Thursday, March 18, 2010

What and How this Earth was Made.....

I come from a family of preachers (men) and evangelists (women). My people love Jesus. A lot. They do not understand how I turn my back and walk away from their faith. Let me tell you what and how this Earth was made...

I bought into all the religiousness of my people. I went to church whenever church opened. I fasted, I prayed, I sang, I tithed, I traveled. I read the Bible cover to cover. Could quote all kinds of scripture. I never 'caught' the Holy Ghost, but I have run through a church or two. Religion governed every aspect of my life. That's how it's supposed to work. But religion didn't keep its promises.

The promises of religion, and I am speaking, right now, of Christianity, is that if you follow the rules, God is supposed to bless you. But when trials and adversity come, somehow it is the 'believers' fault. Does that sound fair to you? All the good comes from God, but the bad is due to some fault in me, or maybe the devil is being busy. Hmmm... Yeah....

I kept up my end of the bargain.

I went to Catholic and Christian schools for my pre-college education. My mother thought it was important for me to always be immersed in Christianity at all times. When I hear people complain that there is no prayer in schools anymore, I have no frame of reference. I used to pray all the time in school. Rosaries, devotions, masses, stations of the cross. My mother used to ask me to explain things to her regarding the Bible and the hows and whys since I was getting a formal religious education. It was impressed upon me not only the importance of worship, but the importance of good form while worshipping. Our Religion grade would suffer if we were sloppy with the rosary, or misbehaved in mass. Think about this... If you fail religion, there is no summer school for that. The diocese of Paterson did not teach summer school. If you had to go to summer school, you had to attend one of the public ones. Public schools don't teach religion. Therefore; if you failed religion, you got left back. And trust me, It happened and still does.

Catholic school taught different dogma than I received in church. I would ply my school teachers with questions, my Sunday school teachers with questions, the preacher with questions, and my mother with questions until they were sick of me, Then I learned the value in keeping my own counsel. The information was contradictory. Why did the Catholic Bible have 72 books versus my Bible that had 66? Why did the nuns tell me not to read the Bible and my pastor said read it all day everyday? Why did I have to get dressed for church and be in there all day on Sunday while them Catholics could go to any number of services, be in and out of there in 30 minutes WITH communion and wear whatever they wanted, even shorts? Why was I told by my pastor to stay away from alcohol, but them priest drank and smoked? The priests didn't appear to be more holy than the average Joe. I would read books but the confusion continued.

I, finally, had a teacher (he was a priest) in high school that said I needed to look inward to make up my own mind. This priest taught us not to just accept what we were being told but to question everything. In the end all answers lead back to God. He even said that other religions weren't all wrong, and that we could learn something from all faiths. That there was a kernal of truth in all religions. That was completely different from what I got on Sunday. If you weren't a Christian? a Methodist Christian, you were doomed to go to hell. Thank you Father Bradley. That was good advice, although very self-serving on his part. Later I found that he was sort of a half priest. He had an apartment and possessions and he didn?t live in a monastery. I guess he took the obedience and chastity vow but not the poverty one.

With Father Bradley's advice on cap, I started looking at all folks' belief systems. My step-father's people were Jehovah's Witnesses. Mommie would only allow us to talk to his folks. Everyone else would get chased away. Why chase them away? Weren't they also spreading the good news? I lived very close to a synagogue. They used to have activities for neighborhood children and I would go and have a good time. They liked me because I knew more religion than the public school kids. I would win all the prizes. I had a friend whose people were practicing pagans. They were Hispanic/latino/whatever the pc term is. It was kinda like Santeria, kinda not. I was invited to attend their rituals and celebrations. That was fun too. And my own people... these preachers and evangelists... practiced some kind of conjure-rootwork. I didn't realize everyone didn't do this but I was cognizant of not telling folks. Because according to my mother, what happens in our home is our business and she heard anything got out she knew it was one of us telling and she would kick our little Black asses. Mommie is so sweet, is she not?

You know a lot of Gods and Earths who don't understand the lure of religion, don't have a lot of experience with it. Some aspects are actually a lot of fun and make you feel good. I describe it as an 'emotional orgasm.' ever notice it's mostly women who get 'slain in the spirit'? If it was all miserable then folks wouldn't do it. People know that smoking is bad for you and will probably kill you. I mean the companies put it on the box. But that doesn't stop people from lighting up.

So what did I do with all this mishmash of faith and belief? I finally let it go. It took a minute but I have come to learn it doesn't matter what it is, if it's a belief in a mystery god you will be disappointed every time. And you know why? Because it is not real! It can do nothing for you.

When I was a good Christian, I did everything I was supposed to do. But when my late husband, father, brother-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and grandmother became ill, all the praying fasting, tithing, missionary work did nothing to save their lives. I begged he mystery god and so did they. Nothing. And every person that came to me with, "It was God's will" ducked a bullet big time. Why would not 'God' spare my family's life? They were all good people. Good Christians who followed all the rules. Because s/he/it doesn't exist; therefore it has no power. I have been sick, broke, have had all kinds of wants and desires that didn't materialize. I bet you have too. And no mystery god ever rode up on a horse or in an Escalade with the hook up. You know why don't you?

Think about it... If these mystery gods are as all powerful as is claimed by the 10% then really we shouldn?t have to work or do anything. God should provide food, clothing and shelter for us all the days in our lives. But instead we bust our asses, to provide for self and our families and give the credit to the mystery god. Crazy.

Now if you NEED religion to be a good person, then by all means work it like a part time job. If you need the threat of divine retribution to keep you from being savage, do it. If you need a book tell you that you are supposed to help the less fortunate, then read it. If you need a list of rules to keep you from cheating and beating on your wife, jump on them. But if you can do right and be right without any external influence then we can have a conversation.