Friday, January 9

Religion

This is part of a community blogging exercise. See details here.

I've been working on this off and on all week, and I wanted it to be more concise and better edited, but I just want it to be done. So here it is, not so perfectly honed as I'd wanted it, but oh well. I have the world's worst headache right now, as well, so just typing this is pain.

I didn't grow up in a religious household. My dad was raised southern Baptist and my mom was raised Catholic, but nobody in my house went to church--maybe because they couldn't agree on a church to go to, maybe because they just couldn't be bothered with going to church. This was mostly fine with me when I was a kid, because I've never been too keen on getting up and dressing for tedious church services on Sunday mornings.

I was a bratty kid, and I got kicked out of numerous preschools for beating up other kids and not minding the adults. My parents put me in a private Christian school for Kindergarten, and I'm not sure if it was because of the behavioral problems or not. Needless to say, the day we went in for our interview with the principal and he told us that they practiced corporal punishment at that school, I knew I was going to experience that corporal punishment sooner or later. Thankfully, first grade found me at a regular public school.


When I was 12, I became friends with Rachel, a super-religious girl in my class who attended an Evangelical church. Her family was so religious that they made their children hum the letter "g" when singing the alphabet because people sometimes substitute the expressions "gee" "gee whiz" or "geez" rather than taking the Lord's name in vain. I started attending church with her family on Sunday mornings and youth group meetings on Wednesday evenings, and went on a campout (one of two times of camping in my life) and to church camp with the youth group. Eventually Rachel persuaded me to accept Jesus into my heart and get baptized with her so that my immortal soul would not burn in Hell for all eternity. And so that we could be smug together about being saved.

Rachel and I eventually had a falling-out and I quit going to that church. I'm sure it was a relief to her, since I was always embarrassing her by asking questions like, "but how do you know God isn't a woman?" The answer to this was always "because the Bible refers to God as 'He.'" I was smart enough not to voice other questions like, "but who wrote the Bible and why should I listen to them?" I would've probably gotten a slap for that.

Sometime in junior high I came to the realization that while I found the stories in the Bible interesting, I doubted whether it was the word of God because I doubted whether there was a God at all. I also realized that Rachel and her family were a bunch of smug a-holes who spent most of their time together discussing how their religion made them superior and making fun of other religions like Christian Science or Mormonism.

I haven't attended church since that time, and I don't plan to at any time in the future. I've never met a convincing argument as to how any book written by humans could possibly be the words of a divine being. And why would a divine being be concerned with the minute details of how humans live our lives? If I were a divine being, I wouldn't care what a bunch of piddly mortals were doing (other than maybe wanting to have sex with some of them). I'm also not convinced that they'd be benign like the God of the New Testament--why wouldn't they be lusty, prideful hedonists like the gods of Greek mythology? Or the cruel and demanding God of the Old Testament? I don't deny that there could exist such things as divine beings, but I just don't know how one could define such a thing.

I think it's more likely that everything that exists is here on this plane where we humans can see it. I don't think there is a Heaven or a Hell, even though I love to explore ideas of the afterlife. I think that when we die, our souls or whatever energy we are made of gets broken down and the pieces are recyled into new souls or new energy or new life like molecules of H2O in the water cycle. How else to explain why we dream about places we've never been? How else to explain the fact that I imagine myself smoking at almost every idle moment and just the thought of it satisfies me, though I have never been a smoker? Perhaps this is what is meant by the collective unconscious.

4 comments:

j4luck said...

Right On! I have almost exactly the same beliefs, although I don't even like to call them beliefs because the insinuates they are not subject to change. I have been trying to muster up the words to write for this group blog topic, but I am having a hard time also. Some things are just difficult to put in words.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

Knee-jerk-wise, I want to jump in and say, "NO! God(s) is (are) real, They love you because you are literally their child," but then I think about the big fat stinky log of poo I just cleaned up off the carpet and how my kid then peed all over the clay dough I made for him and THEN dumped out my whole canister of flour A-freakin-GAIN ... kind of makes me think about smoking a cigarette, too ...

Grayson said...

The fact that gods have sex with humans in ancient mythology always gives me a laugh. The idea that a divine being would even be interested in such a lower creature is like bestiality, only worse. Only a vain human being could ever think of such a thing.

Jenny said...

I know, it's the height of narcissism to assume gods have the same appetites as humans. But it's such a power trip, "if I were a god, I could have anyone!"

Greek mythology is full of regular bestiality, as well. Those crazy ancient Greeks!