Saturday, February 26, 2005

Step 3: Learn to Laugh to Yourself

Because, well, laughing in someone's face isn't very nice.

As I've grown quite a bit more liberal and less close-minded I've begun to find humor in some of the more conservative thought. Especially when people express those thoughts to me with that same vigor and passion that the religious right is prone to possess.

Sometimes it's all I can do to keep from crying.

I am a student of history. I'm fascinated by a number of different periods in time, one of which being the more recent history of the US in the 1950s and 60s. Thank god the groups of religious fanatics of that time were NOT able to convince the rest of the country that having dark skin was somehow evil. That their heritage or the color of their skin was somehow a result of their sins, and that anyone who mixed with them was committing a grevious sin of their own. What a different world we would live in today if they had prevailed in repressing the minority groups in this country, all in the name of God and religion and purity and righteousness. Thank god the voice of reason was not allowed to be stamped out.

But I look around today and it's like we've gone back in time 50 years. Or 150 years. Or 1000 years. Once again, the "Moral Majority" is scampering about, trying to tell us what is evil and how we can protect ourselves and our poor innocent children from destruction. It's like they're trying to secure for themselves a safe little bubble in which to live, where everyone looks the same and talks the same and acts the same.

Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn't mean they're wrong.

So when one of them confesses to me their disgust over something they deem appalling, I just have to sigh, shake my head and silently chuckle to myself.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Enlightenment

"Question:
"You certainly think highly of Buddhism. I suppose you think your religion is right and all the others are wrong.

"Answer:
"No Buddhist who understands the Buddha's teaching thinks that other religions are wrong. No one who, has made a genuine effort to examine other religions with an open mind could think like that either. The first thing you notice when you study the different religions is just how much they have in common. All religions acknowledge that mankind's present state is unsatisfactory. All believe that a change of attitude and behavior is needed if the human situation is to improve. All teach an ethics that includes love, kindness, patience, generosity and social responsibility and all accept the existence of some form of Absolute. They use different languages, different names and different symbols to describe and explain these things; and it is only when they narrow-mindedly cling to their one way of seeing things that religious intolerance, pride and self-righteousness arise. Imagine an Englishman, a Frenchman, a Chinese and an Indonesian all looking at a cup. The Englishman says, "That's a cup." The Frenchman answers, "No it's not. It's a tasse." The Chinese comments, "You're both wrong. It's a pet." And the Indonesian laughs at the others and says "What fools you are. It's a cawan." The Englishman gets a dictionary and shows it to the others saying, "I can prove that it is a cup. My dictionary says so." "Then your dictionary is wrong," says the French- man "Because my dictionary clearly says it is a tasse." The Chinese scoffs at them. "My dictionary is thousands of years older than yours, so my dictionary must be right. And besides, more people speak Chinese than any other language, so it must be a pet." While they are squabbling and arguing with each other, a Buddhist comes up and drinks from the cup. After he has drunk, he says to the others, "Whether you call it a cup, a tasse, a pet or a cawan, a cup is meant to be used. Stop arguing and drink, stop squabbling and refresh your thirst." This is the Buddhist attitude to other religions."

Amen.

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda01.htm

Step 2: Religion Is Not The Answer

I'm finding that there are a lot of religious nuts in my life. They each have very specific, and often very conflicting, opinions about what is right, just and holy. But I'm also finding something else... religious nuts are just that -- nuts!

After going to a Mormon church every Sunday for the first 20 years of my life and a number of varying Christian churches since then, I've decided that these churches don't solve anything. While some people may find comfort or fulfillment in these rituals and songs and weekly affirmations -- and good for them -- I don't. And, though some sing hymns while others prefer more contemperary styles and still others stick to dancing in the aisles, they're really all the same. After all of the arm-raising, hand-clapping, foot-stamping music, we're still left with a man, standing in front of a trusting group of people, telling them the rock solid TRUTH of just what exactly the Bible says. As told to him by GOD! Then, after a few "Amens" and "Hallelujah, brothers," everyone goes home, AND THEN WHAT?

"Well, I read this and this in the Bible and I think it means this. But Pastor Humbleman today said it doesn't mean this; it really means that. But if it means that, then I'm totally wrong about this and all of those. But Pastor Saved on TV yesterday said it means the opposite. So how do I know who's right? Do I ask God? But I though Pastors Humbleman and Saved both already talk to God, so why didn't they just ask Him? And if I can just ask God myself, what's the point of bothering with pretentious pastors and congregations and songs and people? And how do I know which is the best and which I should believe and who knows the best way to heaven? He says I have to live a righteous life, and he says all I have to do is say a special prayer, and he says I just have to be nice to people, and he says nobody makes it anyway, and he says..."

How can everyone be right at the same time??

And where does this get me in the end?

No. I say religion is a crutch. A man-made way for us to try and reach up to God. Since the beginning of time, societies have had some form of religion, some need to worship a being mightier than themselves. What makes you so sure that all of them are wrong and now, suddenly, you have the key?

Stop telling me what to do, stop telling me what I need, and stop believing that you hold the only right answer to the question the world has never ceased to ask.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Step 1: Stop Thinking That It Actually Matters What Other People Think

Growing up I was always such a "people-pleaser." The worst punishment for me was when my dad would look at me and tell me he was disappointed in me. Disappointed. Ouch.

So trying to gather up the courage to tell my sisters, my roommates, my mom, my dad that I was leaving the mormon church was a bit of a struggle for me. I was so scared of becoming a disappointment to so many people.

Well I had to get over it... I'm still trying to get over it. Who cares what everyone else thinks? Why should it matter if I disappoint someone if pleasing them means I'm making myself unhappy?

I'm so sick of people judging me!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Morma-wha?

A recovering mormonholic? What the hell is that? Glad you asked... Basically, I grew up Mormon... 21 years in the business. I was addicted, and I was a good one. Then I realized it was all a farce, and I left the business. Things have been pretty okay for me since then. I dabbled awhile in evangelical christianity, but after a bit, I felt like I had jumped from one cult over to another. That's fine, believe in God, don't believe in God. But what I can't believe in are all those hard-core, Bible-thumpin', condemn you to hell for not living their way and saying their prayers and listening to their music kind of bullshit people. What? You don't believe that George W is a messenger from Jesus sent to rid the whole world of evil and restore peace and democracy to this bless-ed world?? You heathen! I'll pray for your wretched soul!!

Bull.

I've had enough of this Holier Than Thou bunch. They're just Mormons that speak a different language.

But I digress.

I'm just working on discovering life after mormonhood. Maybe I should start my own 12-step program...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Tai Chi

So I'm following the crowd and joining the blog scene. Maybe I'll be better at blogging than I am at emailing people! And... that's about all I have to say on that one.