Monday, June 28, 2010

Divine Providence

As your can probably tell from the title, this post is going to be about religion.

Today some church guy (I think his name was Chris) revisited my doorstep and talked to me (again) about why the Bible is good and yadda yadda yadda and handed me a piece of literature which, frankly, I doubt I'm going to read. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Kim a couple days ago about the subject.

I don't really remember the specific details of that conversation. I think it was about the ramifications of religion in the world, either way, that's what I'm going to be writing about.

I do not, nor will I ever claim to be an expert on any type of religion (irony gods, please don't turn me into a monk....) the following is just my thoughts on the subject. If you find holes in what I say, feel free to tell me. Just don't be a twat about it. Also feel free to tell me your opinions as they are always welcome.

Let's start with some pros and we'll work from there. One pro of religion is all the hope it brings to people in their time of need. For example, while I was in a coma in 2004, buddhism kept my mom sane and gave her hope that I would pull through (which I did, obviously, though it did get pretty shaky at times). Depending on the religion, the existence of an afterlife or a "promised land" gives people something to be good for and I guess keeps people in check, because really, if we knew that there was no Heaven and there was no Hell, people would be shooting each other in the face left and right over small disputes. I mean, why restrain yourself when the end result will be the same? Although there is always the basic human instinct to futher the survival of the species as a whole... so would we have naturally created order regardless of the existence of organized religion?

Speaking of organized religion, I hate it. A lot. I think there would be a lot more peace in the world if we didn't have to label our beliefs and pick a side. I mean, sure, organized religion does give people a sense of community in which you can meet people who believe the same thing, and if it ended there, that would be great, but it doesn't and it never has. The religious group is never big enough and what happens is that people try to force their beliefs onto you (like Chris) and when that gets out of hand, you get things like the crusades and other religious cullings and wars or people visiting your doorstep every friggin Sunday morning. Another thing about organized religion is that there are so many people who claim to be a part of a specific religion and yet are ignorant as hell about it; it's like they're a part of it because they think it's trendy or something. That really pisses me off because, I think, it's just plain disrespect to the other people who believe it, are devout, and actually take the time to learn about why and what they believe in.

I think I'm going to stop here. I have a crapton more to say, but my mind is just too jumbled (and I guess, emotional?) right now for me to write anything coherent.

So what do you think? Is religion good or bad?


tokki287 said...

There are definitely good and bad aspects to religion. Good: it can open your eyes to a different kind of world. Bad: it can narrow your vision to just that one world.

I never really went to church. I used to go with my parents when I was younger, probably until I was about 5. And I started going again this summer after I got back from school. And that whole period in between, when people used to ask me what my religion was, I would tell them I was Christian. That's what my parents are... kinda. And that's what I always thought I was...

Going to church, I learned to a greater depth a lot of things I had heard and known a little bit about before. And I realized I didn't really believe in any of it. It became more of an educational thing. Just learning about it. Curiosity, maybe.
But I still tried to understand. Maybe there was something I was missing, and I continued to go every Sunday.

But last Sunday, the service really just frustrated me. It made me realize how narrow-minded things like this can get. (Narrow-minded from my point of view, anyway. I'm sure that to others, I'm the one with tunnel vision.) Rather than giving me hope, it made me cynical. The service was about something a friend had told me years ago when I was younger, and even then, it upset me. I guess I was hoping it was something she just believed then in her young naivete, but it wasn't. It's real.

So what do I believe in? ...I'm not really sure. There are a lot of things I wonder about, and fantasize about...things I would like to believe in...

Icy Roses said...

Everything you say makes sense. I think organized religion is the main cause for most conflict in this world.

I like hanging out with non-religious people because they are not pushy about their views and basically, what you think is your own business. I've met a lot of Christians who feel like they constantly need to preach to you and that's messed up. Everyone has the right to believe what they want.

At the same time, I can't say religion is bad because for my whole life, I have been a firm Christian. Honestly, there hasn't ever been a moment of doubt in my mind that God exists and He is watching me. He has gotten me through a lot. I was a religious nut all on my own ever since I knew how to read. I'd read the Bible at the age of eight and pray in the mornings, even when my parents didn't take me to church. I even remember the first conscious moment when it dawned on me that God was real. It was in the parking lot of Walmart's and the sun was setting. I think I was seven. I remember feeling that he was just all around me and that he was protecting me. There was the wonder that he had created the whole world, even the asphalt in the parking lot and the new saplings on the mulch islands.

That sounds totally crazy, but ever since then, I've always been Christian. It has nothing to do with what my parents have told me or what the church has preached. My religion is basically that God exists and that he loves everyone.

But I don't usually talk about it with people because a) they will think I am crazy that I had a religious experience in a Walmart's parking lot when I was barely old enough to read and b) I don't like getting all up in other people's religious business. But see, now your post makes me all rambly and nostalgic, haha.

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