I had no idea how many blogs were devoted to God. NO idea. I should have known, but I am over here busily living my godless life. But sometimes I go trawling and I found out there are countless blogs devoted to God. Not 'all the gods', but the one 'God' heralded by the likes of the Catholic church, Tammy Faye Baker and Republicans trying to tie my knees together. Thousands of people, hundreds of thousands- are out there proclaiming their love for this deity. I read a little of each one to examine their thoughts. I'm always interested in people and their beliefs and this is a place where I feel we can learn a lot.
For those of you who have not been here before, I am a raging atheist. There is no redemption to be had. I like the semiotics of religion, all the beautiful paintings and gold halos and wings and candles... I dig it. Has a very peaceful vibe. Whatever gets you through. I'm not here to hold protests outside of your place of worship, I don't care what you wear (or don't) as long as no one gets hurt and its within the confines of a civilized society. The things churches do are great-lots of charity, giving to the needy.. I am really into all that. I love to give money to a good cause.
See? We can get along. But I don't believe. I slipped past it and can't go back and pretend. It is as if I was having a dream and woke up. Then I wanted to go back into the dream, so I get back in bed and close my eyes trying to get back right where I left off. Its no use, there is no hope now, I am out of the dream. It has faded away like a thin trail of smoke and I can't grasp it. I stopped trying long ago.
I grew up going to church. For many years I thought everyone believed in God. Everyone. By the time I was 8 years old, we had a real problem on our hands. I was too curious for my church's taste and wouldn't quit asking the very literal questions. Questions they either could not or would not attempt to answer. I got responses that were intended to make me feel 8. When I found a sympathetic ear, or someone who had not heard about my reputation, the conversation often went like this:
Me: "Why do you believe in God?"
Them: "Because HE is all around us."
Me: "Where? Can you see him? Really?"
Them: "Well you see his creations, the earth and people and plants and animals. So you know he is there."
Me: "Uh, no I mean- can you actually see him?"
Them: "I feel Him, don't you feel Him? That is how it works. You feel it in your heart."
Me: "Hmmm, I'm not feeling anything."
Them: "You need to have faith."
Me: "What is that?"
Them: "Believing because you know it to be true, even though you can't see it."
Me: "Oh, like pretend."
Them: "No. You don't have enough faith. You need to try harder."
Me: "Didn't you say there would be ice cream?"
You can't shame me into believing. These conversations took place in church on Sundays, on the way in, the way out, during Sunday school classes, at church friend's houses, and sometimes, when I couldn't take it anymore and felt a contradiction too strong not to address, in the middle of a sermon. It was not long before I was asked to not attend sermons. Then to keep my questioning to a minimum. Then to ask my parents. When my sister passed away, it was the beginning of the end. I knew she was sick. I understood that meant she wouldn't live as long as we would. I got it. What I had a problem with is the idea that someone knew all of this all along, every little bad thing and it was in their PLAN. That the creator of the universe had written down this suffering in their magical to do list and was going to make sure it happened. For some reason. Which you weren't supposed to question. And you couldn't ask. Because you couldn't find him. (Because he didn't exist.)
My sister's death is not the reason I don't believe in god. It spurred on my already increasing suspicion of the whole thing, but my basic understanding of science plus growing out of the age when I believed in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy (and other made up entities created to make you behave, ahem) really pulled me out of the place where I tried so hard to believe.
My parents and teachers and church acquaintances could not understand my questioning. There was no purpose in asking them anymore. As I got older, I did the research I needed to, delved into the places where I thought I could find answers. The more time that went on, I realized that it was lunacy in my book to devote any more time to this. That we make light of the people that lived long ago and their belief in many gods, all for different purposes. We make light of the Native Americans that believed in a Sun God and a Moon God and a Corn God. Why? Why is our deity any more sane? We can't see him either. The people in mental hospitals will tell you this is hypocrisy- they see something that no one else can, too. Why aren't they getting tax free donations instead like the churches do?
I gave up on religion as a whole long before the rest of my family and well before I realized how it could be and was being used to subvert women, minorities, homosexuals, and anyone who dared to hold a conflicting view. It seemed like most of the people meant well enough -looking back, the concept of missionaries seemed harmless enough, even saintly. If you believe your god won't save people from eternal damnation unless they accept him as their personal savior, then you want to reach as many people as possible and make sure they go to heaven, right? It just seems that...well...why would they go to hell for being born in a country where western Judeo-Christian European religions weren't prevalent? No one questioned that?
Plus- being punished for not accepting the invisible creator of all life to be your personal savior, when you watch the world burn around you and terrible diseases strike your village- why would you believe you were a child of this god? Why would they make some people live like that and others get Cadillacs? This god is obviously not a socialist.
Oh- free will! That's right. That's why you have malaria. Sorry kids....you are exercising your free will all wrong. Better luck next time. Except we don't believe in next time. You have this soul for all eternity. Now rub these beads and praise god and his mom, though or things are about to get way worse for you. True story.
If this doesn't sound like a cult to anyone else, that is fine. If you need to believe to get you through the trying and difficult times of your life, I get it. I do. Who wouldn't want there to be a benevolent god? A deity so undemanding all he wanted was your unending praises and glory and would give you everlasting life in his kingdom of white clouds, angels and harp music? Who doesn't want to think that they are here on earth with a specific purpose, one only they can fulfill and he has it written down all on his notepad and you are following the path he set out for you to a T?
Plus he has a huge blog following. That has to be worth millions in advertising dollars. I'm going to tag this post and see if I can get in on some of that. This dude needs some better PR and for someone to tell him what Republican means. Any takers?