As a child, I was baptized a Roman Catholic. My mother would send me to church on Sunday mornings with my three older sisters. In those days Spanish mass was conducted in the church basement. As a kid I did not understand why. Upstairs, in the church proper, there were nice pews for the parishioners, and an aura of, well, church. The priest was dressed in his best priest outfit, the alter boys were dressed in there best. Statues of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and other saints lined the perimeter of the church.
In the basement we sat around grade school type cafeteria tables. The priest was dressed in normal priest garb, and their was only one alter boy present. Additionally, there were no statues of Jesus, Mary, Joseph or any saints lining the perimeter of the room.
Very early in my church going career I started playing hooky. By that I mean instead of going to mass on Sunday I’d go to the park to play with the other kids not attending mass. I began using the money my mother had given me as a tithe to buy candy instead.
When I was about 10 years old I was encouraged to attend a Pentecostal church. Because I had gotten a guitar for Christmas one of our Pentecost neighbors convinced my mother to allow me to play it in their church. So for a very brief period I attended what we used to call the Hallelujah church.
In the 1980’s my family had converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses. I could not wrap my head around that one but did give it a go, especially since I was exposed to it. The “witnesses” were very peculiar people. They’d go door to door preaching and it seemed no one liked them. The concept of dying rather than accepting a life saving blood transfusion really frightened me.
In my twenty’s I tried Buddhism. For a short time I chanted to the Gohonzon. In my 30’s I took Shahada and converted to Islam. For about six months I was Muslim.
As you can see, throughout my live I had tried various forms of organized religion. The ideals and concepts of each of these religions are beautiful and frankly very similar. The reason I could not stick to anyone of these organized religions is due to the level of hypocrisy I found each one to have.
I do not want to, nor do I intend to offend anyone. This is just my own personal outlook based on my experience with organized religions.
When the Catholic Church pedophile priest scandal broke and the church tried to cover it up I was convinced that Catholicism was not for me. One of my Jehovah Witness sister’s thought she had an aha moment stating that that type of behavior would never occur among the (Jehovah Witness) brothers. To her dismay the following year a similar scandal broke out within the “Kingdom Hall’s” of the Jehovah Witnesses.
I do believe in a higher power, and I even dare to call my higher power god. I have a personal relationship with my god – I do not need a middleman for me to communicate with my god. For me, my god is empathetic, compassionate, loving, merciful and forgiving. My god does not condone criminal behavior and does believe that if man/woman breaks man/woman’s laws they should be penalized by man/woman’s jurisprudence. My god is all loving and does not judge humans by sexual orientation or preference. There is no hypocrisy with my god. There are to many problems in the world for my god to be concerned with such trivialities as a woman’s choice or with sexual identification or preference. My god would deal with those issues when I die and am before him to account.
My god would rather that man/woman assert their energy trying to solve issues of the planet, like by not trying to destroy it by polluting the water and oxygen we humans need for our very survival. Or ending mindless wars. My god tells me not to sweat the little things and to focus on the bigger picture. During my life I must have made thousands of mistakes, lied and maybe hurt people (their feelings not physically I am not an animal, lol) but those things can be corrected while I am still of this plane (alive – a human) the rest will be sorted when I arrive at the spiritual plane.
Historically more wars have been fought, more people have been killed, tortured and maimed in the name of god then for any other reason by organized religion.
The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. In my estimation this is so because organized religion has been used as an opiate to dull the senses of people that had already been suffering. For those suffering and living in poverty it is very easy for them to be lulled by false hope. Prepare now for a better existence when you die, decry the preachers, rather than focusing on bettering you spirit now while you live.
I have even tried having rational, logical conversations with many of those truly “religious” people but I just can’t do it. There is no logic if their only answer is that I just need to have blind faith, that god sees and knows all, god know best, or that man is inherently evil. To me, what type of philosophy is that? It sounds rather doom and gloom, hopeless. I’d rather have hope and aspire toward being a better man and living a sound life while I am alive. The way I see it, spiritual things will be resolved in the spiritual realm.
I do not knock anyone for belonging to and/or believing in organized religion. What I do take offense with is when those beliefs are imposed on me or others. If, as they all claim, god gave us free will why do they (the religious) try so hard to impose their beliefs on others, convert others to their way of thinking?
While religion is fighting to save human kinds souls, the world we live on is being destroyed. I think we all should be worrying about the planet we live on, the one we call all irrefutably agree exist because we are all on it. I think we should worry about the next destination when we get there.
Through prayer and meditation I try to improve my conscious contact with my god. I pray for knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry that out. I also believe in the concept of BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR BECAUSE YOU JUST MAY GET IT for when you do get it, you may not be prepared for it and may then pray for it to be removed.
The moral of this story is simple.
Treat people the way you would like to be treated.
Respect everyone, that way you can command respect.
Offer a helping hand, when you can, to those less fortunate.
Do not impose your will, your beliefs or your thoughts on others. Instead share them and perhaps you will attract others of like mind.
One last thing, give smiles freely. A smile costs you nothing but it can mean a whole lot to those receiving it.