Sunday, March 20, 2011

Religion, You Say? We Have a View On That.

Being that today is Sunday; what would be more fun than talking about religion? How about a red hot poker to the eye?

We kid. (but seriously, how much do you love AND hate that "Inspirational" poster - apologies to The Father <-dad)

We don’t mind talking about religion; though it is “one of those topics”- like politics, money, sex, or other things people have a real view on. You know how it is; people are uncomfortable being told that you don’t agree with them. Well, we aren't. Clearly. So, at the end of this post we expect the people who are flaming angry about this entry to post a comment, weigh-in. Go ahead, you know what you want to try to do; but don’t come over to Twitter (or send an e-mail); we want more than 140 characters at a time and we are all about open-door debate.

One thing you should know, right off the top; we were raised religious – Baptist actually. We attended church every Sunday (weather permitting) from as long as The Other Girl could remember and until we were 17. We were even missionaries, and went to Mexico two years in a row at the age of 15 and 16 with a youth mission’s organization to “spread the good word of the Lord” by going door to door and telling locals that they’re religion was wrong, and ours was right, all the while reading from a Spanish phrase book designed only to get across this information (and thank them, or ask where the bathroom was).

So, we DO know what we are talking about, we are not some “heathen” or “pagan” who just needs to hear the word to be taken into the flock (or to be healed). We’ve got the information.

At this point, if you’re thinking…then when happened? Or…who is We? Then you need to hop over to our adjoing site and read some of that; the stories of how we came to be us. Do it either before or after you read this, to get the full understanding of why we believe what we believe, and why it may not coincide with what you think/believe; but don’t you dare try to attack us without knowing some of our story.

Having said that, The Other Girl also had a hard time believing in religion, but she felt the pressure of a family who did not take kindly to those with opposing views (and they still don’t). She did her best to blend in while hiding her secret; Us and the abuse; and conformed to the ideals of her family. She never did believe a word of it, how could she in the face of what her life had been, and was.

One of our favourite analogies of religion, which seems fitting in some ironic way…or maybe we still can’t grasp irony; but we will pose it as a question: When you were a child, at Christmas, and every year you asked Santa for just one thing, one very important thing, something you knew you deserved, and every year you didn’t get it; would you still believe in Santa?

Fairy tales are nice; they make you feel fuzzy and wishful, sometimes safe in the face of uncertaintly. Disney has the market corned on relationship fairy tales, providing that hope against hope that cultivates a young girls wish for a prince charming to arrive and save her….from something; depending on the story. Religion has “God”… let’s just leave that fairy tale to the adults.

We’ve had a few conversations with The Father (Our Father, not “THE Father”) regarding our beliefs. The most memorable, for obvious reasons, was about a year ago, after our grandfather passed away. It took place in a pickup truck, as many of our conversations have throughout life, and in the 5 hour drive it eventually came down to religion, and why we don’t believe in it. What transpired was an awakening of Me. With an admission from the father that he had forgotten about significant childhood events. Bitch kicked me harder than ever before.

“Wake up. You will not believe this shit”, she said after a final swift kick. (That coma was hard to get out of)

We were appalled at the fact that a father could forget such a significant thing, especially given his constant concern and prayer for us over the years.

After our tears, and his reach for our hand, we said, “Dad, If you can tell me why “God” would let a child suffer in that way, an innocent child. Then maybe. Maybe I’ll be willing to listen.”

He responded with a religious phrase regarding “the sins of the father”.

“Why? …Why does a child have to suffer for someone else’s faults and mistakes? What kind of “God” would do that?”

He was silent for a bit.

“Maybe that’s a question you should ask My Pastor”, he said.

After more debate, and more sharing, he still didn’t have any answers; we knew there would never be one we were satisfied with. Granted, until this blog (which he reads) he didn’t know a lot about our life. He has always been preoccupied with other things. Despite the fact that he says he knows “me”.

In a couple recent conversations with him it came back to religion once again. We’ve condensed the two into a manageable juxtaposition of talking points.

“You believe in demons, right?” he asked, following it up with comments on prayer.

We knew where this was going.

“You can pray for me all you want, dad; you’ve been doing it our whole life and it hasn’t gotten you anywhere” we said to him.

“It could have been worse”, he responded.

Now, this conversation went on and on, we discussed the counselling we had been given as a child, in the wake of our mothers’ departure, our parents’ divorce; and then eventually sexual abuse.

“You just sat there and you wouldn’t say a thing” he said to us. “It’s your own fault you wouldn’t talk.”

What was there to say? Physical abuse, sexual abuse; not to mention Us. The Other Girl never knew how to articulate her life, our life; even as the abuses went on, she could only describe events in very brief, obscure sentences. It was too hard for her to explain explain everything.

Religious belief is a myriad of unanswered questions. The people who follow religion don’t like to be asked many of those questions; perhaps because it’s not comfortable to have to face the  realization you don’t have the answers or have someone threaten your ideals, and some people don’t like to think about those things.
We realize religion has its place. We don’t want to change anyone’s beliefs, for that would make us the same as those who try to change ours. We respect that some people need it, to live their life, to make sense of their existence. There are those among us who don’t need to know why we are here; we are here, we like it and we just want enjoy what is left of it, and for those people, "like us",  religion doesn’t fit into the grid of their life.

Perhaps those of us who are “non-believers”, these “Atheists”, have had terrible experiences in their life and have not had the charmed one that many (not all) religious believers have had. We understand that some turn to religion to save themselves, others do the opposite. 

Maybe we don’t feel comfortable for attributing good things in our life to "someone" who stands by and lets the bad things happen, over and over. Maybe there are other reasons people don’t believe. Whatever the reason, respect them, because like YOU, THEY have their reasons too.

We’re preparing another religious entry for the future. We love learning, and reading, and writing. We have some historical information on Christianity and its origins that is very interesting, “documents” to explain that Christianity is just a branch of many similar religions that came before it. 

[We recommend Zeitgeist – its a documentary that we will be writing about, just in case you end up missing THAT post; we are also studying some other documentaries too, currently we are trying to sludge through The History Channels God vs. Satan: The Final Battle]
We know there will be naysayers, but really….will you have proof equally concrete as a point of contention. We don’t want to change you. We just want you to know where we are coming from, and we want people to understand why religion is not going to heal us.


  1. Grr, I thought I just posted a comment and it's not showing up...anyway. Just wanted to say that I admire your sharing of your life experiences with such candor. I also had a religious (pentecostal) upbringing and struggle as an adult to sort it all out and decide where I stand on things. I respect the conclusions your experiences have brought you to, and look forward to reading more! (I'm jessicatressica on Twitter :)

  2. I will try this again now that I'm on my computer :)

    I rarely post on religious and/or political topics, but both of you are some of my favorites and I am comfortable with you, so I will.

    I wish I had answers for you, not that you're really looking for them, but more to really add to your discussion per se. But I don't have them. I don't think any of us really do have the answers we seek. I don't know why there is the suffering that exists in this world and I don't understand why crimes against the innocent are "allowed" to continue. I happen to be a religious person, and though my faith has fluctuated throughout my years it has always existed.

    I do know, though, that while there some things I will never understand, and am not ever capable of understanding, the faith that I have will not allow me to judge my fellow men and women for not having faith. I think that something like religion or a relationship with God is tremendously personal and cannot be forced, and while I may understand things a certain way and perhaps can add understanding to someone else's, I can't compel someone to believe as I do. This is counterintuitive to me.

    All I can do is live the way I feel I need to live, to be a good person, to improve myself daily and to fight my own personal demons. I must do this so that I can show those who have abused me, transgressed against me and my family, that they will not be victorious over me. If I can do all these things with using a religion as a guide for me or a comfort, then I think that's alright for me. I can have peace with that.

  3. Frank,

    There is never an excuse for people to stand by and watch or allow the suffering of others, and do nothing about it. We are all brothers and sisters on the tiny sphere called earth, and we must stand back to back to help, support, love and encourage each other. To those who believe in God, their hope is that in the end, the evil ones who preys on the young, innocent or weaker ones will ultimately get their due. I realize that doesn't answer you question, as to why would a loving God allow such things to happen to innocent people, but in the end I really don't believe they will get away with it.

    None of us want to be mindless or lifeless puppets, and if God were to dictate every thought, action or reaction humans had, that wouldn't be much of a life at all. In order for humans to enjoy life on this planet He gave all of us an amazing gift called free choice. Unfortunately, many have taken their free choice and made very painful and damaging choices, which have deeply hurt others. I know that has to grieve the heart of God.

    Certainly, believers have not communicated their values and beliefs very well on numerous occasions. They have even tried to force their beliefs on others, mixed with a ton of judgement on top of it. Quiet frankly, anytime anyone forces anything on people for any reason, the natural tendency is to resist, and to force back with even more passion than it was presented to them.

    I don't find your post offensive at all, quiet the contrary. It is so rare to encounter "real" people like you who are willing to share their deepest hurts, toughest questions and passionate beliefs for all the world to see. Thank you for being vunerable and transparent with the world, it is very refreshing to communicate with you! My heart aches because of the hurt and pain that you have encountered in your past. Most people have had some measure of pain in their lifetime, maybe not to the same level you have shared, and each of us have tough choices to make in regards to that pain...

    We either allow it to rule our lives or we take that pain and use it as a tool to help others in a similar situation. You're honesty, vunerability, and courage to speak openly about these past issues, has to have made a huge difference in countless lives. I applaud you for the strength and courage you've displayed in blogging about all of this. I look forward to more of your brutal honesty.

    Warm regards,

    Boe Parrish

  4. Thank you for reading, Boe.

    We are glad we are not offensive here (because we are often offensive over on Twitter!) - if you follow us there we are sure you've seen that.

    Thank you for your kind words and insight.


  5. I only can stare to all this pain and weep like a little child. Maybe it's just the same thing that God do. If religious people you have met in your lifetime don't want to hear your questions maybe they were afraid, just like you, that there are no answers, but only questions. few years ago I were looking for things that could fill my heart, not because Christ had no answer, but because the only one He had for my many questions was always the same, and I didn't like it. Make sure my life was no bed of roses, just a bed of thorns, instead. but now the very real question is: this God you haven't seen yet, want to descend in the very depest wound of your heart, and heal, and give new life, and new nature; are You ready for this? and please, stop looking that horrible pics, it hurts You.

    Kind regards and ... hugs.

  6. I have to say that "for me" religion (the church) has always been a dark place in my life. When I was just a little pup my mom took me to bible Sunday school. I was probably 7 years old or so. I was fascinated by the wild tales that the Sunday school teacher was telling me about magical things. Being young and thirsty for knowledge I asked the teacher how she knows all of this is true. She smiled and said because it is written all right here in this book and held up the bible. I asked her who wrote it. She said some men from a long long time ago. She said it contained the word of god. I asked her how does she know it’s true if it was written so long ago? She didn’t have an answer. Even though I was young, something didn’t seem right. Needless to say when my mom came to pick me up, the teacher asked her to please not bring me back again because I was disrupting the class. I guess I made her look bad?? That was my church experience. Fast forward to high school and I started getting into ancient history. I learned all about the Spanish Inquisitions’ and how the church would travel the globe and take peoples ways of life and change them to their own. For instance, the Mayan culture. The church destroyed almost everything they could of those peoples heritage because they didn’t understand and just thought they were demons or some such nonsense. Today we have only small fragments of that culture because the church destroyed it all because they didn’t understand. It’s like the book burning that the church’s do to this day. A quick side note I thought was funny was that when the first Harry Potter book came out the church was all upset and actually burning the books because it was about Witchcraft. Then after the final movie came out the church applauded it because of its similarities to their views. So I'm confused. Now I want to say for the record that I do believe in a higher power. I had an experience once that changed what I thought. I had died once, only for a short bit and the doctors were able to revive me. I had been very depressed and went through a nasty divorce and I had enough. I overdosed and was pronounced dead. Luckily one doctor didn’t give up. Anyway, what happened to me was, I was floating, it was great, I was in a long tunnel and I was warm, I was happy and I felt an over whelming feeling of love. I wanted to stay forever. There was the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel" and I was headed towards that at a very slow rate of speed. I can remember the feeling of peace that I had and how safe I felt. As I floated along, there was thunderous voice, and it was so loud that it felt like it permeated my very DNA. This sounds weird but I could feel the voice in every molecule in my body. It tore through me like radiation. All the voice said was "NOT YET" and then I was instantly sucked backwards at a very high rate of speed. I was back in my body and quickly sat up and started choking on the tube they had down my throat. I yanked it out and tore all the wires off my body. The first thing I did when I was back in my body was to ask the doctor if he had said anything while he was working. He said no. I asked him if he said "Not Now" and he said the only things he said was instructions to the nurse, "hand me this, hand me that, etc...". I can’t say for certain what it all meant but It was so powerful that I believe there is something after we die and I don’t know who spoke to me but it was an experience where I felt nothing but peace and love. I think there is something after we die and that there is a higher power, but I don’t know what that higher power is. I believe that throughout history the church has done a lot of evil things and I will never be a part of any of it I can safely say. At night I say my thanks to the voice that returned me because I have since married my high school sweetheart and we have been together for a long time. We have 4 great pups. Just my 2 cents : / ~~~Rufus the Wonder Dog

  7. I was raised Roman Catholic and now I am a Lutheran (Missouri Synod). Your main objection here is with Christianity, which I can appreciate. Many crimes, murders, wars have been commited in the name of the Christian God, which is an abomination. The true understanding of God as taught by the Lutheran Confessions and Scripture is that God sent His Son not to fight our political battles, this is why the Jews could not accept him as the Christ. Christ came to teach and to die for our sins. Period.

    Christ does not condone sin, but knows that we are all sinners. He also does not steer away from sin. He did, after all, hang out with the worst of sinners, the tax collectors and the prostitutes. God loves sinners, because we are all sinners and we are his creation.

    Before you start to think that I am a religous zealot know that I believe I am the worst of sinners. I have cheated, I have lied, I have wished and caused harm to others. I have failed often to do what Christ called me to do, to love God with all my heart and all my soul and to love my neighbor as myself.

    The problem with the wing of Christianity you were raised in is that they preach a theology of glory, which teaches that if you believe in Christ everything will be great, but you have to work at it. The true understanding of scripture teaches the theology of the cross. That is that once we believe we are screwed. Life is going to be even harder for us here on earth. Christ does tell us that families will be broken apart and wars will be fought over his name.

    Why, then, does a loving God allow a child or any of his creation to suffer? One of the respondents above hit the nail on the head, free will. God has given us the option to believe in him or turn away. He gives us the option to be good to others or to be downright evil. Free will is a tricky thing, we like it, but yet we don't.

    I wish we were all good to each other, but sin has mucked all that up and evil is in this world and in our hearts. God is not the enemy, we are. We distort the beautiful message of hope and true peace that comes from Christ and turn into a vile thing, a la Westboro Baptist Church.

    Many of my friends are pastors and studying to be pastors. I always encourage them to not block themselves out from what is going on in this world. To see what battles their congregation have to face on a daily basis. And especially when one in their congregation is struggling with sin NOT to turn their backs on him/her, but to hold him/her even closer.

    Without my faith I truly believe I would have died 20 years ago. I struggled with drugs and addiction. Tried all the meetings and counseling in the world and yet battled. It wasn't until I was brought to the faith that I overcame those challenges. (Note that I said brought to the faith, not accepted Jesus into my heart which is a wrong understanding).

    I don't condemn those from other religions or atheists. Who am I to condemn, like I said I am the worst of sinners. What bothers me is when those of another faith or atheists shove their beliefs in my face and then proceed to tell me I'm an imbecil for believing in Christ's salvaton. Tolerance goes both ways.

    Thanks for putting up with my ramblings
    -------@myDARKESTmind on twitter.