Monday, May 9, 2011

Religion and Not

A few days ago, the best army in the world finally put a bullet through Osama’s head. New York is still celebrating, and the West Pointers are in their highest euphoria in decades. Even with an unlimited budget, and an endless flood of religious fanatics, one man cannot hide in this world. It took seven or eight years, but a great feat’s been accomplished.
Springboarding off of that topic, I turn an eye of introspection upon religion’s place in today’s world. Today, people find religion to be overrated. Atheism, in any form, is the fastest growing worldview in this world. There are many doubters about religion’s effectiveness.
Honestly, God doesn’t do too good a job of giving us something to believe for. Believing in a god that doesn’t help is what most people see believers as, and that viewpoint leaves much to be desired. Why believe in a God that lets millions of cancer patients die, after years of pain and agony? That’s how my grandfather went. Why would you believe in a God that allows this to happen to his most devout believers? I keep being told I will be asked these questions one day, and I myself could probably explain my way through an answer only after much confusion and blasphemy.
Before I jump into that mess, though, let me strip this down to the basics. Religion was, is, and hopefully will be an attempt to explain the world round us. It gives us an answer to most questions in everyday life. Throughout the years, with the absence of an explanation for anything else that could be mistaken for a rational answer, people turned to the mythos of the world to explain. With the advent of science, people started to believe that religion couldn’t answer everything. Science does provide rational, realistically based answers for pretty much anything, and the questions we all have are one by one being answered by this new god.
Also arriving with science was the advent of rapid communication. When one student in Washington, D.C. got kidnapped on the way to school, parents in Georgia started panicking and demanding more bus stops to reduce the walks. This was mainly the result of the media omitting “in Washington, D.C.”, making the event happen in your backyard. Communication similarly spun the few stories of Catholic Clerical pedophilia to make it seem like all Catholic priests followed suit. Suddenly, every God-fearing pastor is secretly molesting the altar boy.
The most popular worldview is the movement of Secular Humanism, which grew out of the post-world war clean-up. An entire religious race was all but wiped out, and much of Europe was in shambles. People who asked where God was asked louder, and many answered the question themselves. Secular Humanism tells that truth is relative, subject to change, fluid. It focuses on the person: YOU are your own God, and the world is your fishbowl. Truth is what you make of it. There are many inherent problems with this line of thought. First being that, if truth is relative, then the line of fallacy is very blurry. The murderer felt the deed was obviously okay, though the jury found him guilty. The second problem is that, if you’re the god of yourself,  you’re obviously not bulletproof.
Even if the movement of Secular Humanism claims to have “universal values and truths” that came to be from thousands of years of civilization, such views still leave much open to consideration. With the thousands of years in mind, are we speaking of the societies of the projects, or of Hollywood, or of Capital Hill? I don’t aim to assume any of those value sets. Also, in a community without set boundaries, such as secular Humanism, even these truths and values are subject to interpretation.
So why do I harp about the values of religion? Why do I speak of this nebulous, nonresponsive being called God? Why do I believe in a worldview that restricts me to one rigid way of life?
First, I would like to make a disclaimer: In speaking of God, I do not mean the God of any but the Christian doctrine. Though I say this, I am defending all religion. Don’t worry though; I’ll attack all the religions later.
Okay, onto the rebuttal. Let me get my bible out…
First off, the major religions are solid. They each have doctrines which have stood the test of time. If nothing else, they are a great way to grow your family. Nothing brings people together like religion. Well, except soccer, football, hockey, NASCAR, skydiving, school, doctor’s appointments, (etc, etc, etc.).
Religion brings people together because it gives them guidelines to live by. I can’t say religion prohibits interpretation and self-explanation, but in the Christian Bible, I find it difficult to interpret “love your neighbor” as irrelevant and wrong. There are many values that, when left to personal introspection, leads to many different opinions that clash. Again, the murderer disagrees with the jury. The reason you can’t just go on your on tangent with religion is that you run the risk of having a God’s wrath. Sure, many people are having the best time on Earth without their God, but no matter what you believe in, you still run that risk of some sort of Hell. Thus, religious people keep themselves as close to good as they can. This keeps them in line.
So, for nothing else, you can manipulate religion much more easily than non-religion to make people believe you. In Fahrenheit 451, Jesus was used to promote the government’s products. The television would show Jesus Christ telling the population how he loves using a certain type of detergent, and the population would follow. It really is a beautiful strategy.
Now, I defend my faith. Christianity today is seen as extremely hypocritical. Whether it’s the story of one priest’s molestation of the altar boy, or the Westboro Baptist’s hate-filled view on our soldiers. Terry Jones’ burning of Qurans leads people to believe the exact opposite of Christians: that we are all hate-filled people. Sadly, the reputation of the church leaves much to be desired. A thousand years of baggage bogs down the Catholic authority.
Christianity, out of all the religions, is the only one that speaks of loving your neighbor—AND your enemy. It’s a great ideal, though it doesn’t mean that you can let your Christian brother off the hook every time he kills someone. Nope, you can still go to prison (though I feel like, if anything, the judge should be afraid of his soul the most.) if you blow away the next guy.
On Earth, you receive the fruits of your labor harshly. The same does not apply for salvation, though; you can believe that anyone can reach heaven. My youth minister always says “you’ll be surprised at who is in heaven and who isn’t.” We all expect Osama Bin Laden to burn in Hell forever. A friend of mine, though, walked up to me and asked me for his opinion on something.
“JBlancs, when I heard the news that Osama was dead, my first thought was ‘I hope he met Jesus before he died’. Is that okay to think?”
Obviously, Osama isn’t the first person you’d expect to find in heaven. Neither is he the person many would expect to, upon expiration, rise to heaven. I personally believe he’s roasting quite nicely, though it’s not my place to play judge.
Speaking of death, I leave you on a note of death. Religion, at least my religion, allows mourners to mourn less; instead of you losing your mother for your entire life, you lose her until you kick the bucket. I have been to two Christian funerals, and the one I remember was much less somber than most others have witnessed. You cry a lot less when you feel like your loved one is with Him who you both love.
I get the feeling I’m going to go deeper into this topic later.
So, let’s wrap this up, because I’m starting on my third page and I wouldn’t read more than three and a half. Religion is a great controller. It (Christianity) also makes your life easier, because you know that there’s something after death. It makes deaths easier to suffer. I guess I could call Christianity “the counterbalance to Capitalism”. Atheism and Secular Humanism are both growing about as fast as the national deficit, and people are paying about the same attention to each. The problem is that, just like the deficit, these worldviews go nowhere, and are self-destructive. Religion keeps you grounded, reliable. It gives you a larger family to help and to lean on. And religion is dying faster than Osama with a bullet through the eye. 


  1. Truly enjoyed reading this post. I am a Christian. I am not religious, because people tend to confuse religion with Christianity. A Christian Follows Jesus, and Religion follows rules and traditions. I Say all this to say that people tend to blame God for many things. Just as you so bluntly put it, a cancer patient goes years and years through suffering and finally dies at the end... Where's the "love" in God for that. What one doesn't remember is that God created everything perfect,but there was a villain in the story - Satan. Satan came and caused God's perfect creation to fall, to sin. Thus the effects of sin, such as death, fear, pain, hurt and suffering began. Now religion is what I like to call morphine for the soul. It soothes the pain and numbs whatever is hurting to cause a false sense of joy and peace. The problem with religion is that the symptoms come back because the emptiness never went away. A True Christian or Christ-follower has God, yes, THE LIVING GOD dwelling within them. They are still not perfect and thus falls OVER AND OVER AND OVER again, causing a stain and embarrassment over their name and God's but their peace and joy never leaves them, because God never leaves them. There are or should not be traditions in Christianity, but unforgivably this is; but when a True Christian reveals him or herself, you just know there's something different about them. True Christianity will NOT die, because God says in Revelation, that he will always keep a remnant. Even when the Anti-Christ comes to kill us all off :), There will always be his Remnant. I did enjoy reading your post, very intriguing.

  2. thank you for your interest. there's a shirt that's going around, and I really need to purchase one. it says "I'm not perfect, just forgiven". That reason is why I herald Christianity again and again. Many nonbelievers see Christainity as incredibly hypocritical, though they fail to see, as you said, that the followers of God are followers, not equal to. I would like to hold my Christian brothers up to a higher standard, though I know that even a lower standard would still fail. That's the illogical beauty of Christianity.


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