I don’t believe in organized religion. There. I said it.
First, let me clarify. I don’t believe that organized religion should be something necessary to be a “good person” and I don’t believe that God (or Buddha or Allah) cares how many times you say the F-word or jaywalk. I think God (or Buddha or Allah) cares about how many people you care for. How generous you are. How willing to help you are. How much of yourself you give away to do so. And I don’t think that, in order to do these things, you have to be part of a congregation. I believe that your relationship with your god (whichever one you choose) is yours and yours alone and I, for one, don’t appreciate being criticized for not going to worship with people who will likely be sitting in the row behind me, talking about my outfit anyway.
I went to church until I was 17. I went to a very liberal, very friendly, very modest church (the services aren’t even broadcast on television, if you can imagine) and I was fortunate that I had such a wonderful, charismatic, and loving pastor to guide me. Believe it or not, he is still one of my favorite people. And not because he led the congregation, but because I respect him. I respect that he went to school for Literature and then Acting before deciding to become our pastor. And because he speaks Hebrew and Latin and is quite possibly one of the most educated people that I have ever met. His faith only makes him more fascinating.
When I was taking my confirmation classes I asked him why, if your relationship with God was personal, you had to go to church. And he told me that you don’t have to go to church to have a relationship with God. You just have to have faith and live the best life that you can live and be reminded of His love and try to live as Jesus lived. That we all are sinners and that some sinners, just need more guidance than others and for some, it helps to have someone there to show them the path to righteousness. Years later, after taking several Philosophy and Religion classes and being fascinated by the differences and similarities in cultures and even parts of our own country, I have determined that, not only do I not want the kind of guidance that a congregation can give me but that I want to be free to make my own decisions about my faith and my beliefs.
I don’t want the pamphlets from the guy standing on the corner in front of a bar preaching that we will all burn in hellfire or the lecture from the guy in the mall who says that I will burn for having a tattoo, piercing my body, or dying my hair. I don’t need these judgments or people’s attempts at saving me from myself or the forces that be. Nor do I accept them. But even unaccepted, they still come. Sometimes it seems, from every direction. That said, I will admit that I might be just a tad sensitive to it. I might even see it where it isn’t, and I might even react. Sometimes hastily, but other times I feel I am justified because to me, it is an issue of respect. And if I don’t choose to worship your god or attend your church or believe in being “saved”, it doesn’t make me less than you are. And I will never disrespect a person for having beliefs that I don’t have. And when I don’t feel respected for my beliefs…well, I get pissed. And when I get pissed, I post.
Recently, some of my comments were taken to be mean and disrespectful and for that, I apologize. But to put everything into perspective, there was (and again, this is an interpretation) a bit of disrespect (in the form of judgment) thrown in the direction of a friend of mine to spark those comments. My post was not a retaliation but part of a process in which I vent to relieve myself of feelings that bother me. I have never limited who reads this blog. I have never stopped anyone from doing so and I never will. But when you come here, please keep in mind that these are my feelings. They are my interpretations of events and I am, by nature, sarcastic and loud and opinionated. And that won’t change. Words written here are mine. I won’t change them and I won’t censor myself. They are what they are.
I wasn’t going to post this, because evidently I have been offensive recently and don’t want to do so again. But then I thought about it. And although I may be sorry for offending people, I’m not sorry for feeling, or for thinking, or for speaking my mind. And that’s why I started this blog. And I felt offended which is what triggered my comments. So, I wrote about it. And will continue to write about things that trigger emotion. That’s the beauty of a blog.