Home » Featured, Headline, Latest, Uncategorized

Religion: The Accepted Insanity

Submitted by Rachel on March 14, 2011 – 7:41 pmComments

accepted-insanityNo one can deny that in the U.S., an overwhelming majority of people still believe in God in one form or another.  However, recent surveys indicate that a huge cultural shift is happening in America, and I couldn’t be happier. The Pew Forum in 2010 found that almost 30% of adults leave the faith of their childhood upbringing, and Women of Grace reported in 2010 that 1 in 4 twenty-somethings classify themselves as unaffiliated with any religion, the highest proportion of non-believers than any generation before.  As a staunch believer in separation of church and state, this excites me to no end to think that the religious objections to many state matters could be phased out if we Millenials make our voices heard.

Granted, the Constitution gives you the freedom of religion, and in 99% of cases, I’m more than happy to let you do your thing, and I’ll do mine. One of my oldest and best friends is a strict Catholic, and we agree to disagree on a lot of key issues; but if I’m forced to hide in my house from the constant knocking of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, throw away any more “Jesus Loves You” pamphlets, and otherwise be generally inconvenienced by the “End is Near” protestors blocking the streets, then here I am to terrorize all you believers with my non-belief.

First, I agree with Bill Maher in 2008’s “Religulous” (which, by the way, I recommend if you haven’t seen. He sometimes crosses the line from debate to mockery, but the point is made nonetheless.)  Don’t religions sound just a little far-fetched to you? Talking snakes, burning bushes, 10 specific laws from a man in the sky, virgin births? For those of you who say you have to accept these stories on faith, do you know what we call people who come up with outlandish stories today? Charlie Sheen. According to him, he’s got tiger DNA and Adonis blood. That sounds like WINNING to me. Unfortunately, he’s about 2000 years too late to turn this into a religious following, but if he tries hard enough, I bet he can convince a group of people to don jump suits and drink the Kool-Aid in time for the spaceship to take them away.

Secondly, how many religions are there in the world, and which one is the “right” one?  Although South Park claims it’s Mormonism, with all the fighting and hatred over which religion is the true path to salvation, would it be that hard to envision that instead of everyone else being wrong, you’re all wrong? Howabout everyone lives their lives as decent human beings regardless of any invented threat of eternal reward or punishment, and call it a day?

Religion is an invented concept initially used to explain natural occurrences that people didn’t have the technology or wherewithal to understand, that has been constantly revised and tweaked to serve the interests of the ruling class and punish those who are different.  No one believes in the Ancient Greek and Roman Gods anymore, regardless of how bad-ass they may have been – and why? Christians swooped in and simply disguised many ancient practices to suit their own needs. A lot of Christian celebrations look like costumed pagan holidays if you squint just so… I also haven’t heard of any Mayan sacrifices to the Gods in the last several hundred years. Or take King Henry the VIII. The Church says no divorce? Well then the answer to that is just to start a new church that allows it, and voila, problem solved! How many brilliant scientists were declared heretics during the Inquistion for ideas like the earth revolves around the sun? And of course living in Salem, I’m quite aware of what happens if your neighbor decides he’s seen the Devil stopping by for a spell (pun intended.) And for how many years did the church cover up the thousands of children that were sexually abused by the literally “holier than thou” church officials? Religion doesn’t protect anyone from being or encountering evil people, and power can go to anyone’s head.

In today’s society, we still see the exclusion and hatred fueled by religion most prominently in women’s rights and against the gay community.  Birth control and abortion are hotly debated, and here’s my two cents –while your God may want to determine how many childlike blessings he bestows on you, according to my here-on-earth cost-benefit analysis, I’d rather spend my tax dollars handing out condoms and pills in hopes an abortion won’t be necessary than supporting your twelve welfare children for 18 years, or overpopulating our stellar foster system with unwanted children.

As far as gay marriage is concerned, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman in the Bible, which should, at least, have no bearing whatsoever on the governance of this country. If I as an unaffiliated person can be considered legally married by my country without being married in a church, then I see no reason why homosexual couples couldn’t be recognized by their government as well. And people have been gay since the beginning of time (see: Ancient Greeks); it just wasn’t as widely publicized as it is today. People are who they are – This means you, Westboro Baptist Church. My blood absolutely boils in my veins to hear about these religious zealots protesting at the funerals of American heroes. According to WBC, God is angry that we “tolerate” homosexuality. So let me get this straight, your loving, merciful God is striking down soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect the freedom of their countrymen, including your right to religious belief and freedom of assembly, because gay people exist (mostly) freely? If God sends direct messages to people like Moses and Noah, then shouldn’t he be sending some memo to the gays directly, more specifically perhaps your gay, abusive priests, that it ain’t cool? Rule number one in communication is know your audience, and sorry to say that the grieving families of fallen service men and women are not it. The shortest distance from Point A to Point B is a straight line. You got a problem with the gays, talk to the gays, mais oui?

In its extreme forms, religion can and has been organized hatred and terrorism.  From the Inquisition to the Salem Witch Trials to 9/11, people have committed heinous crimes in the name of their God. Karl Marx once called religion the “opium of the people” for its intoxicating appeal to transcend this sometimes cruel and random life. I obviously can’t say for sure if there is anything after death or at the ends of the universe – I haven’t yet died or gotten that far in my worldly travels. What I do know is that I have been given free will and the capacity to think for myself, which is a precious gift not every life on this earth gets.  The only person who can truly judge you at the end of the day is yourself. I and I alone can determine what to make of my life, how to live, and what’s of real value. I have no religion, but I do believe in compassion, in taking care of our neighbors as our own, in love & friendship, in giving back, and experiencing the beauty of life. Read, study, explore, experience – and if you find in your journey the belief that there is more to life than meets the eye, then I hope it instills in your heart a feeling of understanding and peace, and that that is the message we choose to share, that there is room for everyone in this melting-pot we call our nation, NOT under God, but indivisible, and with justice for all.

Share this Post!
[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [Reddit] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Email]

  • Mark
    If I told people that I believed a talking squirrel was our savior, I would be committed and people would truly believe I was crazy. But a man who claims he spoke to a burning bush? Perfectly logical. After all, it was printed in a book. Therefore, it must be true. What other explaination could there be?
blog comments powered by Disqus