Religious Zealots: It’s Not You It’s Me

I have come across something that made me less angry about religious zealots, which I thought I’d share. I believe in a “oneness” of us all, which I refer to God, but I certainly do not believe in a Biblical God. I don’t mind who does, as long as they don’t force their beliefs on others in a condemning, unfriendly, close-minded way. I just can’t stand it.

I really have a massive problem with being told that someone’s loving God will send non-believers to this place of fire and torture Christians made up called hell. Torture! Never mind the fact many non-Christians are amazingly compassionate, kind-hearted people. What kind of sick twisted God have humans created?

I read an article once where the writer said, “When you [the non-believers] die, Jesus will turn away and say, ‘I don’t even know you’, since you aren’t a Christian.” Oh dear. I really don’t think Jesus would be that big of a arsehole, quite frankly.

It’s clear that firstly they haven’t thought about what they are saying, nor have the researched the evolution of the Bible. These are the same people who talk about things like the “virgin” Mary. The same people who judge others but won’t dare eat meat on Good Friday. The same people who just decide that the men, women and children God ordered killed in the Old Testament were just super-bad, so this is OK.

But I wonder: Can kids be super-bad? Were the babies just born evil?

The Bible has been used for centuries by Christians as a weapon of control. To read it literally is to believe in a three-tiered universe, to condone slavery, to treat women as inferior creatures, to believe that sickness is caused by God’s punishment and that mental disease and epilepsy are caused by demonic possession. When someone tells me that they believe the Bible is the ‘literal and inerrant word of God,’ I always ask, ‘Have you ever read it’? – Bishop John Shelby Spong.

Thankfully, not all religious people are fanatical and take the Bible verbatim. These intelligent folk realise it is just a book, but find some of the parables useful and interesting. They like some of the things Jesus said, which can be summarised as, “just look after your own shit.” That’s cool, I get that.

There’s a lot of historical evidence that Jesus existed. What if Jesus was actually an enlightened guy who somehow got tangled up with the hateful monstrosity that is the Bible, particularly the Old Testament? If I were him, I’d be like, “For fucks sake, I was trying to send of message of love and you jumbled me together with your murderous, tyrannical God? Have you guys even been listening?”

But now it’s time to get off my hatey horse and look at what I have to work on,  which is this: If ever anything pisses me off consistently, then I need to look at it another way. Because I am solely responsible for the condition of my life. Not my mum, dad, teacher, ex-partners, my experiences. I’m responsible for my own perceptions and belief systems.

So if I’m all Cunty Mcgee about Christians, I need to think again. Thankfully, the world is a pretty cool place and whenever I set an intention to do something – such as figure out how to see a situation another way (or any other intention at all, really) –  a gift, opportunity, or “coincidence” always appears.

Of all the parts of your body, be most vigilant over your index finger, for it is blame-thirsty. A pointed finger is a victim’s logo… No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc… The moment that you blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything. – Joseph Brodsky.

This time the answer came from a blog post by spiritual teacher Ram Dass (my boss calls him Ram’d Ass, which is rude but also slightly amusing). He spoke of the reason why people work really hard to force their religion or spirituality down other people’s throats.

“The zeal is based on our lack of faith, because we’re not sure what we’re doing. So we figure if we convince everybody else…[But] you can’t bulldoze and beat down the system. You are the system.”

Aha! That makes me much less cunty and far more compassionate.

I’m of the opinion that we all contain a piece of “God” or Source, or Pure Potential – whatever you call it. And together we are God, yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and we are here to create our own little universes. There are 7.4 billion universes, because none of us has the exact same perceptions and experiences.

I’m happy not to convince anyone (but be warned if you disagree you will suffer my personal eternal wrath).

So, if there are 84% of people who consider themselves religious (based on an old study in 2010), but say only an estimated 15% who are fanatical about it and love to tell others what to do, how they’ll suffer when they die, or how unworthy they are (note that I have completely made the second statistic up) then that means there are almost 1 billion people who are struggling, who are unconsciously lacking faith, in their faith.

They are doing the best they can, and are working hard to convince themselves of something they really want to believe in. As Jesus said (that interesting guy who lived a while back), “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Yeah OK, I reckon I can do that.

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