Before I begin, let preface this with saying, some might find it offensive. I am not a religious person. At 43, it’s time to devote whatever life I have left to better things than organized religion. I’ve been wanting to write this for some time. But I’ve been putting it off and I can’t hold off anymore.
As I’ve previously reported, two months ago, I lost someone very special in my life. I knew her since we were both 14. She became at one time, my best friend. Then, she became more than my best friend. And then, I lost her. On Feb. 3 of this year, she passed away. Some people would say she went to Heaven. Her father, a retired Methodist pastor said she has “graduated.” And while I’m glad she’s no longer suffering after a long illness, I can’t say I’m not mad and I don’t think it’s right nor fair.
We’re invented organized religion and the idea of a deity to make us understand why good people die early on in their life. Why does some kid get cancer and die before they turn 10? Why does some innocent person be killed by a random stranger or a spouse/partner? Why does someone casually walk down the sidewalk not a care in the world and then someone runs a red light causing another car to swerve and end this person’s life?
Well, it’s all God’s doing? It seems a cop-out. No wonder writers refer to something like this as the deus ex machina. And if we can’t use God as a justification, we just blame it on Satan or evil. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, that “simplicity” to life has turned more people away from organized religion, including me. But a lot of things turned me away from organized religion. There’s too much prejudice and bigotry along with the sexism and misogyny. Religion has been used to justify slavery, racial bias, domestic abuse and even child sexual abuse. People are supposed to turn to religion to make themselves feel better. I’m just wondering what I’m missing because it seems unless you’re a white Anglo-Saxon heterosexual male with a nice bank account and material possessions, everyone else seems to be getting screwed.
And, of course, I grew up during the era of the Moral Majority, televangelism and conservative Christians using their religion to pass legislation. People would say don’t let that deter you. The problem is, the other side isn’t doing anything to stop them. By not questioning certain people, we’re letting them win the argument. This isn’t what Jesus meant when he said “Turn the other cheek.”
The bigger issue is so many people have been so used to going to church that it’s lost its meaning to them. It’s seem more as a routine rather than as a need. I’m sure some of you have had your parents screaming at you on how you’re going to be late. Or they’re swearing like a sailor on the way to church when someone cuts them off. Or they’re belligerent to you telling how they will beat you if you don’t behave from the time you get out of the vehicle all the way to the doors of the church. And then, poof, they’re “Good Little Christians” smiling at everyone and acting like they haven’t a care in the world.
I’ve always questioned a lot of things. Growing up in the Deep South, in the district that Marjorie Taylor Greene represents, I once asked why only the white people came to the church. I was told “they” (and you know who “they” are) have their own churches. And this community had a lot of churches. The Baptist didn’t like the Methodists and vice versa. The Catholic church parishioners were the “crooks.” And then, there were the churches in (Insert racial slur here)-Town. Things got even more spicier when the undocumented immigrants came to work in the factories around Northwestern Georgia and then wanted to worship God and Jesus too.
It’s either a cult or a social gathering. And sometimes, you can’t tell which one is which. You miss a service and people want to know why. They’re not checking up. They really want to know why. What was supposed to be for your own spirituality and well-being turned into what they want. This is how cults begin. They hook you and reel you in with catchphrases and keywords. So, after a while, it’s harder to leave because they think they own you.
My special friend had a lot of problems in her life and a lot of them were caused religious dogmas. She was one of the sweetest people in the world. She loved so many people and was loved by many. I’m pretty sure you could be connected to her by a degree of separation. She knew what I was like. And she accepted me. I’m angry because she was finally starting to get her life together after a painful decade or so with too many downs and not enough ups. She was in an abusive relationship. She survived a violent attack. And we were going to be together, something that she told me she thought never would happen.
I’m angry because suddenly my life changed just like that. I can’t be happy, not now, and probably not ever. Why should I pray to a deity who took away one of the few things that was the most precious in my life? At the end of the day, I still had her. My back pain and knee could hurt like hell. Things in my life are spinning out of control, but I still had her.
What sadist deity does this? And why should we worship him? I can’t. As her father said to me, life’s not fair sometimes. Yes, and while I prayed with them. It’s the last time. I did it for her, not for me.
I prayed for her many times, only to have this happen. That’s the problem with prayer is that sometimes the answer is “No.” Where was a deity that stopped the people in her life who treated her bad? A lack of religion doesn’t lead to domestic and emotional abuse, it’s quite the opposite. Too much religion is dangerous.
If people have a connection to a religion and it makes them feel good, I’m supportive. The minute it’s used in a bad way, I’m not longer supportive. I’m not saying this is how you should live your life, but it’s how I choose to live my life from here on out.
What do you think? Please comment.