Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some of My Random Views on Religion

Note: I wrote this post yesterday, and had it scheduled to appear in a few days.   But seeing recent American news about religion has inspired me to post it today.    For those who haven't seen the story yet, a religion quiz was given to a variety of Americans.   Those who answered the most questions correctly were Atheists and Agnostics.   Jews and Mormons were close behind them.    Catholics and Protestants did pretty damn awful.    There seems to be a disturbing correlation between ignorance and faith.     What's the deal with that?

I've started looking at a new Australian website today. I mean the website isn't new. I'm just newly looking at it. Am I making sense?  Anyway, it's called That's Melbourne.

I read about this current exhibit in Melbourne called A New Jerusalem: Faith and the City.   It's about various religious faiths.  One of the guys involved in the project is Christos Tsiolkas.  He's the guy who wrote The Slap.   I've been wanting to read that.  Shit.  I went to the library today.  I should have checked to see if they had it.  Instead I got more supernatural young adult stuff. What can I say? I LOVE that crap.  

On top of seeing this website about the religious exhibit, one of my friends asked me questions about my level of Jewish observance. AND when we walked to the library, Tim, Jack, and I cut through the parking lot of the synagogue.

All of that makes me feel I have an excuse to blab about my views on religion. I shall warn you. If you ARE religious, I am likely to say things that make you uncomfortable. I apologize for that. I AM somewhat sorry, but not sorry enough to keep my mouth shut.

Also, not much of this is really that new.  I think I've said most of it  before; either in emails to people or buried deep within some of the biography posts. But I feel like saying these things again. So here I go.....

1. Sometimes it seems absolutely silly to me that educated people in modern society have beliefs in God.  And some of them have strong enough beliefs that they actually attend a building of worship on a weekly basis. Sometimes I'll see something about Obama going to church; believing in God, and I think....he might as well believe in vampires, werewolves, and forest fairies. Really?  What's the difference?

It's all so silly.   It's all a fairytale.

That being said.....I personally tend to believe in fantasy stuff. I believe in life after death. I believe in reincarnation.  I believe in angels.   I believe in spirit guides. I believe when I dream, sometimes my soul goes off to some weird astral place.

I'm a believer, AND I think it's really silly to believe. That probably doesn't seem to make sense.   Maybe it doesn't.  But it's how I feel.

I also think it's a bit rigid and ridiculous to NOT believe in any fantasy stuff....to rely so heavily on science, and to believe in only what can be currently proven in a laboratory.     

Basically, what I'm saying is that I think all humans (including me) are either silly or rigid and ridiculous. Many are both probably.  

2. It's not that I necessarily disbelief in the Christian version of God. it's that I don't LIKE him. (at least as how he's portrayed by many Christians) Sometimes I think maybe Jesus IS the truth. Maybe I am wrong about Christianity being fictional.    But I hope I'm not. I don't like what I've heard about this Jesus guy. He seems so vain. If you don't declare faith in him, you're sent to hell. You'll burn for all eternity.You'll experience the worst pain imaginable....and it never ends!

Despite all this, Christians will call Jesus a loving God. They'll say Jesus is their friend.They'll say he's their heavenly father. They also say that God gives us a choice. He doesn't force us to believe.We have free will.

I think I have a totally different definition of the word choice. If I say to Jack, you can have chocolate cake for dessert, or a bowl of ice-cream....THAT is a choice. If I say to Tim, you can watch Medium with me, or I can watch it by myself....THAT is a choice.  

If I say to Jack....Go outside and yell out....I have the best mom in the world!   And if you don't do that, I will lock you in the closet without food for three days....that is NOT a choice.   That's a threat.  Some people might call that love. I call it abuse. If you truly love someone, you don't send them off to burn eternally in hell.  

In my opinion, if Jesus truly was a loving God, he'd love you and be there for you no matter what you believed. He'd understand that having a book declare him as being real is not enough evidence of his existence. He'd understand that there are a lot of religious texts out there, and it's all a bit confusing.

Many Christians do give a more gentle view of Jesus.  Their Jesus doesn't send people to hell to burn.  He just sends you away. He punishes you by separation.  It sounds a bit immature and spiteful. Well, when you were alive....you refused to believe in me.   Bye bye.   I hope you have fun without me. But you won't, because I'm so awesome, and all good in the world comes from being NEAR me.   

God rejects you in the afterlife because you rejected him while you were alive. Is that fair? I mean, for arguments sake, let's say this Jesus is real. Couldn't we say he has much more evidence of our existence than we have of his?  Wouldn't a nice God appear when we've died and say Hi Sam!  I know you didn't believe in me when you were alive. Hey, no worries. That Scientology stuff IS pretty convincing and interesting.   But now you can see I AM the truth. I've been watching you all along.  I watch and love EVERYONE.....whether they believe in me or not.  Want to join my club?  Oh, and you don't have to.   You can still reject me, and go off on your own. I wish you well though, and I shall be here if you ever want to hang out.    Here's a box of Tim Tams to take on your journey.  

Now THAT is my type of God. But wanting a certain type of God to exist, doesn't mean he IS going to exist. For all I know, God may be the cruel, homophobic, racist, and sexist God that some people speak of. I hope not.

3.  I am very bewildered by people who pray, get what they want, and then say God is good. God is good because he answered your prayers?  But then what if you didn't get what you wanted?   Is God then bad?   Or does it mean you didn't pray hard enough?  Did you not pray well enough?   Did you not gather enough people to pray with you?  Did you pray at the wrong church?  Did having a Wiccan pray for you piss God off enough that he then decided to not give you what you wanted?     

I also have a hard time understanding people who have faith, and then lose it when something bad happens. Did they expect only good things to happen to them? Did they not realize shitty things happen in the world?  I'm guessing they did.  Right? So did they believe they were special, and immune to horror and tragedy?

Some people refuse to ever believe in anything because of badness in the world. They think if there were a God, he'd have the power and goodness to prevent bad stuff. I personally disagree with this, but at least these people are more consistent than those I mentioned above. They don't wait for their own personal tragedy to lose faith.

I don't often believe in God, but if he or she does exist, I don't think his job is to make things comfortable, happy, and easy for us.  My silly spiritual belief is that life is a learning opportunity.   Shit happens to teach us. And shit happens because we're not evolved enough; and because of this, we cause shit to happen to each other.   

I do think that sometimes prayers are answered. But it doesn't mean your good God answered your good prayers because you're one of his personal favorites.  It MIGHT sometimes mean that.    It could also mean that what you asked for was going to happen anyway. It's fate.  It could mean that God was going to kill your pet turtle in the apartment fire, but then he realized you're emotionally weak, and couldn't handle such trauma.  So he let your turtle survive.  He decided he'd have to wait until you emotionally evolved more before throwing you a curve ball.  It could mean that your weirdo cousin offered a sacrifice to the Purple Haired Cockroach God, and it was THAT God who gave you what you wanted.