Religion

I recently read a story here that stirred a lot of things from my past. I have led a long battle with religion and religious people. I have nothing against religious people as long as they don't try to shove it down my throat. Especially with lines like "you will go to Hell if you don't". **** you! You are the one who's judgemental and oh so convinced of your righteousness. You are the one trying to demonstrate what a saint you are, but secretly being, feeling and acting like a human, with all the flaws and sins that come with it...

My mom comes from a family of religious people. They live in a small village, and all the community there knows about all the others, and everybody tries so damn hard to convince everybody else that they're the most deserving people... But it's just a masquerade. Behind closed doors they judge and gossip and hate everyone. They go to their church and sing their hymns in high voice, so that everybody can hear what great believers they are, but then they get home and start slamming the others for trivial stuff like the way they dress and other insignificant ****. And they're so convinced they are right! About everything and everyone. And if someone upsets them, they will automatically go to Hell, like if God did really exist he would be there only to fulfill their personal vendettas....

My mom went to highschool in the nearest town to her village. At 19 she was raped. She went home for comfort and support and what she got was public humiliation in her church and being kicked out. They didn't allow her to go there anymore, because she was unpure. Her father denied being her father anymore. In the middle of the church! Is that what makes a saint? Is that what will take him to Heaven? My mom had no choice but to leave home. She was an outcast. But years later, they had the nerve to tell me to my face she would go to Hell because she left God. Really? You kick her out and it's still HER fault? Where's the forgiveness? Where's the kindness? Where are all those uplifting feelings and actions God encourages you to have and do?

My mom hurt all her life because of this. I think she missed God all the time. She kept going to church (though of a different religion), but she always spoke with a strange melancholy of their church. They make me sick. My mom is a better person than all of them put together, but they made her believe all of their crap. She tried to convince me to go to church too. I did, for a few years, while I was too young to question anything. I stopped once I had a mind of my own. I know I hurt her with this, but I will not masquerade. I will not pretend to believe just so she doesn't get upset.

For the rest of it, I don't think I everĀ really believed. I see how religion could help people, because belief in a higher being would absolve you of mistakes (IT did this to you, not you), would give your life a purpose, meaning, not just the randomness of events it really is. But to tell me that you are suffering because God loves you (therefore is tesing you), well that is plain dumb.

I had a talk one day with a colleague of mine who is also a believer. She asked me "why behave well if you don't believe in Hell?". Ummm, maybe because I have morals? This made me wonder how many people would lose their morals if they didn't fear punishment... I cringe at the thought...

Anyway, I think my main point is that everybody has a right to believe or not believe in what they want. But the fact that I don't believe and don't make the cross sign when I pass by a church and don't donate to the church, that does not make me a bad person. It also does not change who I am. I am the way I am not because of a higher being, but because of genetics, learning and events past. I am the way I am because my mom loved me and my father didn't. I am the way I am because I had to struggle through a poor childhood and even poorer adolescence. I am the way I am because I had the fortune of meeting wonderful people along the way. Not because I don't believe.
Mapping Mapping
26-30, F
3 Responses May 30, 2013

That's horrible and my heart goes out to your mother. Religion does seem to come with a lot of hypocrisy.... I do believe in God, yet I don't consider myself "religious" nor do I attend church and it's mainly for that reason. Best wishes to you and your mom. xoxo

Thanks :)

Wow. Well written story M!

This kind of story certainly would lead most reasonable people to form an opinion similar to your own regarding religion. That is an awful story about your Mom. It literally almost makes me cry thinking about a girl looking to her Father after a horrific occurrence like being raped and being ostracized by him. As a Father myself I'd just look at him and throat punch the asshat!

Thanks for sharing.

I think I'd enjoy that throat punch... :)) Unfortunately, many victims of abuse are often blamed for it. For a great while I admired my mom for being able to forgive them when I couldn't. I never did, though the wrong was not directly inflicted on me. Now, after having battled the same demons, I don't really trust she has forgiven them, because she never faced things. I think she's trying to take a shortcut, but it's all burried somewhere deep within her, because she had no other method to deal at the time. I just hope it never comes out, because after so many years of avoidance I think the consequences would be desastruous...

But yeah, someone needs to punch the sons of b*thces who blame the victim instead of the perp... Maybe that would break this chain of guilt that holds back victims from healing.

I'd like to apologize up ahead, but I felt like commenting on the many points throughout your story from my own perspective. I'm sorry if you might find it boring.

"They live in a small village, and all the community there knows about all the others, and everybody tries so damn hard to convince everybody else that they're the most deserving people." - Oh, then you have to read "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" by Mark Twain! (I'd underline it twice, but I don't have the option here to do so. Since the author is Twain, you can pretty much guess what he was up to when he wrote that story :DD)

"Where's the forgiveness? Where's the kindness? Where are all those uplifting feelings and actions God encourages you to have and do?" - the same place it's always been. But it's like I said many times, fanatics are the worst kind of believers. They will happily trample everything their religion stands for just to uphold their beliefs. That's not even an oxymoron, it bloody hypocrisy.

"I see how religion could help people, because belief in a higher being would absolve you of mistakes." - I'm not sure I can agree with this in general, at lest based on my personal experiences. For me it was the opposite - it made me face responsibility. Also, I think that too many people keep believing that Jesus will charge down form the heaven in a flaming chariot and and army of angels at his side to fix all our collective screw-ups. They would rather sit at home and pray to God to solve their problems, than put their backs into it and solve the problem themselves. After over eight years as a christian, I can tell you, this isn't how things work. Prayers were always a means of asking for help, rather than asking for a mystic intervention to do your work for you. Maybe it is all just rooted in psychology, but it does help.

"But to tell me that you are suffering because God loves you (therefore is testing you), well that is plain dumb." Agreed. I think that's one of those things that got left over from the dark ages.

"Why behave well if you don't believe in Hell?" - epically stupid statement on her part, if you ask me. Although my first answer here would have been pride and then morals, but hey - no one's perfect.

"This made me wonder how many people would lose their morals if they didn't fear punishment." - This actually reminds me of one of the lessons of my religion teacher from middle-school. He'd say that there are three kinds of believers: those who fear God (fear hell), those that want to profit from God (want heaven), and those who believe in God because of love. "If you can, be one of those who believe because of love", he said to us.

In the end, you are absolutely right. We are shaped by the events that fill our lives, or, as a very cool quote puts it: "What is a man but the sum of his memories? We are the stories we live! The tales we tell ourselves!"(Clay Kaczmarek, Assassin's Creed: Revelations)

I really hate it when so many people go around telling other people how to live, how to think and how to feel... ugh. They spit on that same cross that they parade everywhere they go. And it's not just in Christianity, every religion has them (except Buddhism I think, though there are no Buddhists where I live and I know next to nothing about the religion itself, so I might just be deluding myself). So when I meet people who had experiences with these extremists, I feel partially responsible and have the need to say something to show that those experiences are not the norm. I'm really sorry I bored you with something this long, but I thought I should say something at lest.

You didn't bore me in the least. I respect your opinions and beliefs and am glad you shared them with me :)

I didn't meet the type of people you mentioned - the ones who "use" God -, but I wouldn't want to anyway :) Sounds a bit cocky to me, to think that a higher existence is there just to do your work...

Your religion teacher sounds nice. I wish I had an open teacher myself, to discuss with him and get some answers when I needed them... I had a priest as a teacher in school, and all he would tell me is to stop questioning and just start believing. Never could...

I know a few Buddhists and they really tend to practice what they preach. And what's most wonderful about them is that they don't try to convince you of anything. They will listen, talk to you, but they will never tell you "no, I'm right and you're wrong".

He was one of the coolest teachers in that school. And he never preached. Instead, he'd explain and discuss whatever topic we'd like to talk about (when it comes to Christianity, of course) and whenever he gave us examples, he always used his own personal experiences, and not some dusty scripture from the Bible.