2008-10-16

Religion or Lack Thereof

This is kind of a heavy topic. So to lighten the mood. I am posting some of my favorite televangelists.

Dr. Gene Scott blew my mind. A pastor who cursed and smoked:



Jan Crouch is the best, her hair has it's own life. She used to have a big pink mansion here in the Dallas area. I wonder if she still has it, and if it is still pink:



Jonathan Bell is the best. He was a local Public Access legend:



This church is located right now the road from me, literally. This is Doyle Davidson and he just straight up scary. He is very controversial, but dang it, he is funny. I admit I watch his live telecasts on the local TV station, his show is crazy.

This is Doyle talking about his "slut wife". This woman was never legally his wife, and was married to someone else, and who went into hiding and had him arrested to keep him from stalking her. If you go to the church website he posts letters on the site directed to her, to this day, I think he posted a message to her yesterday.



Rev. X is just the best, I could watch this man for days. Spirit of Truth:









Now on to the real post......


I am faithless. I have been for several years. I am actually an atheist. Before that I was a Baptist. To give you a bit of background. I come from a fairly religious Missionary Baptist family. I have preachers in my family, some who work at the Potter's House. My father is a Gideon (the people who put Bibles in hotel rooms) and a deacon of the church my parents attend. My brother and sister do Awanas. My mother has done many a pancake breakfast and is an active member of the women's groups. I attended Christian private schools throughout elementary and middle school. I have actually read the Bible, King James and NIV. I did Sunday and Wednesday night service faithfully growing up and was in the youth group in our church. So I am familiar with religion, and I am not using this post as a way to find my way to Christ.

I proclaimed I was an atheist at age 14, when my maternal grandmother died. I just lost the concept of faith and started questioning why people were so eager to worship a deity and follow the teachings of a book that I don't think was written per the word of said deity verbatim. I saw my grandmother have several children, stick out a bad marriage, live in poverty, and basically give as much as she could to the church to ensure she would have a great afterlife. As wonderful as an afterlife is, I would have loved for her to have a good life here on this earth. Not to say she was completely miserable, but my grandfather wasn't necessarily husband or father of the year and raising ten kids is no joke, especially on their income. I wondered why God would make a woman work so hard to get accepted into his kingdom, why couldn't she just be a good person and get in, why must one suffer to prove their love? Why did she have to penny pinch money for the sole purpose of giving her ten percent to the church. I couldn't figure it out, so I decided I wouldn't believe at all. When I told my mother at age 14, I was an atheist, she looked at me, told me I wasn't, and then kept doing what she was doing. She was in disbelief, and I was steady still going to church on a regular at the insistence of my mother.

I think another thing that bothered me was that many times preachers did this thing of giving a political view and using the Bible to support this view. I think abortion is ok, not for me, but for someone else. I think it is ok for people to be gay, and that in the overwhelmingly majority of instances, people are born gay, and it isn't a lifestyle choice. I didn't think listening to certain types of music would send a person to hell. I liked Halloween and dressing up in costumes. I believe in evolution. I thought as long as you were a good person, that was all God could ask, and that sometimes to give ten percent of your income to the church wasn't attainable for all people, and that people who couldn't give ten percent weren't bad, just broke. I questioned these topics at times and was told I was questioning God, and how dare I do such a thing. I then decided that God should want us to question, if there was one, and that it was wrong to blindly follow without at least thinking about why you are believing what you believe.

In college I decided I didn't know if there was a God or not. I didn't have a concrete answer to say either or, and I was too scared to blatantly say there isn't a God, but I wasn't ready to go to church to investigate. I looked at switching up religions. I looked at Unitarian Universalism, and I still like the concept, but I think of it more as a theory of thought than actual organized religion. I like the idea of the Bahai religion, but there were a few tenets I wasn't necessarily ok with. I did not want to remain a Baptist because to be a Baptist, you for all intensive purposes have to be a conservative, even though tons of black people tend to vote democrat, the church views tend to be staunchly conservative. No sex before marriage, children out of wedlock, the only true union has to be between a man and a woman.

I also had a hard to juggling my scientific beliefs with the Church. I believe the world is more than 6,000 years old. I again believe in evolution. I have a hard time believing that people in the bible lived to be over 900 years old. I am inclined to believe the Great Flood happened, but I have a hard time believing Noah was able to build an arc large enough to house a male and female of all the world's animals. I don't think dinosaurs and people co-existed.

I also have a hard time as a woman with the role of women in the Bible. Sin began with a woman, and it seems from the get go women are seen as cursed. I don't want to think of myself as a curse, or as being wicked. I think this has been used for eons as to why women are the "weaker" sex and justified why at one time it was ok for a man to beat his wife, or treat her like a child rather than an equal.

Finally, my most controversial view is that I think the Christian church has long been a coping mechanism for black people. During slave times, if you wanted to learn to read, you read the Bible, in church. Church was really the only time you had off from working as a slave. The church was integral to the success of the Underground Railroad, it was the place where people organized during the Civil Rights movement. I will not deny the Church is very important to the African American experience. I do have my reservations though. Why are we still embracing a religion that was forced upon us, and eager to shun others who don't believe the way the Christian church does? Why is it we haven't branched off into other religions outside of Christianity? Why would we want to hold on to a religion that many used to justify our enslavement?

I always wonder what will happen if I ever have kids. Will I be offended they chose a religion or will I want them to have religion? I think religion can be a good thing, it just isn't for me at this point and time. Maybe if I stay an atheist, maybe they will have the opportunity to choose their own religion, and not just be raised in a religion and then determine at a certain age they don't like said religion hand picked for them. I want my kids to question things so that they can gain a better understanding. I want my kids to believe in science. I want religion to be something they discover and come into on their own, and not just something to follow blindly.

Maybe in ten years I will become a born again Christian, but until then I have decided I just don't know, and I admit I don't know all the answers, and I hope that doesn't make me a bad person.