Thursday, November 15, 2007

Losing My Religion

Sitting on BART this morning, I read this great article, which got me thinking about religion and, more specifically, my relationship with religion.

Growing up, I went to Sunday school in Baptist churches, learned all the books of the bible, and took the lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior about half a dozen times (they kept asking me if I had and I could never remember--I figured I was better safe than sorry). I still don't know why I went to Baptist churches since my father is Catholic and my mother was...I don't really know what she was then. But I went to church and really liked it. Not so much for the religious aspects, but because it was fun to hang out with my friends and do crafts and hear stories (the same is probably true for most kids in Sunday school). Eventually, I got older and stopped going when it no longer fit into my schedule of whatever it was I did in junior high (probably hair-spraying my bangs and wearing too much blue eyeshadow--these things are very time-consuming for a thirteen-year-old).

Sometime after I started high school, my mother became deeply involved with a Religious Science church. I attended that, too, but mostly to spend time with my mother. And I don't remember much about the church's philosophy, but I do remember it being a place with very positive energy and full of very positive people. [Edited: I read the Wikipedia article I've linked to and have to say that I'm down with their philosophy. I do actually believe that positive thinking leads to clarity of thought, which in turn leads to better decision-making and, thus, a better, happier life.]

It wasn't until after I started college that I really thought about what I believed and decided I was an atheist. Most atheists I know identify as such either out of a rebellion against a religion forced upon them or to stand opposed to religion itself. I don't really do either. As you can see, I had a pretty relaxed relationship with religion growing up. And I've seen the wonderful things religion can do for some people. I've just never been able to reconcile the idea that organized religion was developed by the same people who thought the world was flat and that bloodletting was the best treatment for every ailment from a headache to an appendicitis. And I'm supposed to trust them on this?


At 1:36 PM , Blogger Jessica M said...

The Jesus freaks scream and yell outside my gym, and the most recent one had a sign that said, "God throws the sin and the sinner into hell." The other side said, "Jesus is love." Is this multiple choice?

One of my problems with religion is that all of them are so profoundly self-contradicting. To say they are all based on peace, as Jon Carroll claims, is to ignore a huge portion of every religion I know about: Allah or the sword. Thou shalt have no gods before me. Even the Buddhists create hierarchical temples with holier-than-thou power trips.

So if you have to pick and choose the parts that don't suck, why not just opt out?


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