Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The One Where I Lose Half My Followers & Piss Off My Neighbor Who Reads This Blog

*Clarification......this is based on MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES that I PERSONALLY have had with several churches of two different denominations. This is NOT AIMED at ANY AND ALL religions and churches. I don't presume to assume that all religions are the same when it comes to their views and ideals. Having said that, this post is not about YOU. It's about ME and my realization that I was WRONG. Let's not forget that this is what this post is about.

You know, I’ve posted on here before that I’m not a deep person.

And I still stand by that.

I’ll tell you why.

Every time I have these deep meaningful thoughts, they fall to shit by the time I’m done.

Case in point.

I’m not a religious person. At all. I have major doubts about God, the Bible, the whole shebang.

But what really chaps my ass is organized religion.

Yes, as mentioned on here before, I attend church.

I go pretty much every Sunday.

But…I mostly go because of my daughter.

She’s expressed an interest in church. I suspect it’s mostly because of Sunday school and not the sermon at 11.

However, I’m willing to take her every Sunday until she gets to the age where she can make an INFORMED decision about religion and beliefs and church attendance.

It’s my job as a mom to make sure she’s well rounded. Other than a Methodist church in town, our religious choices are slim to none.

It’s a nice church. I know several people in the congregation. They’re good people. You won’t find me complaining about them on here.

I even like Bro. D. He’s a nice guy.

Now, church is a voluntary activity. It’s not mandatory in order to, well, be an active member of the community. It’s helpful, but not mandatory. You don’t get in trouble for not attending (I’m talking legally here, folks, not religiously).

And, if you live in a tiny southern REPUBLICAN town, a majority of the folks that you interact with on a daily basis are of the same mind when it comes to their politics.

With the inauguration happening today, a topic that was broached at church on Sunday was to pray for the new President (and my mind interpreted the tone of this being said, not the words, as to mean they want to pray for his heathen pagan soul, not a general “make everything work out OK” prayer).

Now, I’m real prickly when it comes to separation of church and state. Religion doesn’t belong in the White House and the White House doesn’t belong in church.

Back when the election was going on, there was some talk up at the pulpit about the Democratic nominee. Nothing outright was said, but you could tell what he WASN’T saying and you could see heads nodding in agreement in the pews.

I was thisclose to getting up and walking out the door. But, I chose not to make a scene.

This past Sunday, I had a feeling something might be said in regards to Tuesday’s festivities and history making occasion.

And, I wasn’t wrong…but I wasn’t right either. Nothing big was said and my hackles laid down and rested from being raised for so long.

But, it got me to thinking.

This is one of the reasons I don’t like organized religion.

The incredible feeling of moral superiorority.

It’s their way or the highway.

No tolerance for other religions.

The incessant need to gather more and more followers (sounds kind of like blogging, eh?) and to convert non-believers.

I’m a huge proponent of letting people believe what they want to believe. I’m a big believer that no one religion is right OR wrong.

It drives me insane and I can’t stand it that they are not tolerant of others. I dislike people like that.

And then…..I actually listened to my thoughts and realized…I’m just like them.

I’m sitting there in the pew feeling all morally superior because I have tolerance for others.

When in reality, the joke was on me the whole time. Cause I was sitting there judging them for THEIR beliefs.

How fucked up is that?

So, from now on….no more deep thoughts.

Or if I have any, I’ll make sure to spin them so I rival Jack Handey.

Hanging Head In Shame,

Mama Dawg

32 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:

Remo

Hypocrisy always has a vacancy.

I think the guy is nothing more than a slick suit and a smooth voice. He's done absolutely nothing to deserve the office of the President except be half-Black and speak in nebulous platitudes.

Another candidate showed up with more experience than he has and she was excoriated for it.

Enjoy the next four years...

Cocotte

I understand what you're saying Mama, and I happen to be a "religous" person. Just remember that you can't really judge a religion by the church. It's made up of a bunch of sinners, no better than you or I, just like you said.

Any way to just have LOML go to Sunday School and skip the service? We did that for a number of years when we were unhappy with the sermons that had turned into political debate.

Rhea

You're awesome, Mama Dawg, for caring enough to think all this through and to realize the hypocrisy.

I have very similar views as you on religion, and I think it's wonderful you go to church every Sunday for your daughter.

Vicky

ugh! I hate that. I'm exactly like you! I go to church every sunday like a good little catholic but strictly to try and figure out what I believe. I disagree with 90 percent of the things that the Catholic church portrays but is that the church making these things up? Or is what really what God "wanted his followers to believe"? I find myself being slightly hypocrytical when I am a good girl on Sundays and not so holy on the other 6 days of the week. I hope that someday I figure out what I truely believe and I hope that you do too!

Southern Sage

Isn't the reason the folks at the church house seem to disapprove f the dems because the dems bedrocks are morally defunct?
just a thought.

Mama Dawg

Just FYI, Southern Sage, I'm NOT a Democrat. It's not so much the politics I abhor, it's the racism behind the beliefs.

Lo

pssshaw. girl, at least you're able to stand back and LOOK at yerself. cuz girl? seriously? half the people in this 'organized religion' bucket don't even do that. and i'm not judgin. trust me!!!! i was raised Buddhist, but have explored EVERY SINGLE RELIGION out there tryin' to find a 'home' for myself. in the end i'm agnostic. with some faith. just can't believe in the whole 'guy in the sky' theory, but SOMETHIN is out there. anyway. i love church for the community feel. but i can't help but pitchin' the idea that maybe LOYL would benefit from learning about other religions??? i know it did a WORLD (no pun intended) of good for me. i still go to church sometimes. sometimes, just the FEEL of people believing so much in something makes me feel better.... even if i don't believe myself. maybe you're the same?

Jess

Eh, I don't know if I agree with you on saying that you are just like them. I do not think you are being judgmental, but merely pointing out some very true and very obvious things about organized religion.

However, I do classify myself as Christian, though I do not agree with much of what Christianity brings out of people. Notice I said the people, not the theology/idea/practice of. Christians are some of the most horrific people ever.

Oh how I do love our deep conversations...seriously, when are you coming? We need to do this over beer/wine/spirits.

Irish Gumbo

hypocrisy: 'a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not;especially the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion'.

It is NOT hypocrisy to condemn hate, bigotry, racism, etc. especially when it is veiled in the cloak of religion. All of those things may be points of view, but they don't deserve to be propogated in the name of good, and any one who does or attempts to is a hypocrite.

MD, you are not a hypocrite. You are a skeptic, and that is a good thing.

I'll leave you with some quotes from Robert Heinlein, a writer who many think of as a liberal, but is perhaps a true conservative:

"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives."

"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics."

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._Heinlein

Pseudonymous High School Teacher

I'm with you Mama. I have stopped going to church because of the judgmentalism I experience there. I tried several chruches when we moved to this side of the island. To avoid being a hypocrite and judging them, I just don't go. I believe that different people connect with their spirit differently....

Huge advocate of the separation of chruch and state.

Teri

I love this post. I think like this all the time...thus my philosophy degree. This is how things are deciphered. Doesn't mean you will necessarily come up with THE right or wrong answer, just that you are going through the process and rediscovering yourself each time.

I had a class this last semester - Queer Identities. Totally loved that class. I had to write a paper every week about one of the readings. One week it was about intolerance. I found myself wondering if I, too, was intolerant to those who are extremely intolerant. It's okay to dig deep. Keeps us in check, I think. Go for it.

Mama Dawg

IG-Thank you. Seriously, in all that is most serious, THANK YOU.

You got what I was going for. You really, really, really got what I was going for with this post.

A million tears of gratitude (got my Irish up again) are flowing for you.

scargosun

I think most people were pretty supportive of your ideals (and you know I am). I think the people who were not didn't bother to read the whole post so they should not be considered at all.
I have to watch myself sometimes too. I find myself sneering at organized religion and I have to remind myself that is one of the reasons I don't take part in it.

Lula!

Do you really think this would make you lose half your followers? No way, my friend. I'll read anything you write. 'Cause this was good. GOOD. And I totally get that it's not about politics or organized religion. I'm not a fan of either!

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures

I just never really understood why according to some church people why democrats can't believe in God? That you're only a true Christian if you're a republican?

ChurchPunkMom

What IG said..

You're not a hypocrite.. You're a good man, Charlie Brown.

I often feel the same about organized religion - I don't like judgmental people.

God has called us to love one another. We better get to it, or He's gonna be awful pissed on Judgment Day..

Do not judge, lest ye be judged..

Kat

My granny always told me that church is a hospital for sinners. Just keep that in mind.

Soldier without a War

i 100% agree. I actually think church is cult like.... and i love jack handey...i used to have all of those books somewhere...lol..

Robin

I think it's impossible not to have some sort of judgement or opinion. It's what makes us human, you know?
The best we can do is try to be as open minded and as tolerant as possible... which is exactly what you are doing.
Brave post. Good for you!

Captain Dumbass

That was a good post, MD.

Heather

Sweets, I think you're brilliant and you shouldn't feel bad for your deep thoughts. I think many of us feel exactly the way you do.

Mariah

You're better than most of us because you had the guts to write it!! You rock for that.

Politics and religion should NOT mix. And, good for you for taking your daughter because SHE wants to go.

jen721

I agree with you about organized religion. I was raised Catholic and by Catholic I mean my dad went to Seminary school to become a priest. Fortunately for me he met a lovely woman who made him look and the vow of celebasy as a really bad idea.

Anyway, I was forced to go to church on every religious holiday there is. By the time I was seven I asked if I could stop going. The answer was always "no" and the next week I would have to get up early, don the dress clothes and head out to listen to the priest tell me all the reasons I will go to hell some day.

What finally got my dad was when I asked him the difference between the Catholic religion and a cult. I actually argued my point very well and I finally got to stop going to church, when I was 18...

BedsideTalesMan

Throw it out there my dear. I am right here with you...I go back and forth with my beliefs and in the end...only end up judging myself.

Swirl Girl

You're good enough, you're smart enough and gosh darn it, Mama - People like YOU!!

Very well said - your daughter is a lucky girl.

Kat

You are not a hypocrite. And as a Christian...I don't think there is anything wrong with doubt. Or questioning. Or even being skeptical.

And taking those things...and challenging others...those challenges help the church to define beliefs...and if anything it can contribute to faith.

Mama Dawg

Thanks to all for your comments. I'm glad to know I'm not alone. And I'm even happier that most of you understood where I was coming from.

Minivan Mom

You would make a great Unitarian Universalist. :)

Mama Dawg

You know, I've thought about that. You're the one that put that thought in my head years ago.

Lump

Lady, this is a great post!! I can completely understand where you are coming from. And I think it's a great thing what you are doing for your daughter and giving her the choice and letting her make her own decisions.

I don't get organized religion either. Growing up my family NEVER went to church. But I had my fair share of trying out churches, delving into religion and christianity for many years...because I was trying to find out who I was, where I came from and what I believed. I would go to Church regularly and then one time I would miss a Sunday and EVERYONE would be "Well, where were YOU LAST Sunday?" Excuse Me? Why can't they just say...It's good to see you this week or so glad you could make it. And yes, I know that doesn't happen everywhere.

So after years of searching, reading, learning everything I've come to terms I'm an atheist. Now many people look at me like I'm one of the worst people on earth.

eh but it's ok.

Mama Dawg

I hear ya. I've pretty much decided I'm agnostic. I believe but just not so much in organized religion. I'm still searching.

the Mayor

When I started reading the post I was all prepared to say to myself, Oh No, here's where I'm going to get the stink eye for being a Christian. Then by the end I found myself nodding in agreement with you.Thankfully, I attend a church where the pastor reminds us frequently that the the reason more people don't walk through the church doors to worship is that they don't want to sit down with hypocrites who'll judge them.
Shit, I just realized I was feeling morally superior for feeling good about having a pastor who warns us not to think we are better than anyone else! There's no escaping this conundrum....you were right.

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