Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Why Do You Hate Religion So Much?"

My posts about the unconstitutional encroachment of religion on college campuses prompted one of my readers to write in asking: "Why do you hate religion so much? Granted, there are many religious fanatics who pervert the true teachings of various religions. But religion can be a force for good and this is a truth that even an atheist or an agnostic such as yourself has to acknowledge."

Well, dear reader, actually, I am neither atheist nor agnostic. I am a religious person, a believer. I dislike talking about it because this is a profoundly intimate issue, which, I feel, is profanated daily by showy public exhibitions from all kinds of fundamentalists. My deep religious feelings are the reason why the insistent, loud screeching of religious fanatics and their attempts to push their religion on everybody else pain me so much. It is almost physically painful to observe how so many people use religion to achieve their unconscionable political goals, oppress others, and foster their own sense of fake moral superiority. Vociferating about how spiritual you are and lording it over others is easy. Trying to live quitely and unobtrusively according to the tenets of one's religious doctrine is hard. Christianity, which I know more about than any other religion, is supposed to be based on humility and quiet contemplation. If you say "I'm Christian" and don't immediately ask yourself "Am I? Do I lead a truly Christian life?", then you are nothing but a fake.

Christianity has been colonized by so many loud individuals who screech about how much better they are than anybody else that I don't even want to identify as Christian any more. So many atrocities have been and still are perpetrated in the name of Christianity that the best thing people who want to consider themselves Christian can do is just shut up already and turn towards themselves, their own souls. In the words of Jesus himself, prayer should not be a public affair. It should be done, privately, intimately, secretively. In the words of Jesus himself, don't count everybody else's sins, go count your own and concentrate on bettering yourself. This is a religion that is murdered when it is imposed on people by stealth or against their will. This is a religion that, according to the words of Jesus himself, should be kept separate from public and political life.

As I said, I don't want to talk about this issue much because it's very personal to me. This is pretty much all I want to say about this topic on this blog.


Jodi said...

Thank you for articulating so well what I've been feeling for years.

Pagan Topologist said...

I proudly provide both my religion and my profession in my handle here. Many of my faith feel they have to hide it. I have decided to refuse to do that. My being a Pagan makes my mother sad, but lying to her would make me both sad and troubled. Escaping from Christianity was, for me, a very important and very difficult stage of my life.

Clarissa said...

What does being pagan mean? I'm sadly very ignorant on the subject.

eric said...

I had one of those scary ultra-religious upbringings, and after I left the house at 18, I closed the door on religion forever. I understand, however, how other's experiences with spirituality are vastly different (and better). My wife is a believer, and reads the Bible daily, though her interpretation of the book is vastly different from that of the Palinistas and Beckerheads.

Anonymous said...

I think the challenge is how we hold on to our values when confronted by fanaticism. In combating fanatics we can appear to be what we are not. Perhaps, if we can put humility and compassion first maybe we can find a way. Although some will always miss the point of what we say!

Pagan Topologist said...

"Pagan" is not easy to define, since different Pagans will describe Paganism differently. I will say what I think it is and is not, but I cannot claim to give a definitive description.

First, Pagans are not 'People of the book.' We have no single sacred text; we look for meaningful myth in the writings of many times and places.

Second, we tend to be polytheistic. I personally do not know any monotheists who call themselves Pagan. Some are duotheistic, worshipping a goddess and a god. A few are henotheistic: They acknowledge the existence of many gods and goddesses, but devote themselves to only one.

Third, Some of us worship gods and goddesses from different cultures. I personally work with some Greek, African, and Celtic deities.

Fourth, Most Pagans do not believe in having a paid clergy, although this is certainly not universal.

Fifth, we mostly do not believe in Divine forgiveness. (I do not know any Pagan who does.) We believe we are always responsible for our own actions.

A good smorgasbord overview can be found at witchvox.com but there is a lot of material there to read!

BenYitzhak said...

I still like my kindle, but I am far less enamoured of it now that I've learned it doesn't support any languages that don't use latin letters.