Monday, July 29, 2013

Religion: The Great Division

I made the mistake of confiding my current depression to a religious friend. Since this friend is male, much older than me and generally given to minding his own business, I thought it would be a safe thing to do. When will I ever learn you can't talk to religious people like they're normal people? For that matter, when will I ever learn that I can't talk to anybody and expect them to understand or at least be sympathetic and admit they don't understand, unless they're weird in most or all of the same ways I'm weird?

The assumptions are presumably well meaning, but forever tiresome and frustrating.
If you're depressed, it's because you don't go to a 'real church.' You need to find a 'real' Bible believing church.
If you're having any sort of trouble with your kids, it's because you homeschool and you need to put them in school.
If you're lonely, it's because you live in the country. Move back to the city.
It's so much easier to give pat answers than to actually get to know a person and try to understand them and what's really going on with them.

But anyway... the sadness over having my friend judge that certainly, my depression is at least in part due to the fact that I don't go to a 'real church' is frightening at this point. Will I continue to lose friends and friendly relationships everywhere until there is literally nothing left? Will each person in my life, and my kids' lives, eventually take offense at the fact that I go to a flaky church and don't get into their conventional doctrine? Will I continue to watch friends turn out not to be friends because of religious differences?

I can hang out with a traditional church-goer and take no offense that they're not a free believer, an agnostic, a pantheist, or any other spiritual path that I find more open-minded and freeing. I have, at their request, attended their church meetings and found myself cringing at some of the awful lies that are preached in Jesus' name. But, I don't hold it against them personally and have always tried to continue the friendly relationship with the person. THEY have always been the one to end the friendship. They take offense when I don't agree with their doctrine, their church, or their religious beliefs. Even if I never say one word to them about it. Somehow they know... and get angry... and offended.

Remember that old song about how they will know we are Christians, by our love, by our love? Bullshit. Someone should re-write that whole song. They will know we are Christians by how easily offended we get, by how fast we are to dump you if you don't square up to our standards, by how we'll lie and say we love you but we don't have a fat clue what true love really is.

They prove their god is untrustworthy and downright false because they never do love and just let their god stand up for himself and reveal himself to someone in need. Their frantic, rabid, aggressive evangelical tactics show just how untrustworthy they believe their god really is.

How sad it will make me if I lose this older male friend. I'll call him Bill. Referring to the post previous to this one, "roads," it seems the Universe is going to make sure I learn that I will never have a father figure taking care of me. Not outside of the resources inside of myself. I've felt such powerful love for Bill at times, been so grateful for him. Felt like I've gotten tastes of what it might have been like to have a father who loved me. I should have known it wouldn't last.

I hate religion. I hate it. I hate it for what it's done to me, to my family, to most of my friendships. To the human race at large.

You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will be as one.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both And be one traveller, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth... ~Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken."

I held out as long as I could. I really did. And one day I ran out of will to push my way down the road that was blocked and tangled in undergrowth. Instead, I went down another. I lost my belief in a personal God, I lost the ability and desire to keep trying to believe in a heavenly Father who arranged my life according to his personal love and devotion to me.

I can still remember being a teenager following men around at church. I developed attachments to several older men - my Sunday school teacher, my 'church membership sponsor,' a couple of other men old enough to be my father. I was like a puppy wagging my tail hoping I'd get a biscuit. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. For reasons I did not fully understand and still don't, I kept getting up and wagging my tail again even after being pushed aside by a callous foot. The perpetual craving of women to be seen, to be cherished by men. Her father. Her brother. Her lover. Anyone will do. I've seen it time and time again, in myself and in others.

Supposedly, the answer to this lies in Christianity. The God who gave us this craving for a Father's and a Brother's love is found through Jesus leading us back to the Father. We once were lost and now we're found, Daddy loves you, yada yada. For some perverse reason God gave us fathers and brothers just to show us how badly we could be hurt when we naturally looked to them for love, affection, approval. So even though you still have that longing for love from these people God set up just to tease you with, learn not to fall for the tricks He's set up for you to fall for, and turn to Him instead.

Makes perfect sense.

I thought I was making progress a few years ago in freebelievers. I can still remember the time someone gave me a kiss on the forehead. I remember the time someone else gave me a hand squeeze and a light platonic kiss on the cheek, like a dearly loved father or uncle might. I remember ages ago as a teenager, sitting with another eating peanut butter crackers and drinking Coke in the moonlight. And once many years ago, my own earthly brother and I being friends. The time he held my hand helping me walk across a meadow in the dark. Those few treasured moments of a lifetime, just little glimpses of what it might have been like to be


cared for...protected...

someone's sister, beautiful, treasured, seen...

until they all turn away and walk away. It was just a temporary thing. Not a foundation, not a resting place. Just a dog biscuit. A little snack to make me want more... a lifetime of going back to eat, and be filled.

Again, the Christian solution is to turn to God. Because even though Jesus said something about how the world will know you are my disciples (loving one another) this apparently was just for aesthetics. Today's Christian motto is to be sure not to look to other people, but to turn to God himself. Even though supposedly God himself indwells man and we were to manifest His spirit by our love for one another. (just WHEN did this "don't look to others, look to God" shit get so widely accepted in Christiandom?! is God still in the sky somewhere looking down with a sad face or is he to be found in the human heart??)

So anyway. I finally realized that personally understanding and living the reality of being loved by a brother or father, either earthly or heavenly, is not going to happen for me and it's time to let it go and walk away.

What will such an unknown road hold? A road where I am no longer looking to other people to get my needs met, nor to a probably non-existent male deity who is supposedly all that a human male is, good and bad, just inflated to cosmic proportions? What will a new road hold... one where I consider that I am part of the Universe, and therefore have all the answers I need already downloaded somewhere inside of me? That I don't have to 'try' and connect with others or the Universe, but I already AM connected?