Just putting this out there; probably shouldn't but y'all know me...
It has been a long time coming, but I have concluded that I despise religion. Despise It.
Now let me explain, if you are able to see straight after the last sentence. I have no problem with faith. I have no problem with belief. I have no problem with any individual's higher being; no matter the rendition. I have no problem with an individual's right to express their personal belief and practice their specific religion. If what you believe makes you a better person, helps you make good decisions, makes you a compassionate contributing member of this planet... then I'm perfectly fine with your beliefs.
I do however have a huge issue with people who claim to be part of a
specific religion (and the name or deity does not matter to me) who get
their panties all in a bundle because my definitions and beliefs do not
exactly to the letter coincide with theirs and then they have the
audacity to tell me I am not "christian" or I'm hateful or think that gives them the
right to govern my life based upon their so called belief principles. I loathe the continued atrocities committed in the name of religion; the discrimination, hatred, bigotry and exclusion-ism.
I'm not fond of extremists and they do exist in every religion; so back off the Muslim faith because there are plenty of extremists of all faiths to go around. Some "christains", I'm sure would still prefer to force others into their religion even if it decimates a gentle culture and brings disease and death to the so called "heathens".
I've had enough with people who believe in the Bible; every literal word. I don't argue that it was written by God's prophets and that it is his "word" and it should be studied and respected. However, to really understand every word of that book you would need to be a scholar with fluent abilities in every language that each part was written. Then you would have to be an expert of every culture and every social nuance prevalent at the time it was written and then you would have to be a mind reader; God's mind. Scholars disagree on the minutiae of the good book. How would anyone expect to fully know this writing? Most people take bits and phrases of it out of context to fit their ideals.
This ultra extreme conservative energy that is running through our wonderful Nation is making me ill. There is good reason to separate church and state. How many oppressed religious sects got the hell out of Europe, selling themselves as indentured servants for the passage across the Atlantic in a crappy boat, just so they could get away from some king who killed them for their beliefs? The same damn king who bought favors with the clergy to change the rules so he could kill his wife and have another.
A motivator in finally starting my blog several months ago was a wonderful friend from high school, who I love to his core. He become so pissed at my postings regarding the discrimination of LGBT people, of the GOP wanting in women's uterus and wanting to send women in the country back 40 years due to their "religious faith" that he disowned me. He said I was not a christian and that I was the most hateful person he had ever known and a barrage of other heated comments. Poof, over thirty years of friendship gone. Now I felt pretty sheepish when this happened. Yep, I felt like shit, like he might have a point. I figured that a cooling off period would allow us to talk about it eventually.
But really, he couldn't see that I was anti-people-who-hate-and-use-religion-as-their-justification? He took what I was trying to convey out of context and assumed I was talking about him and all "christians" in general. Horse shit. This is an excellent man, who is raising 4 strong boys in a god loving manner. He has gone on many mission trips to build schools etc in very poor Central American communities. His family has taken in a psychologically troubled teen and are struggling to find the best way to reach her and make her feel safe and loved. He struggles with his faith, trying to be a better person in God's eye. How on earth, with me knowing him so well, could he accuse me of hating him because he is "christian". A man like him is part of the 99% or 47% or what ever the magic number is this week, that proves their goodness and faith on a daily basis through their actions; not blah blahing bits of out of context, bible nonesense.
Also had quite a conversation several years ago with a young woman regarding Iran and the root of the troubles America has with that country. I had the wonderful opportunity to hear 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi speak at Meredith College and also read her book, Iran Awakening. After spending an evening discussing facts, this young girl piped up and said, "They are all wrong" in reference that if they are not christian then they are wrong. Fully dismissed facts because it didn't fit in her stupid little religious definition. Wow. Don't fit the definition and you are on the street. I no longer have any respect for this girl.
I blame religion. I blame the expectation of pure and exact conformity demanded by whoever the whack job at the front of the pulpit happens to be. Every building has a slightly different definition, every person inside that building has a slightly different definition. How can anyone anywhere expect total and complete and exact adherence to some arbitrary set of rules? How?
This issue screams of hypocrisy. All the lip service to emulating Jay-zus and loving your neighbor while simultaneously dismissing those who aren't your robotic religious equal as not worthy of compassion, understanding, equal rights, autonomous thought... well the list goes on.
So getting back to the trigger for writing this today, all these months after my friend disowned me. I am putting together my 30 year high school reunion. Have not heard from this friend regarding his attendance, so I noticed his wife (who is quite lovely) online and IMd her. Very short and terse, "He doesn't want to go". My immediate self-deprecating thought, "Yeah, because I, the christian hater, will be there." I am making the reason up and am hoping I am wrong.