple that passed around Jim Jones’s Kool-Aid at the last fish fry. Now, religion has been regarded by most folks as true, and by the wise as false, and by most all rulers as very useful! Thus, man has joyously committed all extremes of evil for a multitude of religious convictions. Once in awhile I get downright philosophical about life, much like I do about football. Not that I worship football, even though I do pay homage to it with offerings of pay per views. During my 68 years of dodging assorted idiot mentalities, ring worm personalities, and one disaster after another, I have learned that my life has been directed and salvaged by two very simple, but, powerful words….Faith and Hope. They both have a lot in common and each has a potency all it’s own.

     Faith has been allocated to the spiritual and theological realm for thousands of years, but, for some, it’s all about family and special friends. My greatest faith has always been through Wifey, as I know she will always be there for me and I likewise for her. So many times, during the last thirty years, she has been there when I needed strength, guidance and a trash can to throw up in. Faith is very simple….you never have to turn around, cause you know someone’s always got your back and will never let you down. Ever! But, not to believe in faith, is to believe in nothing and that’s one hell of a black hole! But,most important, is you must have total faith in yourself! Never, ever let your own self down. It’s important to remember that having faith in your family, and most of all yourself, must be absolute, never requiring proof or explanation….ever!

     Hope is the first cousin of faith and they are both nephews of destiny. Hope can be more delicate than faith because for many, hope is all they have. Hope can often be as fragile as a young girl’s dreams and the last thing a person does before admitting defeat. It must be remembered that hope is a direction of both conscience and determination.

     Every conflict of man, whether on the field of battle, of the body, or of the spirit, is supported by both faith and hope. Fact is, everything attempted and completed in life is based on these two concepts. To live without either, is to cease living. So, what I’m saying to you comes from a man who has seen heartache, known the infirmities of his own body, plus the torments of his spirit. When all seemed lost….faith held up one side of my dwindling spirit while hope held up the other, and together they helped me to face my anguish. In the end, I became stronger, wiser, and more loving to those who needed me. How you interpret faith and hope is solely up to you, but remember….together, they are butt-kicking awesome!