Inspirational Articles

Provocative Thoughts From The Next Generation

Free to Be.

Please Note: This story contains criticisms and affirmations of several current religions including Christianity. It is in no way meant to be an attack on any individual, rather, just a different look at the implications that arise when faith is considered knowledge.
January 11, 2009

I would rather drown in an ocean of uncertainty than lounge in the comfort of ignorance.

Once there was a boy, or a girl, it makes no difference, whichever way the story is more entertaining to you, and that child went with their family on a cruise to the Hawaiian islands. The child’s name was Terry, but again, that makes no difference for it is only a name. Terry enjoyed many things on the cruise ship, the water slide, the opportunity to meet and flirt with strangers, dancing and most of all the freedom that his/her parents gave Terry since they figured that Terry couldn’t really get that lost on a cruise ship.

One day Terry made his/her way to the Jacuzzi to relax from a stressful day of sleeping in and the gym. As Terry entered the Jacuzzi he/she noticed a strange couple seeming to enjoy themselves in deep conversation. The couple looked quite a bit different from each other in appearance but their age made Terry think they may be father and daughter. The woman appeared to be in her early 30’s and looked as if she had been practicing all her life how to be beautiful. Her hair was dark with a slight curl to it. The water and light worked together to bring a heavenly shine to her whole image. The man on the other hand was older, in his fifties by the look of it Terry thought. He had a scruffy face and silver hair.

Terry, a curious boy or girl, moved in closer to listen to their dialogue. Somewhere along the line someone had clearly forgot or failed to teach Terry that eaves dropping can be quite rude. But either way apparently the couple didn’t seem to mind because their conversation was loud enough for half of the ocean life to hear.

Finally Terry was close enough to clearly understand every word of their discussion although she/he was still thoroughly confused as to its meaning.

“You would resort to such ridiculous personifications just to appease your own fears!” The old man said in a condescending tone, which was then balanced by his genuine and innocent curiosity.

Woman. Yes Henry, I would rather turn on the light and see what scary monsters are waiting for me under the bed instead of laying awake all night dreaming of what they look like.

Man. But the light you are shedding on your room is bogus! You created that flame and you are going around the room hallucinating about what you think you see! You are creating a false sense of security by claiming to see past what it is we can see! Claiming to know what will happen after death etc… At least I am not lying to myself as I lie in the bed remaining in the unknown.

Woman. That is your suggestion? Be scared your whole life about what waits in the dark?
Man. Not to be scared, to become familiar with the unknown.
Woman. You are such a ridiculous old man.

Man. And if it wasn’t for your elegance I dare say no one could ever bear speaking with you.
The lady looked very upset and frustrated, she was either on the brink of tears or on the brink to killing the old man. She sat there for what must have been five seconds before she slapped the man across the face and left the hot tub.

Terry was in shock, the two had seemed to get along so well together at first. What happened? Were they father and daughter or perhaps lovers?

The old man took the last swig from his drink and rose out of the pool and left in the opposite direction as Terry had seen the young lady go. The cruise had temporarily lost its sense of routine that Terry had grown very sick and bored of. Tomorrow s/he would do his/her best to see the couple again.


The next day Terry spent the time scavenging the boat for both or either of the couple that he/she had met the night before. Now however s/he regretted not having introduced his/herself and made a mental promise to do so when s/he found them. The day was spent in vain however and Terry had no luck finding them. But when evening rolled around Terry had the idea of going back to the Jacuzzi again and see if everything on this ship was routine, as it seemed. Terry wasn’t disappointed, there they sat together once again, this time next to a portion of the hot tub that was made up like a waterfall. This time it would have been much more difficult for Terry to eaves drop but her/his promise forbid that anyways.

Tonight the older man seemed to be much more relaxed and concerned about the beautiful woman next to him. She sat in a black swimsuit sipping on a glass of wine as they spoke together only a few inches from each other’s face. The setting tonight was much more intimate and Terry felt guilty enough to leave until s/he caught the eye of the old man and he smiled to him/her. Terry took this chance to say hello.

“Where are you two from?” Terry asked.

“We have no home! Only the road,” said the old man.

“Oh? What is your name?” asked Terry a little put off but all the more entertained.

“His name is Henry but you may call him ridiculous if you like, do not take him too seriously. We are from Greece, my name is Katterina. What is your name?”

“My name is Terry, I’m sorry to say I’ve never been to Greece but the pictures all look so beautiful.”

H. The pictures cannot capture the beautiful smell of the country or the feeling of the wind; you must go and see it in person!

T. I would love to someday.

K. What are you doing on this ship Terry?

T. I am here with my whole family, we are on vacation.

K. That is very nice.

H. And s/he comes to the Jacuzzi!

Henry said this looking at Katterina with a smile, you could tell there was something else he was saying but Terry didn’t understand the full context. Katterina brushed off his comment and started to ask Terry where s/he was from but Terry jumped at the chance to know more about the conversations between these two interesting people.

T. Why do you smile when you say I came to the Jacuzzi?

H. Forgive me Terry, I am an inconsiderate old man, I was making a reference to a conversation that Kat and I had on the ship. It does not matter; I did not intend to insult you.
Terry overpowered by his/her curiosity continued to ask direct questions..

T. What was the conversation about?

H. We were just having a silly discussion about how people see the world and live their life.

T. Like a Jacuzzi

H. Terry, you are a smart boy/girl, I can tell!

K. Are you saying you are smart as well darling?

H. Well I would never be that bold. Yes Terry, some people live life like this hot tub and others live out in that ocean.

T. What do you mean? This sounds interesting!

K. Do not get him going Terry, we will be here all night long.

H. Non-sense, we must go back to the room before the maid comes for my laundry.

K. Terry is listening to you and you pay him/her no attention.

H. Terry forgive me. What was I saying?

Terry laughed; Henry was utterly confused and didn’t remember what he had just been talking so enthusiastically about, clearly this man was peculiar and Terry suspected that the couple was most likely romantic rather than paternal.

T. You were telling me how people live like Jacuzzis or oceans.

H. Ah yes! Well you see, before I tell you these things I must make one thing clear.

T. O.K.

H. It is only my opinion, I know nothing! I can only tell you what I think.

T. I wish more people realized that.

H. Exactly. So Kat may I tell Terry our conversation?

K. If you promise not to make me sound like a clueless woman enslaved to your arrogance.

H. But I cannot lie to Terry, s/he has done nothing to me.

K. Terry, before Henry goes on you should know we are on our honeymoon.

T. Congratulations!

K. Don’t speak so fast, you don’t know him yet.

Terry laughed and Henry had a look on his face like he was a child still in shock after his toy was just taken away by his play partner.

K. I am a fairly spiritual woman. I have turned away from many religions for various reasons but I can still see their great value. I do not cling to one religion now but I do believe in a God, maybe Gods.

T. Oh that is very cool.

H. Mamma Mia.

K. Henry will tell you I am a fool for still believing in some of the things I do. He might be right some of the time but I tell him he must respect the religion of others.

H. I do!

K. Last night you called my brother a waste of a human for being a monk!

H. I did not; I said he wasted his life.
Terry could tell they had hit a sore spot again and one of them would soon be throwing punches.

T. But how is this like the ocean?

H. Good question! I believe that the more we define about what we cannot know, the more comfortable we become, so if I claim to know Allah or God instead of just believing in them then I am making myself very comfortable with what I do not know. I am shrinking what is possible in the realms of the universe.

T. The universe is the ocean?

H. You could say this. I believe people make up all different sets of beliefs that help them to live life, some make things so clear and small that it feels as good as this Jacuzzi. Others live without defining almost anything and are as free and open as the ocean. Others make pools, lakes, rivers do you understand?

T. Yes, how interesting. So you are saying that we cannot know God?

H. No I did not say that. Maybe we can know a piece of God, but I believe the whole of God is much bigger than even the ocean! It is Beautiful and would take us many life times to see and no less understand.

T. So you see yourself as swimming in the ocean then?

K. He sees himself as larger than the ocean itself…

H. No, alas, I am a coward. I think I am swimming in a large lagoon. Perhaps sometimes I go to the ocean to stick my feet in but I am still scared of what I cannot see. The sharks, the monsters, the danger…the ocean is a scary place and it takes a braver man than I to explore it without hesitation.

T. What do you mean you live in a Lagoon? Can’t we just jump off this ship from the Jacuzzi straight into the ocean?

H. Well like I said Terry, I believe that requires much more courage than I have ever had. I believe most people make baby steps either to bigger bodies of water or to smaller ones. We can go from this Jacuzzi over there to the pool. A young curious boy/girl like you may come to know the pool very well and go off searching for another one, much larger and with slides!

T. So you are saying the more curious we get we explore and the more scared we get we run away?

H. Well sort of. Bottom line what I am saying is that every person must choose what size of possibility or “body of water” is right for them. It is, I believe, in direct proportion between comfort and curiosity. The more we think we know the less we can be curious about. But the more we think we know the more comfortable we can be in our beautiful Jacuzzi.

T. So what about all the people in religions, are they just living in Jacuzzis?

H. Well that is hard for me to say because I do not know them all but I will say for the most part the majority of people I have met, religious or not, like to live life in the Jacuzzi.

T. How can you be not religious and still be comfortable?

H. Well to say that God does not exist is just as arrogant as a claim to say that “He” does. Isn’t it?

T. I don’t know if it is arrogant, that seems strong.

H. But isn’t it! We are human beings! We cannot possibly know some of the things that we claim to know. And I believe the beauty of all these questions does not reside within the answer, on the contrary that is where the grief and war erupt. To me the beauty lives in the mystery of the great possibility! Take that Jesus fellow for example. Didn’t he leave all of his stories with an ending that was open and interpreted by the listener?

T. Both of my parents are Christian and talk about how important it is to accept Jesus as the Son of God or else we will go to Hell.

H. Is Hell the second to last stop on this cruise? Should I get off there?

K. Hush you scoundrel! Do not mach Terry.

H. I am sorry Terry.

T. It’s alright.

H. It’s just when I hear stories like the one your parents tell you it is like being squeezed into the Jacuzzi so small that I cannot enjoy myself and become claustrophobic.

T. You think they live in small Jacuzzi then? (At this point Terry loved this strange man Henry. Although Terry was usually protective of his/her family s/he had been noticing how his/her parents had an answer for everything, even things that now seemed impossible to know for certain).

H. Do I think they live in small Jacuzzi?! From what you tell me they are trying to fit their whole church into a single person tub! Listen to what you yourself are telling me Terry then you tell me if it sounds strange.


H. H. Alright, now listen; there was a man a few thousand years ago who could have been the Son of God. If you do not accept that He was the Son of God however you are condemned by his Father to an eternity spent in some burning pit which nobody has ever seen or been to because, oh how convenient, you can only go there after death. And if you asked me how I knew these things I would probably tell that I just know. It is common knowledge, or, if I am feeling really lucky, that God told me.

T. I suppose when you say it that way I can see things a little bit differently.

H. You know something, I was a very religious person when I myself was your age.

T. Really? What happened? (This statement had caught Terry very off guard; thus far this man seemed like the least religious person Terry had ever met).

H. Well I used to believe these things, or something similar. Then I realized that many of these didn’t work for me anymore. They didn’t make sense anymore and what I had been taught just started to fall apart.

T. I think the story is starting to fall apart for me too.

H. I am not trying to change what you believe Terry. Actually I know many religious people that are dear to my heart (he paused for the shortest second to look over at his new wife). I simply believe that they have abandoned their faith* and trust for the security and comfort of the hot tub. What they do with themselves is their business, which lagoon I swim in is my business. As long as we can share the same world I do not see too many problems.

* There is an important distinction to be made that with “knowledge” there can be no faith. Faith, as defined by Jesus, believes without seeing. If we assert that we know (“see”) there is no longer any room or need for Faith.

Terry noticed the time. It was getting late and if he didn’t get back to his room soon his family would ask where he had been. In this moment Terry didn’t want to talk with anybody, there was too much to think about and too much going on in his/her head.

T. It was great talking with you but I really have to go, my parents will be wondering where I am.

H. I am sorry that I talked so much Terry, please forgive me.

T. Do not apologize. I would like to talk again before the cruise is over.

K. That would be very nice Terry.

H. You know where to find us, we love the Jacuzzi (Henry gave a smile and wink to match as he said this and Terry couldn’t help but laugh).

T. Goodnight you two.

H. Buona Sera Terry.

T. Huh?

H. Goodnight.

Before Terry went to his/her room s/he walked over to look at the ocean. Slowly more and more of the pieces of the conversation Terry had just had were coming together. The ocean was so vast just like the world. Terry wanted to leap out and be free to swim and explore but the ocean was also very dark and intimidating. S/he looked back towards the Jacuzzi and then the pool. Maybe Terry could take things in smaller steps rather than just diving from the ship to the mystery of the ocean.