|The sun rising over the ocean on planet Earth, a daily occurrence. (Heidi Minetti Ayala)|
Even though I grew up as an enthusiastic member in good standing of the Kosher Jews, I am not today a religious person. I still remember all the rituals, and one of the biggest is coming up this weekend: Passover is huge, lasting a full eight days during which no bread is consumed, replaced by matzoh. The kick-off is a big dinner (called a seder) or maybe two if you are really religious, each with many celebrants at the table reciting the history of the persecution of the Jews. This retelling is accompanied by a serious onslaught of food including but not limited to gefilte fish, beef brisket, roast chicken, roast turkey, all kinds of veggies in their most delicious and fattening forms, chicken soup with matzoh balls, and of course copious amounts of red wine. Desserts are fabulous and vary from tribe to tribe. (My grandmother made a chocolate angel food cake smothered in strawberries to die for.)
I don't do that anymore, mostly because all my closest relatives are gone and my husband and I live in Maine, and if there are any Jews here, I wouldn't know. It's sad, but I'm not worried I won't get into Heaven because I'm already on Earth, which if you ask me is the closest thing to Heaven, maybe better. And while I'm not one for rituals, I am a firm believer in God or Something Greater. How could I not be, with flowers and babies and zebras and peacocks and the sun and the moon and the mountains and the oceans, to name but a few examples of life's great mysteries smacking us in the face every day? According to scientists, over seven million species of plants and animals live on Earth, in addition to another five million species of insects.
Atheists, who flatly deny the existence of any deities, and agnostics, who aren't sure, think all this stuff just got here, somehow. According to the philosopher William L. Rowe, "agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist." Really, Bill? (See photo.)