Posts Tagged ‘religion’

The Religious Right and Wrong

Some people incorrectly describe me as an atheist. Not true. Never have been; never will be. What I am is… difficult to describe in it’s entirety.

But let’s get Mr. Peabody on the line and take a quick ride in his Way-Back Machine. I was born the son of two Italian families. By default that makes me a lifelong Roman Catholic, even if it isn’t true. As a child, I went to catechism, learning the ways and means of Jesus and his homies. I never really got a whole lot out of catechism except bruises. Yes… I got beaten up in church. Imagine how it is to be me… But I digress. I was confirmed at the age of 13. As I recall they confirmed me twice (just in case…), once upon completion of catechism and then later by my Catholic school as part of 8th grade “graduation.” Church never held much for me. No power or sway. It isn’t that I didn’t believe… I just didn’t get it. I was born with the mind of a 12th century philosopher. Even at 8 I had questions. What the fuck is the Holy Spirit? Why does he look like a dove? (Mom said it’s so he could fly.) (And a follow up question later) what do you mean, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the same person? Are you telling me Jesus has multiple personality disorder? Jesus is a schizo? (Most of this, by the way, is part of my act, so I’ll thank you not to repeat it.) And what if your wife dies and you get married again… when you die, who are you married to? Do you get to fuck both of them? I don’t think Jesus would like that. Seriously, this is the sort of stuff that went through my young mind.

I went to a high school named after Saint John Baptiste De La Salle. They had their very own national Christian youth group… the La Sallian Youth. My senior year, I decided that I wanted to be closer to God. So I joined the LaSallian Youth and started going to church. I helped them tutor underprivileged kids three times a week. You would be amazed how bad Bill Cosby impressions will get ten year olds to do their homework. It may be b/c I promised them Jello pudding. I was even asked to write an article on faith for the national newsletter. But in the end, I found religion… wanting.

People call me an atheist. They say I do not believe in God. And it isn’t true. I believe in God… I just don’t believe in him the same way you do. I do not believe in religion. People get confused often. They think that religion and faith are the same thing. In fact neither has any dependency on the other to exist. Religion is a collection of rituals and traditions surrounding one central concept. Faith is simply believing in something. I have faith. But I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell. I know Jesus existed, but I don’t believe he was anymore the son of God than any of the rest of us. No magic powers, just a guy who believed. A lot. And I honestly don’t believe God gives a shit whether you belong to Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam or Taoism. It’s just a fucking -ism. It’s a word. Means nothing. What matters is how you act, how you treat people, how you strive to do better and learn, and in so doing, make the world a little better. And that’s my problem with religion. I’ve met a lot of religious people (this IS the South) from various different denominations. And for quite a number of the ones who claim to believe the strongest, it’s all the same shit. For instance, I have known around 8 different people from a so-called “Non-denominational” church. Which is a load of horse shit. They believe the same stuff that I was taught in catechism, they just don’t like the name. And every one of these supposedly non judgmental, new age Christians has been a complete whack job. Like two steps shy of David Koresh and a bunker, drink the kool aid whack job. (One of them said to a friend of mine that there is no evidence of dinosaurs and that they made them up… seriously.)

It’s all the same shit. And there’s a reason for it. There is a divine guiding force, an abstract raison d’etre that has guided human history. Selfishness. Everything in human existence eventually boils down to territorial-ism. What’s mine, and what’s yours. I have to have more stuff than you. I have to be smarter than you. My God HAS TO BE THE RIGHT GOD. Because if it isn’t, if I’m wrong then I don’t know what happens to me when I die. I have no control over the universe, I am mortal, I am tenuous. Do I even exist? Nothing makes sense unless I am right. And for me to be right, you have to be wrong. Like I said. Everything boils down to territorial-ism. And it’s foolish. It causes so much hurt and destruction. Religion is a wonderful idea. But the problem is, someone takes that great idea, twists it and uses it to further their agenda. There are people out there who insist that God hates gays. Why? I was taught that we are all God’s children. And that God has plan. Well if that’s the case, then maybe God has a fucking plan for Gay people too. If we’re all modeled in God’s image, then maybe some days (I’m guessing Tuesdays) he likes to put on some lipstick a dress and a pair of open-toed orange pumps and look fabulous. Maybe anal sex and blow jobs are God’s way of giving us a pleasurable alternative to population control. Argue with that… I DARE YA. So remember ladies, every time you swallow, you’re saving the world.

And the people that think other religions are going to hell… why? Isn’t God supposed to be forgiving? Well then why wouldn’t he forgive someone for simple ignorance? And if it looks like I’m picking on Catholicism, I’m not. They just happen to be what I grew up with and know the most about. Most religions make the same mistakes they do. Some of them want to kill us over it. I’m not particularly fond of atheists either, not because I think they’re bad people, but because most of the ones I’ve met have shitty reasoning skills. And since I consider myself somewhat of an expert on reasoning, it offends me. the biggest argument I’ve heard is “If God exists, then why would he allow there to be suffering in the world?” Because he’s God, not Princess fucking Lollipop of the Rainbow Cotton Candy Club. How do you define happiness without sadness? How do you define good without bad? Can there be a Heaven without a Hell? It is the contrast that defines the world. In order for one thing to exist… EVERYTHING must exist. Otherwise you could not appreciate the beauty and wonders we are given. So basically someone in Somalia has to starve so that you can clog your arteries on pork rinds. And that sucks, but it’s not God’s fault. It’s physics. Bad reasoning aside, I don’t fault either side for believing as they do. If you can’t see something magical in existence… that sucks. But I can see why you would feel that way. And part of me wonders if you’re right, because as any good philosopher does, I have reasonable doubt. If going to church and saying your prayers gives you strength… God be with you. I envy you. Though I am far too cynical and pragmatic to feel that way. If you believe that killing others makes you right, then I truly hope there is a hell. But I have no answers. In the meantime , I draw my strength the old-fashioned way… from the people I love. But that doesn’t make me an atheist. It makes me a man with reasonable doubts.

Quote of the day: “May God stand between you and harm in all the empty place where you may walk.” ~J. Michael Straczynski