Howdy Proselytes, welcome to the twenty-fifth sermon of HACK. If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to confess our sins. Namely, blatant hypocrisy.
When I say I’m sick of religion I mean that literally. Whatever good intentions religion has, it has become a sickness. It spreads like disease and destroys its hosts’ spiritual immune system. Most religions have a well constructed ideology that includes those “chosen” to sit on God’s lap and those who suffer eternal damnation. It is these religions I am specifically targeting in this rant. Quite simply, ANY ideology that excludes ANYTHING is incomplete. It is flawed from the beginning because it refuses to admit alternate possibilities. In a universe where everything seems possible, why settle for anything less than EVERYTHING that is possible?
One could write a Bible-length tome explaining why religion as most people conceive it is completely bunk. I’m not going to attempt a long, thought out diatribe that explores every way that religion is total bullshit. Chances are if you agree with me then I don’t have to tell you why we’re right. Chances are if you think I’m going to (your) Hell for this piece, I’ve already lost you and no matter what completely rational argument I present your faith and/or denial will prevent you from accepting reality.
At the heart of religion is the human need for fellowship, community, and love. Yes, it was all originally based on shared explanations for the things in this world we didn’t understand. But once we decided that we had figured those things out, wrote our Bibles and Korans et al., and called it TRUTH, the next step was getting as many other people as we could to subscribe to the same belief. So you’ve got like-minded people that feel part of something larger than themselves and then you’ve got those people who like to control the people who will believe.
To give you some context, I was raised Catholic. I prayed to God. I was an altar boy. Nothing teaches you that religious ceremony is all a big show better than being an altar boy. It was like putting on a play every day, the SAME play, down to the last detail, FOREVER.
I also went to Catholic school. In 8th grade Sr. Bernadette and Msgr. Stoerlein gathered the class in the Church and told us to write down any questions we had before graduating, anything we didn’t understand or wanted to understand better. I was pleasantly surprised when they read the questions and EVERY SINGLE ONE had to do with something metaphysical, like, what happens when we die? If God loves us, why does he hurt us? How exactly (read: scientifically) does the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ? I sat there watching these two sweat out the answers. It was so obvious from their answers that they were either restating the script they were taught or else desperately grasping at straws. They didn’t have the answers any more than we did. They just made up some answers so that they could sleep at night.
My decision to become a Philosophy major in college was based partly on that experience, the need to really explore those questions. I didn’t even care about answers, I just wanted a better context for what the hell is going on. And, as my boy Peter Gabriel said, “The further on I go, oh, the less I know.” I don’t discount anything, so I am open to the possibility of everything. All beliefs fascinate me. I treat all of them equally: with reverence and amusement. It’s fascinating to learn all the things we can imagine. All systems of thought are equally valuable from a historical perspective. You don’t hold onto just one. You don’t exclude any of them. You understand their philosophies, you recognize their limitations, and you MOVE ON.
It’s not that I think that religion is all bad. It’s just that the old organized religions are IRRELEVANT. We’re in the 21st century and still killing each other over nothing more than MADE UP BELIEFS. Yep, that’s right. If you don’t know it’s time you knew…your beliefs are not real. They are imaginary, made up. And, at this point, they are holding us back from spiritual evolution. This is really why I’m sick of religion. It’s because religion is responsible for the continued massacre of human beings for no good reason. It’s because you can’t even talk to religious people about the possibility that they may be wrong. They get defensive, angry, and SELF-RIGHTEOUS. They expect you to respect their beliefs when they will never respect yours, even if they say they do.
I once reconnected with a friend from high school. We went to her house and I met her mom. At one point her mom asked me what I was reading lately. I told her, “Oh, I’m reading a book of Sufi tales about Jesus” and went on to explain who the Sufi are and how it relates to Jesus. Her reply? “Why would you want to read that if it’s not in the Bible?” Wha-wha-wha-what? I would think that if you love Jesus soooo much then you would want to read anything about him, to get the largest perspective. If you’re obsessed with Batman you’re not going to watch just Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. You’re not only going to read Grant Morrison’s run on the Batman comic. You’re going to watch Batman Returns and Batman Forever and the 1966 Batman Movie. You’re going to read all those lame Batman comics from the 50s and 60s. You’ll accept it all as part of the grand mythos of Batman. You do this because you want the most complete understanding of Batman you can possibly gain because, well, you love that guy. It would make no sense to say that this Batman movie or this Batman comic is the real cannon. All of it is part of an inclusive spirit that reveals itself in multiple manifestations, varied differentials that somehow are all part of one universal archetype.
By the way, this disdain also applies to atheists. Your belief in nothing beyond “this is all there is” is as provincial as believing in some anthropomorphic deity. Where religious folk represent imagination gone awry, atheists represent a dubious lack of imagination. Even science is a religion, folks.
In fact, we could just redefine religion right now to mean any belief system that excludes or negates the possibility of other belief systems.
I know this has been a long angry rant. The arguments aren’t organized. There are gaps in the logic and incomplete explanations for all the points I’m trying to address. I just don’t have it in me to go any deeper into this topic. I’m fed up. Enough is enough. I’M SICK OF RELIGION.