On Religion

First and foremost, I want to assure you that I am not going to dedicate this whole page to talking about the new shoes (though I am in some sort of a Nirvana-like shoe state ever since the purchase of those little suckers), so you can read on with confidence, in what I got no idea.

• Flux, over there at BlackChampagne had a bit of an email tiff with the guy who does the movie reviews over at The CAP Alert website (Christian Movie Reviews…That is, reviews of new movies from a strictly biblical point of view; What sins are committed and the such). For my purposes here, I will say that the email exchange was often humorous (as it was displayed right in the blog on Flux’s site for all the world to see), mostly so when viewed from a distance, as a sort of study into the mind of the extremely zealous, religious nut-case (not Flux, but the Cap Alert guy).

Something about what the religious nut-case said in one (well all) of the emails prompted me to email Flux with my two cents. It turns out that there were a couple of people other than me that were also following the saga, probably in almost stupified confusion (I know I was) at what the Cap guy was saying. Flux actually set up a separate page just to host the email conversation with the guy and the resulting feedback. That page can be seen Here.

One of the feedbacks was talking about something called “cognitive dissonance”, a term that I had never heard of. I don’t truly understand that term, or the implications of it, well enough to argue about it. Just a quick break down of how I see it:

1) You have a very strong belief in something, could be anything.
2) You are offered undeniable proof that your belief is wrong.
3) You believe even more in that something, laying all facts aside.

Now, it seems to me that this is exactly what religion has been doing for thousands of years. I remember a story in the bible where a bunch of people were trying to build a staircase to God (which I think is the bible trying to explain away things like the pyramids and any other large structure that pre-dates christianity). God then made it so that all of the workers spoke different languages so that they couldn’t communicate. God didn’t want mortals to be able to reach the heavens (best described in the bible as clouds). Fast-forward that story a couple of thousand years, then note that we have space travel. Now, Heaven is no longer in the clouds, or in space, maybe mortals can’t even see it when they go by, I dunno. If it was true that you could build something tall enough to reach Heaven, wouldn’t that mean that Heaven was a tangible place? The bible said it was, oh, but, wait, there is that “cognitive dissonance”.

Religion, in and of itself, doesn’t make any sense at all. There have been hundreds of ‘known religions’, likely thousands that were practiced but not known to us today. Once no one really practices them any more they turn into Mythology. I just wonder why we wait until there are no more practioners of said religion before calling it a myth. Doesn’t crap equal crap regardless of the defenders of the one pile?

You may have noticed that I am a bit bitter towards religion. I think that is a pretty justified position to take, given my upbringing. My parents were not all that religious (technically, the only time I ever heard the word GOD when I was young was when dad was yelling at whatever he was trying to fix; It was generally followed by either ‘Damn’ or a string of obscenities that I am not going to list here). While my parents were not religious, I (and my brothers) were forced to go to church every Sunday. As a grown man, I think that maybe they were looking for a bit of time alone, but who knows. I did my best to listen to the guy yelling all of the bible verses, I did sing when necessary, I put a quarter in the collection dish every Sunday(I was like 6), I did the religion thing.

I went to ‘Vacation Bible School’, I went to a Wednesday Night program (called AWANA), I did all that I could to excel at this endeavor. My second year at “Vacation Bible School” was the first time that i actually walked down between the pews, kneeled down, and asked God to save my soul. I was in tears as I did that, I am still not sure if they were tears of joy or tears of fear or pain, I just know that I did it. I really, truly, wanted to be the best little christian that I could be…

Shortly after my parents divorced, at which point I was either 7 or 8, I was given a bible, from a woman, at a church that my mother was taking us to. I think that this was the first bible that was ever truly mine. It was a pretty bible too, it was white on the outside and put a lot of the verses in red on the inside. When I asked the woman who had given it to me why some of the verses were in red, she said that they were many of the verses that are cited during your average Sermon. That, of course, intrigued me.

I began to read the book just wondering why the passages that they ( the preachers ) quoted were so few and far between. Within about an hour I knew exactly why there were only a few of the passages in red; There are only a few passages that the Preacher ever wants you to see. It took me a couple of weeks, and I didn’t understand some of it, but, I read the bible, cover to cover. The Bible (at least the King James version of it) is rife with adultery, murder & incest. Were it not for the fact that religions are basing their lives on the damn thing, it might be on the best-seller list as just one hell of a novel.

Even after that epiphany, it took me almost four years before I just gave up and said that all religion is bullshit. I can not cite a single incident that led to this, there had been overwhelming scientific evidence for years, I had avoided it. There was some point where I just thought, okay, enough. It is all crap, life is not being governed by some higher power. If it is, I am certainly gonna be screwed for putting the fingers to the keyboard to write this.

The issue of “cognitive dissonance”, it seems, really does exist. It kept me from giving up on religion for a very long time. Now that I am free of the religious pull, I wonder how I ever got suckered into that garbage. Of course I was a child of parents who were sending me to church so that they could have some nooky time. Had my parent’s actually been religious, I might be writing this from the other side of the fence.

• The strange thing is that I do believe in Karma (to an extent). If you wrong someone, that wrong will come back to you. I don’t think that that implies a religion though. That is something that I keep in mind when I deal with people who are really irritating me (though they may not know it). If you treat your peers the way that you would want them to treat you, this would not be an issue. Unfortunately, the christian community is too involved in what everyone else is doing wrong to find fault in their own actions. Oh, to be so blissfull and naive…

Wrongs have a way of Righting themselves.

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  1. Pingback: The word of God? Not so much

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