[in all seriousness, if you've got faith in a higher power and don't like it when people don't, i'd tread lightly here if i were you. i'm going to say things that will make you unhappy.]
many people are raised into religion. i wasn't really. i mean, i was baptized into the presbyterian faith, but it never really took, i guess. in fact, one of the many ways i tried to shoehorn myself into whatever image i thought would suit my relationship was to pretend to be a serious christian. i mean, i allowed myself to be married in a christian ceremony when i knew full good and well how little i believed in the words i was saying.
when i lost my mother, i cursed the very nature of her life on this earth. i mean, what kind of existence did she have? she was wracked by debilitating mental illness for her ENTIRE LIFE. nothing eased it, and the only relief she ever had from the static in her head came from chemicals. what kind of just and loving god would allow that? foolishness. there's no such thing as noble, redemptive suffering. i've been on that rant before. but seriously, if there's a god who would allow that kind of pain to happen and sit back and do nothing, especially if he's supposedly so all-fired concerned with every last little detail of how we live, then i want no part of that death-cult, thanks.
so i guess you could call me an enemy of religion. i don't pretend to know what the afterlife holds. that's kind of my point: i am just not arrogant enough to presume that some book of fairy stories written hundreds of years after the events were supposed to have happened is the straight-up script to success after death. nope. but even feeling that way, i used to have a live-and-let-live attitude about religion. none for me, thanks, but do what you want to do (as long as you leave me alone about it). however, in light of recent events in my life, i've moved from a detente position about living your life by some god's supposed will to an all-out war. and no, i will not be nice anymore.
my family is chocked to the gills with deep believers in a charismatic form of christianity. who knows how this happened? not me. but sure enough, they're all reeeeeeally into the whole jesus thing. my little cousins were raised on it, and somehow most of them got out OK, except for one. this girl has been tested since birth. she was born with serious health problems. by the time she was 5, she'd had surgeries that numbered in the double digits. and instead of being normal about it and treating her like a real kid, my family decided to carry her around on a little satin pillow and tell her how fragile she is. how special she is. give her all manner of special treatment, often to the detriment of her own siblings and cousins. it was abundantly clear who the favorite was in our family.
but the worst thing they did to her was the two-pronged attack on any chance she had to be a deep thinker: they filled her head with jesus, and they told her she was going to die. therefore, what we got was a kid with no direction, no intellect, and no drive. oh yeah - and since she was so steeped in christian mysticism, to put it kindly, she had no faith (ha ha) in what her doctors said, especially the part about "hey, you'd better never get pregnant, because you, the kid or both could die."
i think you know what happened next. the girl turned up pregnant by her affable-but-worthless fiance. the doctors told her, "hey, now that you disobeyed us and got pregnant, you need to end this pregnancy. it's almost a given that you, the kid or both could die." her own FATHER told her to do it. but no, that's not what god would want. the "baby" (at this time, a three-week-old clump of cells with no human identity) has a heartbeat, because that's what church told her! so the girl has basically stumbled upon a novel way to commit both suicide and homicide by refusing to put aside the dangerously irrational religious toxin to SAVE HER OWN GODDAMNED LIFE.
so my cousin is most likely going to die in six months. her kid might die too. and for what? religion. the toxic mind-rot that is charismatic religion. and when this tragedy unfolds, my grandparents and my aunt will talk about god's great plan. and i will look them in the face and say, "the blood is on your hands. YOU. DID. THIS. you killed her with your insane refusal to live in this world and your addle-brained insistence on concentrating on the next. sleep well."
killer god. killer fucking god. there's no goddamned sky-daddy; there's just this cancerous poison rotting the minds of people all over the world. the opiate of the masses? hardly. opiates at least numb the nerves. religion doesn't even promise happiness, unless you count the faux-orgasmic state of mind of "gifts of the spirit." it's a mind-fuck. that's all it is. from my cousin, to the thousands lost on september 11, to every american soldier who meets a taliban IED, to every gay teenager who slits his wrists because the church told him he was damned, it's the biggest shame of human life. religion breeds death.