So there it is. One of the top five things you never discuss. The others being politics, your finances, alternate sexuality and soccer.
In my lifetime I have never really had a defined religion. On occasion I have been inside a church for weddings and a random midnight mass in a previous relationship. But a church is not a religion. It’s just a building without desirable seating unlike the newer movie theaters with the plush recliners and drink tables.
But religion itself I just do not understand. Why do I need to assemble at designated times and places to speak to an almighty being who is omnipresent? Is the church building like a religious WiFi hotspot? Does God not get reception at my residence? If that’s the case, he/she probably cannot witness my checklist of no-no’s (mostly Sloth). Also if most churches convene on Sunday in the morning (staggered for time zones and across the globe) – aren’t you competing for his attention to hear prayers and such? Maybe that is God’s Sunday ticket like the NFL satellite package. Oh this church in Columbus, Ohio is involved in a defensive struggle and he would rather watch a shootout of action like a church in Wild Buffalo, Montana. Maybe God doesn’t like people who speak with accents because it’s harder to understand and follow so he tunes out people in New York or Texas? Perhaps God is a stickler for punctuation and grammar and he is secretly boycotting a church in Clearwater, Florida based on a printing error in their version of the bible from a cut-rate printer in Canada. What-if God can’t stand vegetarians and there is a Vegetarian-Only Church in Flagpole, England?
As usual I am taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to a topic that some people will not laugh about under any circumstance. Religion, politics, raising a child, sports, drugs, love, sexuality and many other very personal choices are colored by each person’s life experiences. Some of these things you may not have had exposure to at a young age; where certain principles are set for you and repeatedly enforced or harped upon. So when this occurs and you are left to explore and come to conclusions and philosophies on your own, it takes on more of a personal flavor and will cross boundaries that other people cannot fathom.
In my opinion, I think it’s hard to relate a book (the bible) that was written back in a time when some of the greatest thinkers thought the Earth was flat and the day to day existence was basic as shelter and survival of a family unit as compared to what exists today. Not saying some of the principles and concepts are not applicable or worth valuing but the landscape is like a different planet from those times. And if this book was really written (and selectively edited) by persons of forward thinking, why didn’t they allude to the radical changes of the present day or what the world will evolve into in another 50 or 100 years from now? I know a very small piece of the bible and the Cliff Notes version of many stories, still I don’t see where a book that has origins 3400 years ago or the other versions that appeared 1500 years after that can be the know-all be-all of everyday life in the year 2015 or beyond. Maybe if the Earth’s crust cracks open and 95 percent of the population is obliterated and all the knowledge and technology is lost – then the bible becomes relevant and forefront again.
With all this being said, I am not at all religious. Instead, I like to think of myself as a bit spiritual but not religious. Have there been times in my life when I have had verbal or mental conversations with God? Yes. He/she has never spoken to me but once I asked for him/her to remove a bully from school and later that year the bully got busted for stealing and was expelled. Coincidence? Who knows. But I didn’t have to go to church to make the request. I didn’t have to chant some submissive phrase from a mass printed book of indeterminate age.
I could probably fill up an entire book on the subject and flow back and forth to make points for my point of view but the ones who love their religion and in turn need it, bless them. Let them have it. If it makes them stronger and a better person then go on and embrace the facets that are needed. However, if you are using it (cryptic passages from hundreds of years ago) to further your own hateful opinions and make an argument to interject yourself into someone else’s business that is none of your business then I say I hope your bible spontaneously combusts in your lap and you are torched by your short-sighted petty thinking. Sounds like I am preaching a bit doesn’t it? Ha. I think your spirituality should spark a passion. But instead of sitting in sermon time-out on a Sunday reading old words and punching an after-life time clock, how about you take your spirituality and put it into action. How about have your church be convened in the soup kitchens, pet shelters and other charitible outlets for the time you spend on those prayer days? Wouldn’t that make a better use of the time and a better use of the energy and produce a positive result for society, not to mention improve your hereafter resume?
Stop judging others for their skin color and their sexual preference and just realize most of them are like you under their black, tan or white skin. Trying to survive the day. Missing a loved one no longer with them. Stressing about paying their bills. Wanting a better life for their children. Trying to make sense of the world around them.
For the people waiting for Jesus to return…what if he did but was so disappointed by what he saw that he didn’t reveal himself and slipped quietly away, never to return? Now what? What if the atrocities committed in every country, every day are so over the line that God has dropped us like a dissatisfied cable customer? I forget the quote or the exact context of the sentence I’m about to write but it was said: Maybe Jesus, if he were here today, would not approve of the religions being perpetrated in his name. In his teachings he was more about the concepts and ideas of religion than the religion itself because ideas and concepts can be talked about and changed but religion is not easily changed. This is a horrible paraphrase, forgive me, but you can kind of see what the thought was. Live your life by a set of rules or guidelines based on your needs and a moral compass of right and wrong. Pass those ideas on to your family for the greater good.
Okay here I will take a step back and apologize if I have offended. These are just my thoughts and by no means the gospel of how life should be. Life is series of events, mistakes and recoveries. Let your heart and conscience guide you to your passion and your strengths. Others may be drawn to or repelled by the true you but let that be your guiding spirit. Not everyone is a piece needed for your puzzle.
Hope your energy is positive and you have a kick butt weekend.