Living through an American Recession

Dealing with never ending life changes. Who says making lemonade is the best thing to do with those lemons life throws at you?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why I left the church

As a middle class kid in California I grew up in Sunday school and private Christian academies hearing the same biblical stories over and over again and reinacting historical events every Christmas and Easter. My mother made the greatest mistake, or should I say, good deed by subscribing to National Geographic Magazine and Discover, two of the greatest travel and science magazines in my opinion. I would read them cover to cover which lead to curiosities in the bible that did not match with what science said. "Somebodies not right here." Yeah, I was one of those kids constantly asking questions.

"What about the dinosaurs? If the bible starts at the beginning, where are they?" "6,000 years old?" Certainly a planet full of giant, freely roaming, people eaters would have made a line or two somewhere. Among a million other questions I had that never got answered, I just didn't understand.

Our family changed churches like people change the oil in thier cars. Every three thousand miles we were in a new church. Never understood what the hell they were looking for, but I got drug along and boy was it a ride. Some were quiet and mumbly, some were jumping and falling on the floor rambling in the "ancient languages", stand up, sit down, kneel, sit again, some yelled and spit and some made everyone wear funny dresses and no make-up (it was the devil). Some liked music while other condemed it, some believed the bible word for word and some made up their own rules. They all agreed on one thing at least, that all the other religions were going to hell and the other denominations were "just so mislead."

Every holiday or family get together was filled with religious fighting and yelling. Dad was a catholic, mom an evangelical and my uncle, dad's brother a Baptist minister. Never a dull moment here. "Whooo" They hated it when I would interjected with my silly comments like "Aren't you all fighting over the same thing?" I was shushed quickly and reminded that I did not know anything. I know enough that at the expensive Christian Academy they were paying for I was taught that God was loving, kind and that Jesus taught compassion and peace and you guys are none of the above.

Later in high school learning tollerance of our fellow classmates I had made some good friends. Turns out some of them were gay, lesbian, pot smokers, science nuts and so forth. One day while in church with two girls I grew up with, the minister was ranting and raving, pacing and sweating shaking his bible in the air... blah, blah, blah..."Have we not heard this story 700 times?" Then out of the blue, "The gays, the lesbians, the criminals and the pot heads. You can tollerate them but never be friends with them. We don't invite these people into our homes or to sit with us at work. They are not welcome here." Certainly I couldn't unfriend my buddy because she liked girls? This pissed me off. "How uncompassionate, unloving and mean."  I had had enough.

A few years later I found a church near where I had moved. It took one Sunday of listening to them harrass me for working at K-Mart. "K-Mart sells pornography and we don't shop there." They skoffed encourageing me to quit. "Soooo, don't buy pornography." I told them. Needless to say I was not invited back.

I spent the next 10 years or so studying other religions. "Maybe I was in the wrong one." I thought.  Turns out they're all the same, different characters, same story, same arguing, same fighting. "We're right and they're wrong." They all say the same thing. They would teach the "bad things" about other religions in our church. "If God is love why are people so mean? Why this, why that." Not one answer I've ever gotten from any clergy EVER made a lick of sence to me. "NONE of this is logical!" It's like reading science fiction, no, fantasy. Science fiction can actually be invented.

The real fun started when I studied psychology. Oh boy, the God gene. The mind is incredible. The more I learned, the more I started to understand how man uses religion to manipulate the minds of men. Deepak Chopra was right, religion is for the weak minded.

It's extremely difficult to explain to someone why your not religious. "Ya got about 3 days?" Now I can't say I'm Atheist because making that statement would convey that there is no God. My best guess based on my current understanding of the universe is that it is highly improbably that one entity rules over all and is responsible for everything that happens to me or where I will end up when I die. My measly human brain cannot conceive other parallel universes or "knowing" that I will end up in some grand place if I'm an obedient minion here on earth and listen to the church. THIS is why they don't encourage scientific study, the more educated you get the more their crap starts to stink.

I have had friends tell me they "know" there is a God because they have felt it or had experiences. Well my friend, so have I. The sad part is that churches promise to satisfy everything the human mind is looking for, so we feel satisfied and happy. Hell, we don't have to search anymore, we're home. Truth is we are searchers and explorers by nature and the church is not what we are looking for. But it pacifies the need to belong to something, some group or organization that shares our like minds and won't judge us.

Everyone on this planet wants peace and fairness. Do we really need an organization to tell us to love and be kind to our neighbor? To love our family unconditionally? To help those in need or do what is right? Truth is, almost all prisoners claim to be religious. Fear and control is the shackle around ones heart and soul, release that and there is nothing left but love. Pandora's box to some degree. Would you steal a hundred bucks to feed your family if  you knew the judge would say "I forgive you son" and let you go? Taking what doesn't belong to you is not right, even if the "judge" forgives you.

I think any person who travels the earth or even his own town showing and teaching love and compassion is a saint. Jesus, Gandhi,  Buddha and so forth are examples of compassion of the human experience. They were peaceful people with the same goal in mind.

Educate yourself and never stop asking questions
Open your heart and look inward not outward.



Well it finally happened. I got unfriended by my own family on Facebook. Why does that bother me? It bothers me because as a society we are no further advanced socially than thousands of years ago. Ok, so we've learned a little more tollerance for our fellow neighbors but that's about it. It really made me think about myself.

Are we that despirate to find others like us that we unfriend, people whether in real life or on-line that have a different point of view than us? We meet people in various places with similar interest and chat it up about said subject. I suppose being family wasn't enough to stay friends. But as soon as we start digging a little deeper, the shallowness rises. "Oh, she's a _________." (fill in the blank). What's worse is when you actually become friends with the person and they "unfriend" you becuase of something you like or don't like later down the road. Why are we so judgemental of each other? We have conquered prejudice, or have we, abolished slavery, or have we, and learned to love thy neighbor, or so it seems. It's all superficial bullshit!

We embrace individuality, but judge them when they do. We encourage free speach, but throw stones when they speak. We've seen them come out of the closet to be harrassed and beaten. We are still afraid to speak our minds or show who we really are. So how far have we actually come? How boring life would be if we sat and just compaired likes and dislikes with the response of "me too." I guess it takes some sort of intelligence to respect, listen and try to understand the other persons point of view. I personally find it fascinating to understand why a person feels the way they do, believes in something,  or why they enjoy something I find boring. It opens my mind to possibilites I may have never imagined putting any prejudged ideas at ease.

I guess I still struggle trying to understand why a person would smile at one but not the other or help one and leave the other hungry. Find love in your heart for any human, just because they are human.