Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Little Bo Peeple Lost Her Sheeple.

Well just one sheeple to be exact, and that would be me.

I first heard the term sheeple a while back in reference to religion. Sheeple being people who blindly follow something.

I will honestly and openly admit that I was a sheeple for approximately 4 1/2 years of my life. That is, I attended church quite regularly during that time.

When I was 12 I was "saved" by Christ. When I was 14 I was again "saved" by Christ. Both times I openly talked (and yes, cried a little) about how I couldn't remember my life without God. And that I now knew what it meant to be truly happy. Oh and what a horrible person I was before I let Jesus into my heart.

You know, the typical stuff.

Looking back on those occasions, I truly had no idea what I was doing. By this I mean, I said those things and thought I felt those things (the key word being thought) but I didn't truly feel those things, even though at the time I thought I did.

The more I've thought about this, the more I've come to realize that churches have quite a power over people.

I know that people who are atheist or non-religious have a hard time understanding people who blindly follow a religion.

But coming from the religious side over to where I am now, I understand completely.

Churches find a way to draw you in, with say, fun events and the like. They make it "non-religious" type activities and so people don't feel like they are being preached to. The church people running the events are extremely pleasant and helpful and make you feel like you belong and that they're your friend.

Then you continue to come to events and eventually start attending church a few times a week. If you listen to them talking, you start learning the "word of God" and if you stay in the church long enough, they have you right where they want you and can pretty much get you to believe anything.

I can honestly say this is how I ended up at Sunday morning sermon, Sunday morning youth group, Sunday morning small groups, teaching Sunday school, singing in the church choir, teaching Wednesday night groups, being a camp counselor for church youth, teaching Vacation Bible School, pretty much the whole works.  And yes I was at church approximately 3 times a week, sometimes more.

Because I have lived it (and have preached to others in my youth), I have a deep understanding of people who get involved in religion and then end up wondering what happened when the church screws them over or something bad happens. 

Churches are schooled in the ways of getting people to follow them.

Tonight I listened to a vlog of a local pastor, more out of curiosity because half my community (ok it feels like half) attends this church.

The pastor was talking about his recent diagnosis with an illness and he then said (and I am quoting but it isn't a direct quote per say), "Yes I have an illness. God will choose whether he wants to heal me or not. If he does, that's fabulous. If not, I won't lose my faith in him."

I literally chuckled out loud at this. Because I could pray to my toilet to heal me. It may or may not. If it does, great. If it doesn't, then I won't lose my faith in it. Same as any other "thing" we want to have heal us.

And while I'm at it, I don't think people of faith are stupid or less intelligent than I am. I've met very intelligent people who are religious.

I think that those of us who choose not to be religious are just wired differently, that's all.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy "Easter"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Understanding Lent

Or "lint" as I sometimes call it. Hey they sound sort of the same, right?

I digress already.

Up until last year, I thought of Lent as that stupid thing people did to stop doing some habit they shouldn't be doing.

When I was a churchgoer, I regularly did Lent, although I wasn't catholic (and I'm still not).

I never realized that Lent had a purpose besides, like I said before, giving up some habit or something you love dearly until Easter.

Like, one year, I gave up sleeping with my stuffed animal. That was literally the hardest thing to do because I had been sleeping with that particular stuffed animal since I was 9 (I was 17 at the time). And in case anyone cared, after Lent I picked up my habit of sleeping with my stuffed animal and continued to do so until I was 21. Then I traded the stuffed animal for my boyfriend (now husband).

So obviously giving something up for "Lent" didn't do me a whole lot of good huh.

In the last few years I've gotten to know a lady who is catholic, and quite a serious one at that. She came in on Ash Wednesday with ash on her forehead (and does every year).

Last year she explained Lent in a way that completely made sense to me. She said that during Lent you sacrifice something in order to be closer to God. Such as, if you give up facebook for Lent, use the time you would have spent on facebook reading the bible or going to church or some other activity that brings you closer to God. The purpose of Lent is to become closer to God.

It sounds so incredibly simple and yet I had. no. idea.

I found this interesting that I'm nearly 30 years old and I had no idea the true purpose of Lent and what it meant up until last year.  Probably because there's all these "lent posers" who give up something for lent only to look cool or something.

I know that I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was doing when I gave up stuff for Lent. I thought I was just torturing myself for six weeks or so.

So even though I haven't bothered with Lent in years (and don't have any plans to bother with it ever), I now have a better understand of the true purpose behind it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

How many ways can you interpret the bible?

Surprisingly, I actually watched television last night. This is surprising because I so very rarely watch television. Mostly because there's crap shows on like Jersey Shores or Desperate Housewives.

Anyways, last night my friend turned on the television and 20/20 is on. They featured a story on IFB churches (Independent Fundamental Baptists). We were hooked the first few minutes of the show starting.

It was horrific, to say the least.

They condone and encourage spanking/beating children to "break the will of the child" because it somewhere says to in the bible.  There's even videos (I'm sure on youtube) of pastors discussing how much to beat children. In some instances, the pastors beat the children.

A girl featured on there had been sexually abused and raped by a man. She went to her youth pastor for help (at the IFB church) and what does he do? He started sexually abusing her too. The man who raped her got her pregnant and she was whisked off to a different state and forced to give the baby up for adoption, while the rapist was allowed to continue going to church as though nothing was wrong.

What's worse is the poor girl (who was a young teenager during all of this), who was pregnant with her rapist's child, was forced to write a letter to his wife, apologizing for disrupting her marriage and life!

During the midst of the show, I turned to my friend and said, "I always find it fascinating how many different ways the bible is interpreted for people's motives."

And I'm sure some people thought, "Why don't they just leave the church?"

But from experience (not anything like what those people have been through), it's hard. People in churches are trained to say the right things and once you hear them over and over, it becomes a "fact" in your mind.

And if you grew up in an environment like that, where you were told that you're a child or a woman and the man is in charge, and you're subjected to that day in and out, I can definitely see where you start to pick up that mindset and fully believe it.

While I experienced nothing even remotely close to what those poor women suffered, I do understand the brainwashing part of it all.

I've been gone from church for almost 12 years and I still carry a few "things" that church ingrained in me.

For example, "A person who does not follow the way of Christ will not ever know true happiness. They will always be lost. They cannot ever know fully happiness unless they find their love for God."

I can't even tell you how many times that above phrasing was said to me. I seriously believed it. In fact, at random times in my life still, it crops up in my head.

I only went to church consistently for approximately four years of my life. I cannot imagine having gone my entire life or for much longer than I did, the things that people were brainwashed to believe.

My heart goes out to them and I hope they find the strength to leave their church.

Monday, April 4, 2011

On the fence.

I know when I posted a while back, I mentioned that I was interested in all religions.

It's true.

I suppose I just want to understand and dissect religions and know what makes them tick. It's the same with always being curious as to people's religious choices and why they believe what they do. I don't condemn them for choosing a certain path; merely I just wonder how it is they ended up choosing the religion they did.

I know that religion is a hot topic in that people tend to get highly offended when their beliefs are put on out there to be dissected. But I'd like to think that I keep a pretty open mind when it comes to discussing people's religious choices. Do I always agree with their choice? No. But if it works for them, then why should I try to persuade them any different?

Besides, for all the times I've been preached to about why I should become religious, I'd like to think I turn the other cheek, so to say, and not do it back to them about why they shouldn't be religious.

This isn't to say that I've never tried to persuade someone otherwise, but that post will come at a later date.

For years I struggled with whether or not a god existed. I had a hard time being in the gray area of it all. I wanted to know whether he (or she) existed or not.

But as I've gotten older I've learned it doesn't matter one way or the other. So I've come to rest comfortably on the fence, not knowing one way or the other.

My reasoning for being on the fence is simple: there isn't enough in the world to prove or disprove the existence of god to me. Therefore, the fence is where I am.

I think I just have too much else in my life to worry about and the topic of god existing isn't high on my priority list ya know?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why pretend to be a dead baby?

I've discovered something that really bothers me (besides the other obvious things that bother me).

Let me explain.

On, a family member invited me to an event to pray for a baby girl who was undergoing surgery.   This isn't a family any of us knows first of all, and second, I don't pray so I didn't respond to the invite either yay or nay.

Unfortunately, the baby girl passed away. Then a new event cropped up for her memorial service.

I don't know if the family intentionally did this, but since the event is public and their wall is open, anyone can post on the wall.  Meaning, they've gotten a lot of really bizarre comments.

The ones that bother the absolute shit out of me, are the people pretending to be the baby girl. They tell the parents that they're happy playing up in heaven with Jesus.

For example, here's a post direct off that wall:

a message from (the baby):
Mommy & Daddy, don't cry, 'cause God is holding my hand and telling me everything is OK. Mommy, God said that I will never want for anything and I will still feel your love all the way up here. I ♥ u Mommy & Daddy! 

Ok seriously?

How the hell does pretending to be a grieving couple's dead child bring any sort of comfort?

If you can't think of anything sympathetic to say, such as offering your condolences, then why the hell are you saying anything at all?

Why do people think this is ok?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday