Disclaimer: If you’re the type to take offense, please don’t.
Growing up, I didn’t know anything about my religion, or religion in particular. All I knew was that there was a family of Gods up in the sky who would punish me for rubbing my wiener everyday. I know its wrong, but its difficult to resist, especially when he shows up at odd hours. I love how it feels to stroke his head, and watch him relax into my lap.
I love my doggie very much, but sometimes he steps out of line and pees all over the carpet like he owns the damn house. That’s when I pull him aside and start beating him. It hurts me to do this, but someone has to, before it becomes a really hard problem to deal with.
Stop Being a Dick and Get to It
Like I said, I didn’t think much about the family upstairs who kept a tight watch on everyone down below. My parents said I was supposed to pray to them when we went to the temple, and even though I was inside a temple, I didn’t have the IQ to ask my parents what we were doing there if the Gods were upstairs and everywhere, but mostly upstairs.
I just went along with it, praying to all my Gods, as I walked around the temple barefoot. God has a distaste for footwear, so we had to leave them outside.
They also wanted menstruating women to stay away from the temple, and I thought it was fair to do so, because to my 8-year old mind, men straightening women is a sexist practice that had to go. Women aren’t cattle that need to be put back in line by men.
But men straightening women wasn’t the same as menstruating women. I thought it was a short form.
But 8-Year Old Me Didn’t Care.
All I wanted was to go back home, and cuddle into bed with my wiener and play with him some more. I can’t bring him out into the temple because they won’t let that happen. They think its “abhorrent” and “disrespectful”.
Just so you know, my doggie is every bit as loving and caring as we human beings are! Even more so I’m willing to bet!
Okay, I’ll Stop
When I was in second grade, I became friends with a girl in my school bus and by some twist of fate, we started talking about marriage. I didn’t bring up the topic. Women like talking about relationships, especially marriage, because it is the most important event in their life where she gets treated like a princess and offered a slave who will provide for her until death or divorce does them apart.
She asked me which religion I was from, and to that I answered, “Religion? Do you mean Relicanth?” I thought she was talking about Pokémon. “No!”, she exclaimed. “I’m talking about a wedding where a man and a woman unite and receive God’s blessings to start a family together.”
Remember, I mentioned earlier that I had a low IQ, so when she used words like “unite” and “wedding”, I nodded.
I knew I was stupid, but I didn’t want her to know I was really that stupid.
“So tell me, are you a Christian?” I nodded. “Really?” I nodded again.
“You’re lying. Tell me the truth, and don’t lie this time, you’re not as smart as you think you are.” She responded.
That kind of pissed me off. She didn’t have to put it that way. Can’t she appreciate how much effort I was putting into lying to her face?
Women these days. Think they are so clever.
Her: Have you been inside a Church?
Me: Of course I have. I’ve been inside a Temple. And you spelt Temple wrong its T-E-M-P-L-E not C-H-U-R-C-H. You need to work on your spellings.
Her: You’re not a Christian! AND Christians go to Church! You’re a Hindu, because you go to a Temple.
Me: Oh. We can still get married though.
That’s when the two senior girls sitting in front of us chimed in and said, “If you aren’t a Christian like her, then you can’t marry her. It goes against God’s will.”
Since they were elder to me, I didn’t say anything out of respect.
I whispered under my breath instead.
They aren’t the ones I’m trying to marry, so why does it matter to them? Can’t they mind their own business? And whats wrong with a marrying someone out of your religion?
They heard all of it. Its not like I wanted them to hear that, but I believe hiding it would go against God’s will.
One of them angrily replied, “Look, you’re only in second grade, you don’t know anything! My sister got married to a Muslim and I haven’t seen her in years!”
“Why not go and visit them?” I quipped.
“That is no way to talk to your senior! You’re hurting her feelings!” The other girl responded angrily.
I kept quiet.
I think God’s will had a profound effect that day. And I since can’t marry my Christian friend, I narrowly escaped life imprisonment.
The Selfish Gene
Fast forward to 7th grade, I started reading articles and watching debates online by famous atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and reverted to Atheism. I believed we were all born Atheists, and it was society that influenced us to take up religion. I was deeply upset by the violence being promoted by religion and the fairy tale used to seduce people towards its cause.
All the Gods hate each other and unanimously agree that the ones who refuse to follow them will be thrown into a fiery pit of hellfire for the rest of eternity.
But He Loves You.
He loves you enough to force you into eternal damnation. This didn’t make any sense to me, and since my parents did an excellent job of teaching me absolutely nothing about it, I readily reverted to Atheism. For the first time in my life, I felt alive; like I was finally striving towards something meaningful. I devoured whatever information I could find online regarding atheism and discussed it with like-minded souls. We were the enlightened ones among a crowd of sheeps, who wasted their time worshiping a deity that didn’t exist.
It Turned Into an Obsession.
And I started to hate religious believers for being so stupid.
This God hates the God you’re worshipping, and will send you to hell, but if you decide to switch sides, then the God you were worshipping will send you to hell for it. It seemed so obviously fake and manmade that I couldn’t hold it in anymore and started proselytising people to my side.
Didn’t work though, I was too smart for them.
Instead of addressing my arguments they started to viciously attack me.
I don’t know if my logic is sound, but I’d like to think I’m smarter than the people slinging insults at me.
I obviously have an ego problem. No I Don’t.
God Made it Clear
That you ought to worship him and condemn the others, but which one is it? There are so many to choose from, all offering the same advice. To me it seemed like a gamble. Doesn’t matter how good you are, or how frugal your lifestyle is; worship the wrong God, and off he sends you on a Road Trip to Hell.
I’d explain that to them, and they’d think I’m crazy, and ought to get my head examined.
As you can imagine, I was pretty upset. I finally understood how Jesus Christ felt when he endeavoured tirelessly to spread the word of God. The Romans didn’t want any of that, and dealt with him in a manner that made sure he’d never cross their path again.
By putting him on a cross.
But he rose back from the dead, so all’s well that ends well.
What Changed my View?
Atheism is something you grow out of. I didn’t meet God, or his family in one of my dreams, nor did I have a vision of Jesus in some forest nobody’s ever heard off.
Atheism, or at least the one I’m seeing in mainstream media, is really nihilism wrapped up in fluffy décor and touted as a form of progressiveness.
It isn’t a solution, its just a worldview, one that can get you ostracized or even killed.
It’s a Bloody Label.
Some mistakenly think, that by calling themselves an atheist, they are somehow smarter than the rest of humanity. Not judging, I was previously guilty of that.
Athiesm is a label, and it just doesn’t matter. Call yourself whatever you want, but if it attracts the wrong kind of attention, then put it aside. Talk about it to people who tune into the same frequency . For me, it is a topic to just toy around with, and not to be taken seriously.
But What About All the Violence Committed in its Name?!
What have you done about it? What can you do about it? And what can you do about it by calling yourself an atheist?
A lot of things are wrong, and if you don’t want that to continue, start by avoiding it yourself.
Here’s a Little Secret
Most people don’t actually believe in it either. They’ll tell you that they’re believers, and will also party and do drugs like there is no tomorrow the same afternoon. It just keeps society running.
Politicians will make use of it, but so what? If religion goes, then they’ll make use of our other deficiencies, like racism or sexism to promote their cause which always translates into bagging the top position and cashing in their prize.
But then again, religion will never leave us. We have a spiritual side, and to grow, one must cultivate it. Religion seeks to fulfil that role, and it has done so for centuries.
A Need to Believe
One thing you can’t deny is that we as a tribe, and as a society, have for years believed in all sorts of divinely inspired hocus pocus to quench our thirst for curiosity.
We once believed the night sky was adorned with crystal balls luminated by the sun. It’s a beautiful way of putting it, but now we know they are massive balls of swirling gases that fuse that very gas into the elements we are composed of. Its hard to believe, because it isn’t something we can analyse upfront, or put away in our pockets to show off to our friends later on in the day.
Which is quite the bummer if you ask me.
Staring at the night sky, you’d think all of what you are getting to see is happening in real time but its not. That light has been travelling for billions of lightyears, so what you are essentially looking at is the past. You are looking at a vast array of heavenly bodies that has ceased to exist.
But we didn’t know any of this back then.
Moses saw something in a burning bush, because he was a lot more creative than the rest of the tribes folk. When I look at a burning bush, I rip open my bag of marshmallows and start roasting them over the fire. I happen to be a simple man, just like the rest of the tribes folk.
So Are You an Atheist?
I’m neither an Atheist, nor am I a Believer.
I believe it’s a mistake to think of it as an either-or option.
I have a spiritual side, and so do you, and I desire to cultivate it. I want to experience lucid dreaming, nirvana, and maybe pay a visit to the machine elves running the whole show. I know this all sounds crazy, but trust me, it is.
And you won’t be open to these experiences if you are a hardcore skeptic. The way I see it, its better to remain in the center of the two extremes.
I’ve been on one side of the extreme, and it deprived me of the joys that came from the other end. I doubted everything, and became incredibly nihilistic.
People on the other side of the spectrum become fanatical, and are fuelled by hatred. They believe they are in the right and will be allowed into heaven, while the others will rot in hell.
But once I make it down into the middle, I can indulge in the religious experience without drowning, as I have strapped myself to a safety belt mended with threads of rationality.
Skeptical enough to know fact from fiction, but open-minded enough to experience new things.
Spiritual enough to take the leap, but skeptical enough to make sure that leap gets me somewhere worthwhile.
This is What I Believe now, and it can change over the course of the years.
If Spirituality is Your Thing
Start with learning how to lucid dream, that requires patience, awareness and correct sleeping pattern. I’ve had a handful of them, and I have to say, it is a deeply profound experience. I’ll write about it in the future.