My Current Feelings on Religion

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For a few years, I was really pissed at religion. Not necessarily at religious people, I always understood that religious people are just like any other group of people, some are well-meaning and kind and others are power-hungry jerks. Most others fall somewhere in the middle, just like the rest of humanity. Of course, when you are angry at religion in general (or Christianity specifically in my case), those who believe in that religion tend to take whatever you say personally, as if you are attacking them rather than a belief system. I understand to an extent. When you are devoted to a religion, you struggle with any criticism of it because you find much of your identity within that belief system and you honestly believe that God himself will hold you accountable if you don’t defend him (that whole “whoever publicly acknowledges me before others” thing Jesus said).

So why was I mad at religion, and specifically Christianity? Mostly, a feeling of betrayal. I came to the conclusion through much biblical and historical study that the scriptures are not inerrant (and were somewhat put together by Rome for political purposes) and everything kind of crumbled after that. Without the belief in perfect scriptures, I found it impossible to believe much of anything because who knows which parts might be right and which are wrong? Logical questions also played a huge role in my de-conversion. For instance, why in the world would a being create a system where the only way he could forgive wrongs done against him was to send part of himself to earth in the form of his son and excruciatingly kill himself? Why the whole blood sacrifice thing? Isn’t that a bit barbaric and pagan actually? If God can do anything, why in the heck couldn’t he just forgive without something innocent having to be murdered? The more I thought things through, the more I felt betrayed because I had devoted so much of my life to these beliefs that now made no sense to me.

All these feelings haunted me and the more I concentrated on it, the angrier I felt and the more I felt duped all those years. I started listening to atheist voices (even though I was never an atheist, I consider myself an agnostic now). Some of these atheists I listened to were nuanced and considerate of at least some religious sensibilities, but some definitely were not. Through all this though, it is kind of funny, I still felt bad for some reason when Jesus was maligned. To this day I still nearly wince when awful things are said about Jesus. I guess old loyalties die hard. I still occasionally listened to my old Christian rock records too, just because I like them. I still prayed, sometimes desperately, just hoping if there was ANYTHING out there it would let me know. Unfortunately, no great revelation was made.

So that brings us to today…and how do I feel now? Rather unemotional actually. Yes, there are still parts of religion I dislike, especially when taken to a literal extreme. Yes, I still listen to Jars of Clay (my favorite Christian group) and still don’t really like Jesus being abused. I’ve come to the conclusion I just like the guy, whether he ever really existed or whether his story was greatly exaggerated, I still like the guy. I find that there are still lessons I learned in the church that apply and I’m glad I was a Christian for all those years. Without it, I doubt I would be as sensitive and caring about social issues and I simply wouldn’t be the same person. I cherish the relationships I made during those years and all the people I loved. I’m not angry anymore. I’m still firmly agnostic, but am always open if some greater force wants to contact me. You’ve got my number God, hit me up sometime.

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17 thoughts on “My Current Feelings on Religion

  1. Maranda, it’s really great that you’ve overcome a lot of that anger. It’s always healthy to be open to truth from wherever it comes, just as it’s always a temptation to close ourselves off from anything related to people/groups we’ve been at odds with. I know I still struggle with this lots myself!

    Given my interests, I tend to want to write long mini-essays whenever theological points are raised, lol, but that’s not really the point of your post, so I’ll resist. I’ll just reiterate that I think the 2 main points about Christianity you mention here — a narrow view of biblical “inerrancy” (as if it were a historical or scientific account in the modern sense) and the valorization of a certain “penal substitutionary” model of the atonement — are really much more characteristic of late modern Protestant fundamentalism than how Christians for 20 centuries, and most around the world today, have understood their faith. (To take just one example, since you’ve mentioned liking him, C. S. Lewis did not subscribe to either of these 2 ideas, and yet he’s rightly looked upon as an examplar of Christian orthodoxy, and certainly no theological liberal.) So I hope you continue your spiritual search as widely as possible. But if you ever *do* consider Christianity again, I hope you’ll look at the broad, catholic, orthdox mainstream of the Christian tradition — for which faith is a matter much less of rationalistic certainty than of trust in and reverence before the mystery of absolute love become flesh and poured out upon the world.

    In any case, and as always, I so value you and the openness, humility, compassion, and authenticity you radiate. Whether it’s matter of thinking about serious questions or enjoying and relishing the fun things in life, you are what I’d emphatically call “good company.” It sounds basic, but I can’t tell you how much people need that.

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    1. I must admit that I do like the way you look at Christian theology better than how a lot of protestants look at it. If I were to venture into Christianity again it would have to be from more of a metaphorical standpoint and definitely not a literalistic one. I am glad that I have found it easier and easier to let go of the anger. That just isn’t good for me or anyone else really.

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  2. I feel the problem with those who take it personally is held in those who cannot differentiate spirituality from human metaphysicality. There are two bases of religious behavior, the first of which derives from family tradition and the influence by association rooted in childhood teaching that instills an irreparable link to totality as empirical truth. If anyone bothered to study in depth the bible they would understand the texts are comprised of Mesopotamian mythology, poetry and an early historical documentation of multiple civilizations such as the Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians. The earliest form of religion took place as mythology in the Neolithic communities of hunters and gatherers who found spiritual resonance in animals because animals gave food and in sight of obtaining nourishment the hunt became symbolic to the creature. In the middle Neanderthal era we suddenly see a progression in the mind’s ability to associate meaning as means to connect to the supernatural. But only in the metaphorical sense. The temple Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is the perfect example of humanities religious origin and the progress that followed.

    Religion in the modern age is connected through the ancient traditions and not entirely clear in the context of definition which only adds contention between all sides who only want to find meaning central to their existence. Generations of important facts and layers which would help shape the intention of each has only allowed splinters of initial meaning to take on new branches which always seems to be indicating the same message however filtered through particular orthodoxies which are only as good as the idiosyncratic authorship in the first place. The element of sincerity in Christianity among believers who are confused to the central meaning I find shockingly contentious and in my opinion have done more to harm civilization than any other theology. Why believe in loving your brother and sister if you only remain stubborn and convey hypocrisy that isn’t representative of the intention. I support Christian’s who are the genuine article in upholding the message. It is thought that Catholicism and Christianity are the great evil in the sense it is basically one big setup of indestructible corporations where only the highest within profit off the fears of the people who are only seeking validation. But this type of exploitation of human suffering and longing for loved ones if not the fate of your own life was exploited in the time of the Book of the Dead which not only gives us the source of the ten commandments but the original profiting from individual commissioning of the scroll to ensure successful entrance into the afterlife. Any Egyptian worker could buy their very own book to ensure a trip to the afterlife.

    There is now enough information that many including myself believe the source of everything involving Christianity came to us from Kemet (the original name before the Greeks called it Egypt) and this was deciphered in the time of Cleopatra when Christ emerges once Rome conquered Egypt and began using previous Greek translations of all the temple walls and papyrus to understand the complex Egyptian theosophy at which point reinterpret it to fit their own system. The Ankh symbol is the cross, Christ is Horus, Mary is Isis and God is Osiris and the Devil is Set. The halo shown on early Christianity art is actually the Sun Disc that even appears in Peruvian and Aztec imagery. If you read the original creation myth specifically, Christ’s resurrection as Horus it becomes eerily concrete that what we were told for 2,000 years and what is the main foundation of the world including Hinduism and Buddhism is just reinterpretation. Religion in Egypt was born of an existential analogy of the human body and an explanation of every virtue or vice of every physical exterior in the presence of observation. Hence animal virtues symbolically verging with human demeanors and more importantly to connect cosmology with the land below. The constellations are the origin of heaven, in particular Orion’s belt is in fact in the shape of Khufu the same pharaoh who resurrected the great pyramids in the direct geometrical alignment with the constellation and who built inside the great pyramid his solar boat to counter the Nile’s annual floods whereupon he brought with him animals of virtue on his journey. If this sounds similar to Noah’s Ark than rest assured it is probably the true origin. The people writing the bible and who appear in the bible are from Jerusalem and Israel who were documenting Egyptian religion which became the center of Christianity.

    The more you search into ancient history the more you find the origins of simplistic parts of Christianity and all religion. The utterance of Amen at the end of prayers is sourced from the Egyptian god Amun which was also spelled Amen. The people of Kemet raised their hands to Amun as the highest and ended all sacred talks with this message. The Pope’s mitre is derived from the priest of ancient mesopotamian fish worship called Dagon. I could go on but I don’t want to detract from the point at hand which is the manifestation of the resurrected Christ in whatever historical form he represents. There is no shame in upholding the philosophy of love and kindness and since nobody knows the true meaning of life anyhow we continue to go on trying to rationalize and create to understand what is before us and what astronomical strides in the matter of the universe can be accomplished to understand more. Are we the only living organisms in our universe? We will never know but that didn’t stop the Egyptians or anyone else from associating themselves with the unknown to find purpose and affirmation.

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    1. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it? I also agree that Judaism and Christianity definitely were highly influenced by Egyptian mythology. Even though the Bible tries to criminalize Egyptian beliefs and make them evil, they copied so many of them over. Going back before Egpyt I think Sumerian were about the first to have actual beliefs we could figure out somewhat and they influenced Egyptian beliefs greatly if I remember right (been a while since I studied all that stuff in depth). I really enjoy learning all that kind of stuff though. Mythology and especially “hidden knowledge” has always appealed to me greatly. Sometimes I think I really am a Pagan witch at heart lol. I don’t buy into the Gods/Goddesses stuff literally anymore than Christianity, but I do like the Gods and Goddesses as archetypes and teachers in a sense.

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      1. If you like witchcraft you might like the Malleus Maleficarum. It was written in 1487 way before the Salem trial and was the first document of accusation against any woman of suspicion regarding grimoires and ancient pagan ceremonies. The hysteria was made even worse due to the woodcuts of various demons. The 1922 film Haxan directed by Benjamin Christensen is a really good ahead of its time recreation of the book with eleborate scenery from the manuscript. Furthermore have you heard of Sister Wendy Becket? She’s considered an anomoly because of her devotion to Christ but also her open minded view of ancient history, art and social beliefs. For some reason the church has allowed her to write books on art history and even produce TV mini series. A really cool lady whose intelligence reminds me of you.

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      2. I have indeed heard of the Malleus Maleficarum and probably would enjoy reading it. I’ve read several books on Salem and always liked those. I don’t think I have heard of Wendy Beckett. I’ll have to look her up, she certainly sounds interesting.

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