I Never Said Heaven Was the Goal
I understand how misinterpreting religion from a childish perspective leads to jihads, radical conservatism, pro-life rally’s, racism, sexism and homophobia and general apathy.
I understand how atheists in the public eye are often given death threats and are constantly harassed by all orthodox-level religious folks.
However, there are some tenants to a particular religion that I follow and I attend services and do other such activities. I believe in science, global warming and I try to do works of philanthropy weekly whether it’s petition signing or donating money or volunteering or buying $5 worth of groceries in my weekly basket for the homeless outreach program in my neighborhood. These are tiny things but they are just conscious reminders of how lucky I am, and how it’s my second job to be an informed American citizen.
I’m a lefty liberal and I also believe in God.
I never said God was Santa Claus or that he’s my Daddy in the sky or I’m going to party in the afterlife, like Bill Maher jokes about – YOU said that. My very private beliefs (although I choose to vaguely make them public here) have to do with my personal happiness, my personal connection to my role in the world. My religion does not act as a salve because I’m scared of death or act as a way to protect my fears of some afterlife that I think I can or can’t get in.
As a religious person I think I have more important less childish things to think about. Much like the beliefs of an atheist (and I have no problem with atheists. I don’t think everyone has to believe in God.) But my beliefs don’t cause me sit pondering about what happens when I die. I know I don’t prefer death and I’m a little scared of not living but who isn’t? And it’s not religion that influences that, that’s just narcissism. But what religion has taught me is that I can’t control death anyway so why don’t I do my job on Earth which is to be a truth teller and peace maker. Wow, how irrational of me!
The other thing is that I don’t just believe what’s told to me. I have never questioned more in my life then when I started to find that I was getting involved with my spiritualit and beliefs again. I don’t “do what I’m told” and I don’t think that was ever the intention of religion. We have free will but a moral obligation for peace. I think it’s that simple. And peace is good for selfish reasons as well. It makes everyone’s life easier and more abundant.
But true peace is challenging, it doesn’t just involve hating who is leading us to war, it’s a horrible challenge of compassion for even the most hateful freaks and being able to see the fear and pain in everyone, EVERYONE. That’s my belief and that’s what’s hard. I know that I’m not using my best most higher self thinking when I let myself get riled up and feel justified by the applause breaks that I agree with on Bill Maher’s show or the callers that call in to Air America. There is MORE than that one manipulated emotion.
I don’t think I’m stupid because I have a religion. I think I’m pretty smart and am extremely rational and embrace progress and change. I don’t think God is some entity who controls life on Earth. It’s not God’s job to jump in a battlefield and stop a war and I find that people who challenge my beliefs, who say, if there is a God why is there war? I feel like they’re acting and thinking as childishly as they perceive me to be for believing in God. Why is there war? Because there are humans and we’re an experiment and we fail. End of story. In my opinion. And I don’t know why anyone chooses to argue with me about God anyway. I could care less who believes and who doesn’t. What does my belief look like? Most of the times like a rebellious teenager shaking her fist. It’s just so damn personal, I don’t know why people argue this stuff.
Of course the religious politicians we know do seem to be of an extreme brand and they’re mostly unsettling and even when some Dems play that game, Hillary and Obama and Edwards saying that their faith influences decisions. Who cares? Just go for peace and we’ll sort of “get” that you might be a faithful person, but also no one fucking cares.
This all came about because Bill Maher mentioned on his show that he’s a rationalist and he rattled off what he doesn’t believe as testimony to this rational mindset. It’s sort of his way of saying religious=irrational and vice versa. I know it’s his point of view, his comedy, why not go the extra mile and really make a statement, but I actually think it’s as anti-intellectual sounding as some religious zealots. I think it’s quite rational and intellectual to think beyond our worldly selves. Thank God some people have because irrational thinking brought about some of our greatest leaders, scientists, philosophers and more.