As with everyday since I have started my blogging life, I wake up, filled with hundreds of ideas that I want to immediately spill onto my computer screen. This morning is a bit different though……I awoke feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck; and after a dose of advil, gravol , some gastrolyte and a quick tidy of the house, I collapsed in a heap on my couch. I started a few topics, but because of the state of my physical body today, not much progress was made on any front. I slammed my laptop shut in frustration, I laid on the couch praying to God for some coherent inspiration, truth be told, I prayed that I survive the next 24 hours. Then it hit me…….God!! Ok, let`s expand that initial thought….more to the point religion.
Religion is a very powerful, personal and heated topic. You want to start an argument faster than locking two siblings in the same room, talk religion. One quick glance at the state of the world today, proves my point. I would like to preface this by saying this is not me speaking as an authority on this topic, I am not an authority on anything. This is not a condemnation of any one religion, or believers of any religion, this is only my experience with religion and my views on it…..This is a very emotionally charged topic….please do not be judgemental, I will repeat again, this is only my view, from my life experience.
I was brought up in an Anglican household, I was baptised, my mother taught Sunday school, I attended church on a weekly basis, went to Sunday school, sang in the Church choir, received Sunday school awards (for what I am not sure), was confirmed…you know the things you did when you were a child growing up in 1970. There was no overwhelming drive to attend church, it was just something everyone did, it was one of the socially expected things to do, that and drinking an aforementioned scotch in the car on your way home from having your soul saved for the next week.
A year after my father had passed away, I was in the car with two of my mother’s “church lady” friends. As my mum, popped into the grocery store, I was accosted by the women (whom I am sure in their minds were doing the right thing), as to how I had to give myself over to God, moreover conform to and embrace _________ church, if I ever wanted to have a “meaningful” life. Remember, I was ten years old, and these were adults, so I will take back that comment about doing the right thing, what they were doing was reprehensible. They even went so far as to say that because of my absence from the church (with a father in and out of ICU for 3 years, that Sunday ritual was at times hard to keep), that somehow my mother and I had contributed to my father`s death….I really needed to come back to God, more specifically, we needed to come back to the church. Recruiting 101 at it’s finest!!! Upon dropping these women off, I broke into tears, and confided in my mum what had just transpired. I am not sure what happened after my mother and I returned home, as I was told to go to my room…. but phone calls were made, there was a lot of yelling, and the “church ladies” were never seen again. Religion 0.
I continued attending church until I was in my teen years, when my rebellious teenage mind started questioning things……things a “good” Christian would never do……ok…..enough religion for me. If you, good Reverend, do not have the common courtesy to answer my questions honestly and frankly, then I do not have time for the sermons that you expect me to digest lock, stock and barrel. Respect is a two way street, and the Reverend of our church was not a big believer of respecting his flock…….exit religion.
I struggled with religion over the years, yes, no, maybe……you name the month or year, I may have been a believer, or maybe not…..I was not comfortable with the idea of religion. It was only after my struggles, my marriage and the birth of my first child that religion really entered into my life again. In retrospect, I have always had faith….if I did not, you would not be reading this post today, and yes, I believe you can have faith without following religion….and that is all I will say regarding my beliefs.
During my life, I have found myself surrounded by very religious individuals, brilliantly independent, witty, wonderful people, I have found myself surrounded by Atheists, just as independent, witty, and wonderful as the above aforementioned, and I have found surrounded by people who couldn’t care either way…..once again independent, witty, and wonderful. Point, religion or not, we all share the good and bad attributes of human behaviour. Religion doesn’t make you any more inspirational nor reprehensible than anyone else.
There came a point in my life, that I believed that God was introducing all these characters into the story of my life to bring me back to him, I tried embracing religion again, but at an older age, was even more disappointed in what religion had evolved into, than when I was as a child.
I found that religion in the 21st century, is “my way or the highway”….if you do not buy into, 100% what whatever particular religion you are practising, you become an outsider very quickly. You are looked upon as the lost sheep that needs to be saved. I found myself questioning, what did I need to be saved from? The answer became quickly evident……religion!
Over the past 3 years, I have engrossed myself in studying various religions, what their belief systems, or doctrine are…..and what I have found, should not have surprised me…..every religion is based on God and his teachings, and every religion believes that any other religion is wrong! Oh how sweet!!!!
One need only look at what starts war…..perpetrates hatred and bigotry, opresses certain segments of a population or community, celebrates elitism, demeans women, the list goes on and on……..RELIGION!!!
We are told that if we don’t follow whichever religion you choose to follow, you will go to hell, a place of fire and brimstone. Now here is my thought on Hell…..we are living it! Stop laughing, and think about this. No one ever states exactly where Hell is…there are some powerful adjectives describing it, but no location that you could find on your GPS. Hell sounds like a terrible place, wounded and tortured souls crying out….wait……turn on your news tonight….you will see it. People taking the lives of others, war, famine, poverty, blatant hatred towards our fellow human being for being different….yes folks, we are living in hell. Until we all get over this notion that our religion usurps every other out there and get over ourselves….we will continue to live in hell. Oh God, I love your juxtaposition with Hell, brilliant! No need to worry about the four horsemen of the Apocolypse, the religions are taking care of that one. Keep quibbling about superiority as society degrades in front of our own eyes…Thank you Religion!!!
I have spent much time contemplating why all these wonderful, colour characters had been brought into my life, if it was not to bring myself back to God, (gosh, how I hate that phrase.), what did it all mean? I finally realized that it was God telling me to learn, learn as much as I could, process, then learn some more. He was telling me to become a more tolerant accepting person. God knows my life plan, he knows I am a transient person with a transient family, he knows I must be flexible when it comes to living my life……”GO LEARN”……I have learned…..I have learned more tolerance, more acceptance of people, and the things we can not change, more love (not just of people who are of the same mindset as me, but everyone), and most of all I have learned to never stop peeling back the layers to learn more.
I will continue my readings on religion, as I find them fascinating…as far as me ever finding religion again, I will take a pass on that one thank you, I am a much happier individual without it.