I think I’ve said this a couple of times, I’m very agnostic when it comes to higher powers and things outside of our periphery. I’ve seen an experienced enough things to know there is a higher power, however, as it applies to the various religious doctrines, I’m a bit more iffy.
I was raised southern Baptist. I went to an all white church predominantly family based. Everyone gossiped about everyone, everyone talked about what you wore, who is dating who, and all kinds of little pettiness.
I look back and realize that was an altogether toxic environment.
I branched out into religion again, specifically nondenominational Christianity, when I was in my teens and early twenties and found similar behaviors. Scripture says you are supposed to be good to each other. But people weren’t. They were backbiting, petty, rude, and too no consideration in how they treated others. I mean, yeah, according to them their relationship with God was great, but their relationships with other people left much to be desired.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. — Eph 4:29-32
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” — 1 Peter 3:8-12
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” — Mark 12:31
Then, the leader of one of the religious groups I was with while in undergraduate told me that my Buddhist friend was going to hell.
Am I supposed to accept this blindly, I asked myself.
But this person had treated me so well and has now been my friend for 10 years. When I was having roommate problems, he let me sleep on his sofa, he fed me, counseled me. This is a person who has been incredibly good to me over the years.
But he was going to hell for being a Buddhist.
Later in life, it occurred to me — I’d been mistreated more by people with religion in my life than people without. And because I live in the bible belt, It’s mostly Christians. And this isn’t saying other religions have their “Sunday Christians” because they do.
I mean, I need both my hands and feet to count how many people, how many Christians, in my life have screwed me over.
And what’s worse, I never got an apology or any kind of consolation.
What I’ve noticed is that, they’ll ask God for forgiveness, but not ask the person who they wronged.
I’ve met some people who seemed so humble and faithful, but still treated me poorly.
There is just something so inherently wrong with this that resonated so deeply within me that I just abstained completely from religion. Mostly this is for self evaluation, and this is nothing bad toward anyone with religion.
But this isn’t saying all religious people are bad. S.O. is devoutly Christian and gets upset when I say “goddamn”, but he has a very strong moral and ethical compass both based in and out of his religion. And I love that about him. I’ve never seen him mistreat someone, be unkind… anything like that.
This is just my experience.
Note: this post was inspired by walking past the door of a coworker who was shitty to me and they’re talking about how the bible tells you to be good to others.