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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 us...to 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.
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