Tag Archives: god

Why I’m Not Religious

This article from Scientific American frustrates me a little because it’s about interesting topics, but they only skate the surface and it sounds more like conjecture than a supportable argument.

But it raises an interesting point.

There is a lot of judgment out there against atheists. There’s this deluded impression, I’ve found, that being religious somehow means you have a moral code that others do not.

What? Because I don’t go to church, I’d steal from your grandmother, hit-and-run your car, and cheat on my taxes? Bullshit.

Sorry, kids, morality’s just a little bit more complicated than where I park my ass for an hour or two on Sunday mornings. God’s got nothing to do with how ethically I choose to live my life.

Here’s the thing.

I’m not religious today BECAUSE I was raised religious. I was so Catholic I’d go to church as much as 6 days a week. Used to tell the non-believer kids in the ‘hood about the sermons, and they’d listen, too.

I loved me some Jesus when I was a kid.

When I was in high school, I had a priest who told us a classmate was going to hell because she committed suicide. And then we had a teacher, who I thankfully never had classes with, who was discovered to be sexually abusing boys. He went to jail. But around the school we were talking and it seems the Arch Diocese knew for as much as five years about the teacher’s abuse.

The details on the story are hazy for me now and searching the web proves futile as I only know remember him by “Mr. [redacted].”

It’d be some years before I came to believe what Ken Kesey preached, that if you weren’t able to worship what you call God in your backyard, he wasn’t gonna be in no church, either.

I learned at the age of 13 that men are corrupt, so all religions are corrupt. And I fell hard from my pedestal of faith. We found out shortly after the child molesting thing that our elementary school Monsignor had been in a relationship with a woman for more than 2 decades. He had to leave the church.

I decided, if God needs me to join a club to prove I believe, then he’s got really, really low self-esteem, because look at some of the members! Let’s not even talk about Creationism, which is a slap in the face at everything God’s capable of, if you’re to believe the book of Genesis in the first place. If God’s so omnipotent, the idea of the Big Bang and millions of years of evolution speak far louder about a God’s powers than this dumbed-down “The Earth is 6,000 years old” bullshit practiced by people too blind to see science is a faith too.

Anyhoo. I was raised Catholic. I was raised to respect others, be kind, be honest, and all that ethicky jazz. I maintain those values. I just don’t figure God anywhere in the picture.

I live my life with virtue because I need to respect myself in the morning. I may not have money, fame, and everything I dream of, but I do have self-respect, and it comes from living up to how I was raised. Ain’t any church that’s gonna change that about me. My ethics guide my life and always will.

Ethics and the Vatican aren’t exactly in bed together, though. Look at the Catholic Church: With properties and assets, it’s about the most powerful and richest organization in the world. But we don’t know that for sure, because the books are kept pretty tight. The Vatican is literally its own nation-state, remember. For insurance purposes, its incredibly vast collection of artwork is valued at about an euro each, according to some reports. This MSNBC report states the Catholic Church received more than $8 billion in donations in 2003 alone. Never mind tax write-offs, present-day property values, or any of that.

And look at the Evangelical movement in the USA, where preachers are VERY well-paid rockstars ministering to the thousands. Yeah. And Jesus, Mohammad, and Buddha lived as paupers. No disconnect there at all.

If you really believe in Jesus and Christianity, then you believe Jesus threw the merchants from the temple. He didn’t believe money and faith went hand-in-hand.

It’s a mockery, what we have today for religion. It’s everything Christ never wanted. Churches hold the riches today, and look at the average person. Not so rich.

Yet I’m morally bankrupt because I don’t practice and celebrate that mockery of everything Christ stood for?

Don’t tell me religion today is moral when it shouts down the search for human rights for gays. Don’t tell me the Catholic Church has the high ground when it had as its Pope for the last decade or so a Holocaust apologist. Don’t tell me faiths that take in more money than they give back to the poor are doing what God wants of them.

Religion today is nothing of what it has been written as in the Bible. It’s sanctimony and judgment. Church is where the dollar talks and transparency walks.

Unfortunately, there are good people caught up in that sanctimony and judgment. There are fine Christians in the world, and admirable Muslims, and wonderful Jews. While I rail against religion, I do not rail against the believers, not if they are moral, kind people. But being a believer in religion does not mean one is indeed moral or kind, and that’s why I state there’s that prerequisite.

I will not hold your religion against you if you do not hold my lack thereof against me.

Seems a fair trade.

It is absolutely my moral code which keeps me from practicing religion. Until faiths are led by men and women I can admire and respect, I will turn instead to worshipping nature and the world around me, and living my life as I would have had I found a church worthy of my faith.

I would put my ethics against anyone’s. I absolutely know who I am at heart, and if there were more of me, and less pious sanctimony, this would be a really nice world to live in.

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RANT: God’s Asked Me to Whale On Yo Ass, MoFo!

There’s a lot of attention being paid to polygamy and bigamy at the present, thanks to the arrest of that uberFucker, Warren Steed Jeffs. I know there are a lot of polyamorists in my audience, so I’m going avoid starting a war of words just because I disagree with the lifestyle.

(Disagreement does not equal judgment, so spare me the sanctimony, thanks! Do what thou wilt; just don’t invite me to the party.)

I want to say one thing, and one thing only.

CNN’s been showing these slighted polygamists who feel the world is up against them. (I may not agree with it, but I don’t think it should be outright outlawed, but that’s another argument for another time.) Naturally, the butthead I saw was excusing or justifying his lifestyle because he believes he lives that lifestyle in praise of God or as a means of being closer to God, or even because God wills it as such. Insert the justification you like best.

I am sick and fucking tired of everyone justifying their actions because it’s “God’s will.” No, people, it’s not God’s will. If you are religious, then you understand the simple premise of the belief that God gave free will to man so that man may choose and thus ultimately secure his own fate. You have chosen your lifestyle — whether it be that of a polygamist or that of a bake-sale/PTA mom. Don’t fucking tell me you’re doing it for God. Do it because you choose to, and have the balls to own up to choice, public opinion be damned.

I could turn around tomorrow and buy stakes in the best Belgian chocolate company in this city and scarf cocoa up my fucking wazoo, turning myself into some 400-lb ball of flab and say, “But God made the beautiful cocoa bean and I am simply choosing to respect the beauty of his creation by indulging in it! I’m doing it for God! My rolls of fat are a testimony to his greatness!”

Nuh-uh, sweetums. I’m doing it ‘cos it tastes so fucking good and I’m not getting laid so if that means I indulge, then I indulge. But it’s my choice, and that’s enough justification. “Because I want to!”

I’m really goddamned tired of people not taking responsibility for their actions. You’ve chosen. You live it. Be proud of it. Don’t tell me it’s for a God you’ve never had the privilege of sharing a beer with. You don’t fucking know what He wants, if in fact He even exists, so don’t presume to excuse your actions through Him.

A nation of pansies, that’s what this is. Fuck, man. God wills it, therefore it must be so. If that’s the case, then know this: God gave you a spine, but you CHOOSE not to use it, you fucking amoebas. Get with the program or check the fuck out, but spare me more of this bullshit.

(This goes for anyone on any side of the “God wants it” argument, whether Poly or PTA or Pro-Life or whatever. I’m just sick of the argument. Personal responsibility’s like some distant figment of the land over yonder or something. I, for one, think it’s time we remember what the hell it once meant.)

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Q&A: My Girlfriend Won’t Fuck Me Anymore

I get a lot of emails from readers from time to time, and for some reason, this past week has been filled with emails. Some are easy answers, some are ones I don’t want to tackle, some involve giving instruction (which I dislike doing, so I take my time), and some are just total mind-fucks, like this one.

The long and the short of it is a bit complicated, and due to privacy concerns, I don’t want to quote his email directly. Let’s call him Jimi, since he sounds like the rockstar type.

When he and his girlfriend got together, they had wild marathon sex constantly. He couldn’t get enough of her and it seemed to be mutual. He’s a guy with a sex drive in overdrive, and having a partner who’s into sex as much as he is happens to be a pretty major consideration when committing. He thought he had that in this woman.

She changed, suddenly, when her father had a heart attack. It turns out that she was raised Catholic, and in this moment of crisis, she turned to God and made a vow that, if her father was to live, she would abstain from sex until marriage.

Although he neglects to mention, I’m pretty sure the father lived, because Jimi hasn’t been getting laid much in the last two years. He’s in love with the girl, so he’s taking this in stride, but after two years of little happening, he’s nearing breaking point. Don’t get this wrong, she’s been getting her orgasms. He pleasures her orally, etc, and occasionally they “slip” and have sex, which is always good, but he says that, since she vowed God she’d abstain, he finds himself embroiled in guilt after they’ve finished. While he does non-intercourse things to satisfy her, it seems she doesn’t return the favours. Not very democratic, eh?

His dilemma is, how does he proceed? Does he marry her? Does he break up? Does he confront her? Honestly, fuck if I know.

Here’s the deal: Catholicism is a life-long all-ages ticket to ride the guilt train. You cannot possibly understand the absolutely overbearing sense of guilt and fear that is bred into you when you’re raised Catholic unless you’ve been exposed first-hand. Trust me, I not only drank the Kool-aid but spent 10 years in Catholic school, going to mass probably 5 times a week for 60% of that time. Guilt has been a lifelong struggle for me. It does not ever go away, as far as I can tell thus far.

And I understand the absolute horror of knowing your parent could die. I was far closer to my mother than I am to my father, and even so, when my father nearly suffered a stroke last year, I was terrified.

Religion, as we’ve all heard, is a crutch. Take that as you like, but when it comes down to difficult times, religion’s a pretty easy thing to lean on to get you through. Adversity is hard on all of us, but having a creed that tells you everything’s gonna be all right after the dying of the light somehow makes it easier to get through, regardless of how much you live your life according to the faith.

That said, I’ve made my own vows to God. I can’t remember what I promised then, but I remember being in the shower and just knowing with absolute certainty my mother was going to die, and promising God I’d behave better, be more moral, give up drugs, whatever the fuck I promised, if only she’d live.

She died. I was off the hook – literally and figuratively. I descended into a few years of craziness and here we are now. If she’d lived, I’m pretty sure my life would be a world away from where it is now, whether I liked it or not. That’s the price you pay when you promise God to behave better, and you secretly believe in His wrath, thanks to the upbringing you’ve been dealt.

Girlfriend made her vow, and now she’s struggling to keep it. The question is, where does that leave Jimi?

Between a rock and a hard place.

I’m a firm believer that, whatever you enter a relationship for – their looks, their personality, their sex drive – that you are, essentially, entitled to a reasonable expectation that that status quo will continue. If their sex drive dries up overnight, you have reason to be concerned about the future of your relationship. If they gain 60lbs, you have every right to be upset about the change in your lover. If they become moody and morose and give you no reason to enjoy spending time with them, you have cause to be concerned. It’s not selfish – it’s simply expecting your partner to live up to the terms of the agreement; that they are the person you fell for, and will continue to be that person, or will at least change in ways that are congruent to who they were at the time of the initial hook-up.

In the restaurant business, one of the “rules” for success is, you’re only as good as your last service. In relationships, we all go through rough patches, but the immediate past is the part that’s most relevant to the present, not the good times that were had five years past. Problems emerge, solutions need to be found, and life can hopefully continue. But if you’ve gone and changed the rules of the relationship without cluing in your lover, you are establishing grounds for dismissal.

Relationships go two ways. Agreements and communication and compromises are the lifeblood of any good relationship. If you have adversity and need to change how you’re acting in the relationship, you need to discuss that with your lover, otherwise, they have good reason for leaving you. It’s really that simple.

So, Girlfriend’s withdrawn the sex that made her so desirable. Fortunately, she still has personality and a lot to offer. The question is, can Jimi handle living a life with less sexual promise? That depends on him. She’s essentially notched herself down from love interest-non-pareil to friend with occasional benefit.

Her motivations for doing so may be questionable to the rest of us. Who knows, maybe Jimi can solve his problems over Bloody Marys and a little rat poisoning during a tete-a-tete with the father, but something tells me that, one way or the other, he needs to come to terms with the fact that his lover had no problem making a decision that impacted both of their lives in a dramatic way. Instead of turning to him for support, she turned to God. Not that I’m saying turning to God is a bad thing, I’m just saying Jimi should have been consulted before she decided the future of their relationship without his input.

And when she decided sex was no longer on the menu, she should have done the right thing and said, “This will change things between us, and while I can live with that, you need to decide if you can.”

The facts are, Jimi, pretty simple: She has changed, whether you want to understand why or not. She made a major decision without consulting you. She handles stress, clearly, in less than practical ways. She withholds sex either to punish herself or punish you, whether the eyes of God are watching or not. If things haven’t changed back to what you call normalcy yet, you need to accept that they may not ever change. She has a reason to explain away her lack of interest in sex now, and if you marry, who’s to say she won’t find a new reason then?

Your relationship is only as good as the recent past has been. We can’t go into our Way Back machines and remember fondly the way it usedta be, because the facts are, it is what it is, and you have to go with the averages.

Am I telling you to walk? No. I’m telling you to be realistic. Will she change back to the girl of old? Who fucking knows. Is that a gamble you’re willing to stake your sexual future on? Who fucking knows. Can you justify cheating on her to get what you need while she figures herself out again? No. Not for a second.

So you have a choice to make. You want to hold on to the memories of how it used to be and might one day be again, or do you want to live in the moment and experience life as it unfolds? You decide.

You could always let her know exactly why you’re going through so much emotional turmoil over this, and tell her you’ve been patient, you’ve tried to understand, but that she ultimately changed the rules of the game without telling you, and you’ve never had the option to choose – but now you’re making that choice, and you’re around if she decides you’re worth changing her mind about that vow, but for now, you need to discover yourself again.

Either way, you’re in a shitty situation. I feel sympathy for her, but she’s up against a mighty powerful religion that really, really fucks with your conscience. That, I know first-hand. Good luck, dude.

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