Leaving Religion – MOVED – www.leavingreligion.com

Finding my own way…

Religion… Ridiculous… Religulous!

I know this movie has now been out for awhile, but I must write about it.  I saw it a few months ago, and seriously… it is not only funny, but thought provoking, and for me, at times, emotional.  Mainly emotional when he spoke to those in the Christian religion… why?  Becuase I used to be one of them, and I remember sounding just as crazy and out there as the people in this movie.  I. really. believed.  I would have said the same things the people in the movie say had I been confronted by Bill Maher when I was kneed deep in it.

Have any of you seen this movie?  Curious what your thoughts are

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June 4, 2009 Posted by | Fun, Leaving Religion | , | 2 Comments

Want Gossip? Join a Prayer Chain…

Ahhh… tabloids.  Will John and Kate get divorced?  Will Britney fall apart?  Will Brad and Angelina make it?  Honestly, I don’t care, but it doesn’t mean I don’t check my People.com widget on my Google home page.

At church, there aren’t tabloids… but everyone knows how to hear the latest gossip.  Join a prayer chain, small group, choir… really… anything that forces people to have prayer requests.  This is the best gossip hour of the week for most people who attend churches.  You hear all kinds of things…

  • Pray for my marriage which is on the rocks right now
  • Pray for my neighbor who is having an affair and doesn’t know what to do
  • Pray for Susie’s son who is addicted to crack
  • Pray for John’s daughter who is 15 and pregnant
  • Pray for… *insert private, should not be shared with random people, information here*

Unbelievable the things that one can learn in ‘prayer circle.’  My favorite is that even when people are vague, everyone knows who they are talking about.  Or even worse, they don’t, but they think they do.  The other thing that I detest, is that people basically talk about other people (and tell some of their deep secrets) without the permission of this person.  But, it’s all in the name of prayer, so I guess it’s okay.

Personally, I’ve found that getting off my ass and doing something about whatever it is that I’m having issues with, generally has done more for me than sitting back and praying about it.  I’ve also found that giving my brain time to focus (mainly a silent moment to just think) generally gives me more clarity than any prayer time did… especially prayer done with 20 other people who really are just excited to hear about all of the problems in other peoples lives.  You know what else, I’ve found I’m a lot happier too.  You know why?  Because I’m no longer surrounding myself with ‘downer’ people who don’t seem to know how to actually DO anything more than whine when they have a problem.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Leaving Religion, Sharing | , | 1 Comment

The Only Way? Really?

Ask any devout Christian if their way is the only way, and you will get a resounding, ‘yes!’  I used to say this.  Back when I was narcissistic enough to think that I had found the only way for a person to get to heaven.  The. only. way.  Today, that sounds so selfish and so uneducated, and so… well… so ridiculous.

The world has so many different belief structures, Christianity alone has hundreds, how can one possibly believe that their form of Christianity is the ONLY way?  This was one of the first questions I asked and truly let myself investigate.  It was this investigation that led me to believe that there is not one way, and in fact, there may be no way at all.

The more I studied and talked to people, the more I became convinced that I had been wrong all these years.  That I had been obnoxious and had not even given others the chance to explain their view.  It was all a bit overwhelming, and I felt a strong urge to send an apology to every person I had ever been obnoxious with.

I recently attended a lecture by a top astronomer and physicist in the world.  This lecture only re-enforced the conclusions I had come to.  Not that I really needed this re-enforcement, but it is always good to get it.  I always loved Physics and Astronomy and Biology.  Back in the day, I used to say that all of the vastness and complexity proved God exists.  Now, I say the exact opposite.  Now I say that it proves that the universe is so vast, that it is impossible for me to believe that there is only one way (or any way) to do ANYTHING.  I now point to the universe, and all that we are constantly learning about it, as absolute proof that there is a lot we don’t know.  That I don’t know what I don’t know.

I love that feeling… not knowing.  I used to hate it.  My Christian beliefs allowed me to hide from not knowing.  But now, I embrace it, and have fun with it.  Not knowing… and admitting it, has opened up my mind in so many good ways.  It is thrilling.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Leaving Religion, science | , | 5 Comments

National Day Of Prayer – Didn’t Feel It

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I didn’t pray to the ceiling today… and didn’t feel any difference in the world today. In fact, the main headline today using the search term, “Christian News” is about the killing of a doctor who performed abortions… while. at. church. Go figure… a Christian murdering an innocent person on the national day of prayer.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Religious Right | 1 Comment

The Guilt… my god… the guilt!

During my high school years, and even early college, I hung on to my religion and church tightly. I did everything they asked of me and more. I was the poster child for what a person should do to gain entry into heaven, and more importantly, gain acceptance by church going peers. I could not be in the building too much, couldn’t be singing loud enough or evangelizing enough. As I went off to college, I found a group very quickly. Then, as years passed and I became more aware of my true feelings, I came to the realization that much, if not all, of my deeds were to keep me going. To not allow one single moment of actual introspection. To not allow myself to think what I really thought. For if I did, even for a second, I would be overcome with so much guilt it would practically suffocate me.

Guilt is perhaps one of the worst feelings I’ve had. I put it right up there with grief, and believe me, I’ve felt both as strongly as a person can feel them. Guilt will ruin your body and your mind faster than any nonsensical diet. It will mess with emotions you never knew you had, and will cling to you like the darkness clings to other side of the moon. It will not let go. It will not stop at anything. It has taken me 13 years to get to where I am, able to think and feel things without feeling paralyzed by guilt. Fear of hell, fear that I will never fit in or be loved. My husband plays a very large part in this recovery, and I owe him my life for it. While I had been letting go of my belief structure years before I met him… it wasn’t until I met someone I trusted deeply, that I was able to let myself truly separate from my religious beliefs completely. Let myself feel the guilt, deal with the guilt and let go of the guilt.

Now, I am not completely cured (I really do compare having this type of guilt to that of being an addict… guilt is addicting and plays a significant role in religion). I may never be completely cured. But, I am now at a place where I recognize it, deal with it head on when it strikes, and I beat it instead of it beating me. It is a great place to be, and I feel lighter than I ever have. It is a strange feeling to just… not… believe. Not… have… guilt… all… the… time. And by strange, I mean great!

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Identity, Leaving Religion | 3 Comments

Abusing Trust

I became part of an interesting comment chain over on The Preacher and the Skeptic. Here is the statement that got my attention:

“…you need to first develop a trusting relationship with them. Then, you need to help them to realize that their world view is really wrong.”

I of course could not stay silent on a comment like that. I came back with a response that basically stated this a reason that I personally left the church and Christianity behind. One of many, of course, but this is a big one.

The fact is, I went on mission trips in high school, I evangelized, I spread the word. You know what… I also did it through gaining trust, and just when I would get that trust… *wham*, I’d knock people over the head with all that was wrong with their life and would tell them that they absolutely needed Jesus to overcome all that ‘wrong’. I would scare them to God, would tell them they were going to hell for eternity if they didn’t change their ways. I’m not proud of this, and wish with everything in my being that I could go back and change it. But I can’t.

It is sickening to me that others would use a persons basic need for something (housing, food, clothing, etc.) to gain their trust and then tell them why their lives are horrible and their views are wrong. I wonder if people from the church would do all of these ‘good works’ if there were no opportunity to spread the ‘good news.’ I wonder.

As I said on the blog comments, I now do good things, because it is the right thing to do. Period.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Green Day Says NO to Censorship

Thank god that someone (Green Day) is standing up to Walmart and their ridiculous policies against content they don’t like. Many bands re-cut their music for Walmart because they won’t carry music with fowl language or lude content (as defined by Walmart!). Why won’t Walmart carry this?? Because they cater to the ‘family friendly’ crowd, and religious right. They don’t want to lose these customers, so they won’t carry content that is considered objectionable by these groups.

Wonder if they carry the Bible? I bet they do. Wonder if they’ve ever read it and discovered there is content in there that is more lude and crude than many of the CD’s they are banning.

I say, hooray for Green Day! They are #1 on the charts, and I’m sure this ‘negative’ PR didn’t hurt them ONE BIT. I’d also be willing to bet that it DID help other retail and online outlets.

May 24, 2009 Posted by | Religious Right | Leave a comment

Felt Jesus

I loved felt Jesus when I was growing up. I’d go to Sunday school, and the nice lady would put beautiful and clean felt Jesus on the felt board. He looked so nice and innocent… like he just wanted to be my friend. She told us that he loved us and would save us from our sins and give us a personal relationship with God. It all sounded pretty good to me.

I did wonder how I’d become so bad that I needed saving, but figured I’d gotten in trouble with my parents, so maybe that was bad enough. You know, felt Jesus left my world when I got a little older, and with that, he became a lot harder to figure out. He was no longer this nice easy felt piece sitting in front of me. He was now a more imaginary figure and didn’t make so much sense to me. I didn’t know how to talk to him, didn’t know how to hear him, and wasn’t sure what would happen to me if I couldn’t figure these two things out.

I did everything I knew to do to get in touch with Jesus. I read the Bible, went to Bible Study, went to Youth Group, went to Camp, sang songs, made good friends, memorized versus… you name it, I did it. I still wasn’t sure how everyone around me was hearing Jesus, when all I could hear was static. I finally started faking it by diving in as far as I could. Evangelizing, reading devotionals, becoming a Bible Study leader. For a brief time I did think I was finally hearing Jesus tell me what to do. Turns out, it was just my own voice… I believe my sub-conscious got sick of trying to hear Jesus, so it just became Jesus for me.

Finally, I gave up trying to hear Jesus. Then I realized, all that time, all that conviction, all that anger towards the ‘secular world’, all the feelings I’d had… we’re false. We’re just me trying to make it happen. Were just my subconscious and ego getting the best of me. In my mid 20’s, I left it… but it hasn’t been until now… in my mid 30’s that I’ve really let myself let go entirely. Let myself be honest about the fact that I don’t believe in the Christianity I grew up with. That’s not the easiest thing to do… but once I did, I felt lighter. No more fighting that internal battle that would not end.

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Growing Up, Leaving Religion | , , | 4 Comments

When State and Church Collide

I find it extremely funny (and I don’t mean ‘ha ha’ funny) that the Catholic Church, one of the many churches who would love to see a LAW, in our STATE (by state, I mean U.S.), that would make abortion illegal… is now upset by a member of the STATE (i.e. Obama) coming onto their turf to speak. To speak about many things, which included a statement about abortion. A statement that I found to be quite tame, actually.

So, Catholic (and any other) Church… how does it feel when the tables are turned. I like to see that you are for separation of Church and State. Too bad you’re only for it when you feel like the State is trying to over step its bounds.

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Digital After Life?

Interesting article today on CNN, that asks the question, “What happens to our digital life when we die?”

Check out the article here.

While our physical life ends when we die, our digital life doesn’t. We leave behind a trail of digital fingerprints, and have accounts that are integrated into a world that stays very much alive. Do you have a plan for your digital afterlife? Is it in your will? Are most if not all of your digital accounts known by one or two people?

Me, personally, I have told my husband my accounts and passwords. I should probably write them down somewhere in case he forgets. I guess if I owned a domain that was worth more than $9.99 I would add it to my will. Other than these two things, I really have no plan for my digital afterlife. Perhaps I should give it more thought!

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment