For those who know me, they know that religion is generally a 4 letter word in my mind. After all, I had horrendous experiences with it from an early age until I got out of the church. The first molester got me when I was just a few years old while going to the bathroom in a church. I still remember hearing the congregation singing their hymns above us, as the molester was having fun with me in the downstairs basement bathroom.
Of course, it continued on to the caretakers of my life that told me how much God loved me and the way in which they were required to demonstrate that to me. After all, how could anyone not want to be loved by God and in such a special way (insert sarcasm voice here). The thing was, everyone turned their head to the emotional, physical and sexual abuse I was going through. If they couldn't see what was happening, I'm sure it was just like the rest of our society who closes their eyes to the evil before them.
I learned to praise God in the church while knowing first hand just how special God was to my little sexual body. I learned to be completely devoted to my church, its teachings and God, while my older brother was being questioned by the police for his inappropriate sharing with two little boys he was babysitting. After all, we were to follow the teachings of the church without question.
These teachings were pretty strict too, like not being able to be seen by the members of the opposite sex in a bathing suit because it might lead to sex. There were those moments when we were not allowed to go to movie theaters because these same movie companies were helping the industry that put out porn. However, I guess the minister got a pass while watching the raunchy version of HBO in those days on his TV. We can't forget either how we were not supposed to go into any restaurants that served alcohol because it might make someone else think we possibly could be drinking and we condoned it, which then led that person to taking a drink and becoming an alcoholic. There are many more teachings I could detail, but to say we went to a strict church is like saying the sun is bright - its a forgone conclusion.
Then when I became paralyzed and life got turned upside down for me, I had people telling me I should just pray about it. Yep, after all God will take care of me just like he did when I was being repeatedly raped as a child and just like he did when I was paralyzed. If that wasn't enough, they would urge me to just forgive those that did these things to me, when my body and soul was so angry and only wanted to see them harmed. In other words, you make us feel uncomfortable, so please shut up and you do that by forgiving them.
For years, I struggled to even walk close to a church, let alone walking into a church. If I made it inside, anxiety would be so high that I could only run out the door. I tried and tried again, but something inside of me said, you don't need this. As I began to grow and heal, I started to see these churches for what they are - brainwashing organizations that harbor some of the most down and out people and where molesters and thieves hide out. I got to a point in life that I started to truly get to know myself and realized that these teachings are nothing more than man's opinions disguised as fairy tale beliefs.
To this day, I have very little use for it. Yes, I have some friends that are active in church and I admire them for it. Church is not for me! Maybe that will change in the future, but I'm not there yet. The thing is, I don't need to have my mind manipulated by beliefs and follow something because others claim this is the truth. In all reality, they truly don't know what the truth is either, but it doesn't stop them from following it blindly.
Maybe I'm intolerance of the churches and their teachings because of my past, just like they are of me. Maybe I love them as much as they love those who don't agree with them. Regardless, I get so tired of having this religion shoved in my face while listening to these people complain that they are so persecuted. The last time I checked, they were still free to worship in their expensive buildings and self pontificate every Sunday. Last time I checked, they were getting a tax free ride on the backs of hardworking people who don't share their views, while listening to these places spew hatred for those who don't follow their narrow minded views. That doesn't sound like anyone is persecuting them - at least in my mind.
I still think these people should be allowed to assemble in their massive over priced and money wasting buildings. However, I don't think I need to see them at every turn screaming and shouting in my ear or proclaiming that they know what is best for this country or for other people. You can't convince them of that though, because they think they are anointed by God to have all the answers. They don't desire to hear anything but what they can regurgitate from what what they have been taught.
Some day I may begin to once again see this differently, but for now I don't need these things in my life. I am discovering life in a new way and seeing much more hope and possibility than at any time in my life. I believe there is a spiritual force in this world, but it is within us - not something that you throw money in an offering plate too and follow what is dictated. Of course, maybe one day these religious people in churches may actually learn what love one another means and what following Jesus is all about. Of course, I might just be living in a fairy tale world at that point too.
If I have offended you with respect to your religion, I do apologize because that is not my intent. If you know me, you will realize that I do push the envelope of human awareness and consciousness. I try to get people to think, rather than go through life accepting everything at will. It is much better when we can think on our own two feet rather than follow the masses. If you still are offended, there isn't much I can do. I do appreciate well thought out and respectful responses, but I do not tolerate comments where someone decides to preach their beliefs or spew their hatred. Those comments will most likely not be published or they will be heavily edited.
Blog Post And Images (c) 9/12/12 by Don Shetterly
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