If you are expecting me to start telling you just exactly how I have lived according to a supreme being’s will or that without my faith in a religion I wouldn’t be where I am, you might want to look elsewhere. If you are offended by free-thinking, this probably isn’t the post for you. Am I a Christian-hating atheist? No. Does certain aspects of organized religion get me fired up? You bet. I think there are parts of organized religion that are absolutely absurd, but I also love to learn about everyone’s beliefs and try to understand them.
I grew up in a semi-religious home. Everyone claimed to be a Christian, but no one seemed to be doing anything about it. My aunt and uncle were devout Pentecostals at the time. I spent a lot of time with them. I began to find a sense of belonging when I went to church with them and found myself at the age of 12 being baptized as a United Pentecostal. I was happy to be in church with my cousins and sister and thought I had it all figured out.
At some point, my sister decided to get her hair cut. For those of you that don’t know, this is something that is very frowned upon in the Pentecostal world. You aren’t supposed to cut your hair or wear pants because these things mean that you are trying to “look like a man”. Her decision to cut her hair was an innocent enough decision, but when she went to church that Sunday, the way she was treated was anything but innocent. She was ridiculed. She was told just how much of a sinner she was. And I was done.
That is the problem I have with organized religion. From the outside looking in, it is supposed to be all-accepting, loving and welcoming. When you get on the inside, you realized that isn’t the case at all. These are some of the most judgmental people in the world. They are some of the most stubborn people in the world. They think, “You can either see it my way, and follow MY God or you are WRONG.” There is no in between. There is no room for question and they call it FAITH.
The truth is, most religions don’t really follow what their perspective teachers tried to teach them. One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is from K-PAX, “Prot: Let me tell you something, Mark. You humans, most of you, subscribe to this policy of an eye for an eye, a life for a life, which is known throughout the universe for its… stupidity. Even your Buddha and your Christ had quite a different vision, but nobody’s paid much attention to them, not even the Buddhists or the Christians. You humans. Sometimes its hard to imagine how you’ve made it this far.” I agree. It’s hard to believe sometimes we have made it this far with so much hatred in our hearts.
As the years went on, I’ve become more and more attached to scientific theory and law. I’ve learned so many things that make me realize that some of the things they want you to believe in religion just can’t possibly be true. I’ve learned the the Earth is far too complex to have been created and the list goes on and on. I’ve also learned that most religions, especially Christianity, like to try to deny science. To me, denying evolution is like denying the fact that we need oxygen to breath or that blood runs through our veins. I guess I just don’t have enough FAITH. Faith to see that everything scientist has proven over thousands of years is WRONG and a book written by a bunch of groupies is true.
Oh, but then I get asked “What if you’re wrong?”. I’m okay with that. Really, I am. I live a good life. I fight the good fight. I believe that THIS life is the one that I’m fighting for, not the one I might be rewarded with after this one. To me, if you are living this life in hopes of making it inside those pearly gates, it’s a waste. You aren’t really doing any good. It’s a lie. It’s a facade. I may be blasphemous, but I do good now because I WANT to be a good person, not because of some carrot someone is dangling in front of me. If that ends up landing me a seat in the fiery pits of hell, then I guess so be it. However, if there is any small chance that when I die, that’s it, that there is NOTHING, I’d rather leave this world knowing that I did good and I was good and it wasn’t all a waste. I just can’t believe this is all just a dress rehearsal. That to me is more scarier than any thought of hell.