For many years, I had been rationalizing that the story of Christ's resurrection, subsequent travels with his disciples, and eventual ascension into the great beyond was a deeply symbolic morality tale. I so wanted this to be true, as it was the only explanation of the post-crucifixion New Testament which made sense to me, but, alas, my childhood hopes were dashed. Knowing that I was supposed to actually believe this stuff was truly a stab through the heart, or someplace close to it, at the very least, because I could not even bring myself to pretend to.
Despite my mother trying her darnedest to raise me as a Roman Catholic, I simply never gelled with the Church, or its Tradition, or any of that. I always knew and was glad to hear that such things worked out well for some, but they just never did for me. My interest was always in embracing my family's deep Sephardic Jewish heritage; some of my fondest memories regarding personal religion involve chilly December nights in which I lit the candles affixed to my late paternal grandfather's centuries-old menorah.
Being honest with myself and others about my beliefs was a tremendously difficult thing to do; during my high school years, courtesy of my peers, I was exposed to some of the most virulent anti-Semitism imaginable. Would it have been easier to live a lie, posing as something I fundamentally was not for the sake of missing out on some poor soul telling me in no uncertain terms that I was less than human due to my ethnoreligious background? Perhaps, but in the end, I would never have been able to forgive myself for this. Unless we are speaking of the mentally deranged, nobody respects a fraud or a hypocrite, and the worst kind of hatred is that of the self.
In my opinion, the most simple fact of life is the following; sooner or later, we have but only two options. The first is to accept reality about ourselves and the world around us, not envisioning either or as we wish them to be, but as they are, and the second is to retreat into an elaborate land of make-believe. The ideologue, whether he or she be interested in the fields of science, politics, religion, or all three, will always choose to voyage into a realm of his or her own creation due to an incapability to deal with especially challenging individuals, events, and objects. The open mind, meanwhile, will judge the situation at hand and, after careful consideration, take the most practical course of action. This might not be the most preferable, or popular choice, but he or she will not care as his or her mind is focused on finding long-term solutions as opposed to quick fixes.