Thursday, March 25, 2010


[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.


  1. Not sure what I believe. They say there are no atheists in fox holes, and I spent many a cold, dark night on guard in the desert.

    However, I totally agree with what you're saying here about your cousin.

    As Rufus said in Dogma "He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name - wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it. I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can't generate. Life becomes stagnant."

    Was that too long? Don't think I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful God (whoa! watch out for the lightning bolts there), but I do believe in trying to be the best person I can because it's the right thing to do.

  2. i love dogma. one of my favorite movies of all time (and, strangely enough, one of my favorite quotes from the movie, too). i'm totally with you on doing right for right's sake as well.

    part of this rage thing is having spent the last 2 1/2 years in the buckle of the bible belt, in a city with three forty-foot-high crosses plainly visible as you enter town on the interstate. it's made me a little... short-tempered, to put it charitably.

  3. Ha, I love Dogma as well :)

    Seriously though, try growing up Mormon.

    I have friends and relatives that won't speak to me any more because I left the church as soon as I was able to. I agree with everything you said in your post, and I am so sorry to hear about your mother's situation. I and my mother have a psychiatric condition we share, and the only reason I'm able to function is because of the five pills a day I take. What kind of a god would make good people suffer? And none of that bullshit about it "making you stronger".

    Ironically, I believe that after I left organized religion behind me I became a better person: more compassionate, more charitable, more accepting and understanding, and WAY less judgemental. I wish everyone could experience that kind of transformation.

    The end.

  4. I love, love, love your blog. This post was a hard one, but I agree with you. The smaller the mind, the bigger the religious belief. I actually had someone visit me in the hospital and suggest that some undiscovered "sin" is what caused my heart disease. Needless to say, they got a swift kick out by an irate husband. Just one more reason to keep him around huh? Keep on blogging and I sincerely hope your cousin survives the stupidity. You hang in there!

  5. take two doses of Rilke and Bulleh Shah call me in the morning

  6. I feel the same way about organized religion as you. Grew up very active in a protestant religion, then saw the world and realized there is more to it than that. You should cut your family some slack though; most people need something more than themselves to believe in. If you confront them about their faith you will just end up on the top of their prayer list.

  7. OLP - you make an EXCELLENT point about the prayer list thing. it's been my experience that, while some people say it and are totally sincere and sweet about it, "i'll pray for you" can be one of the most threatening things someone can say to me.

    anon - if everyone was as thoughtful and artistic about their religion as those writers, none of this would be an issue...


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