Hiking the Dolomites

We are hiking across a small portion of the Dolomites, and tonight will be in Cortina again. The hikes are long, many ups and downs, the scenery unforgettable. These are a rock formation of very light material with white peaks and landslides all about. The peaks have a castle-like quality about them, that is, those that are not honed by glaciers. It is all spectacular.

I was thinking yesterday about the distance I’ve come from – as a young guy in his thirties I laid in bed one night and decided I was not only not going to be a Catholic any more, but would not even believe in God. I then did something so simple as to be part of the manifesto of basic human freedoms: I told my kids they were free themselves to believe or not believe, to explore and make up their own minds.

To this day I think it backward and enslaving to demand that kids believe in our God, go to our church, believe as we do. Long before there was a Bible, there was good and evil. The Bible is not a source of goodness as much as a collection of important essays of high literary quality with a smattering of history here and there. Very little of that.

I went through the usual steps after rejecting religion, being angry at what the priests and nuns had done to my young mind, critical of all religion, and highly cynical of the TV preachers and pretentious fools that preach to the rest of us as they live debauched materialistic lives.

And then slowly came around again. I’ll never be a believer as I was brought up to be, but I’ve come to a point where I am not so critical of truly religious people. They may only be hoping, or may be connected to an ethereal communication channel that eludes me. But I remember the words of my brother, a priest, on a camping trip shortly before his death, that there are means of transmitting important truths from generation to generation. Science is one, mythology another. He valued mythology over science. He was not an ignorant or unread man, and knew of the important truths uncovered by science since Galileo.

Anyway, we have a long hike ahead today, mostly a 4,500 foot drop, but it looks gradual. Should be another day lending itself to deep thought. Today I’ll try thinking about football.

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