by pissed off patricia
This morning I read the comments regarding my entry yesterday about thinkers and non-thinkers. Some people seemed to take offense, because they felt that I had lumped all religious people into the non-thinking category. That was not my intent, as evidenced by two sentences. First I referred to this particular group of people by identifying them as, "way out there" religious and later I referred to them as the "extreme religious right". I did not in any way imply that if one believed in a god, they were not capable of thinking. Surely they are, but there are some who, due to their total reliance on the thinking of others, will allow themselves to be blindly led rather than look to see where they are going.
I can and do respect other people's views, but that comes with a caveat. My views must also be respected. I will listen to an argument as long as it is factual and not just emotional. If you want to believe there is a god somewhere up in the sky, that is surely your right, but you must understand I have an equal right not to believe that same way. I don't admire any more or think any less of anyone who considers himself or herself a religious person. What I do admire is a religious person who practices the goodness that they say the bible teaches. What I do not admire is a religious person who believes it is their right, via the bible and their church, to dictate to the rest of the world. If you believe that abortion is wrong, don't have one. If you believe that same sex marriage is wrong, don't marry someone of your own sex. When you try to stop others from doing what they feel is right for them and for their lives, then you have stepped over the line that separates your bible from our Constitution.
Having said all this, I was raised in a religious home where church and Sunday school attendance were required when possible. I did it all. I learned to be kind, don't tell lies, and I learned all the words to, "Jesus Loves Me." It wasn't the church that turned me against religion, it was the people in the church. It was the person who would stand before the congregation and tell them that they must give more money to the church. It was the sight of the collection plate being passed before me with large sums of money carefully placed on the plate's green velvet lining. It was the embarrassment as the plate was handed to me and I had no money to contribute. It was the resulting looks from those around me as I passed the plate away from me and it contained the same amount of money as it had when it was passed to me. Apparently it wasn't enough for a poor little girl to attend and try to learn how to be a good person. They wanted money. There was an implied fee for these life instructions, a fee I couldn't pay.
Then later in life certain members of my family declared they had been "saved" again. Once just wasn't enough apparently. Now that they had been doubly saved, they were free to commit whatever acts they liked because it seems that with double saving you are relieved of all responsibilities. You can lie and cheat, and hell, you can even steal. No sweat. They seemed to feel they were now in some superior level of humanity that would allow one to do anything without guilt, or remorse, or personal responsibility. They had entered the chosen zone and anyone who had not entered that same zone was some sort of lesser form of life. It was sad for me as I watched them change. They changed so much. One of them joined an exercise group at their church and actually told me she was working out for Jesus. I wanted to ask her what exactly that meant, but why bother. I doubt she could have heard me because I was, in her eyes, so far below her new heavenly station in life.
It is my contention that the biggest detriment to organized religion is the people who take religion to the extreme. Personally, I would rather spend one hour weeding my garden under the hot summer sun than spend one minute with a person who is peddling their god and their faith. It has been my experience that trying to live a good life, causing no intentional harm to anyone, and helping people whenever possible is much more beneficial to the world than attending church once a week and paying your "guaranteed to get you into heaven" insurance premiums in the form of donations placed in a collection plate with a green velvet lining.