Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Religion is a funny thing to me

It's so inspiring.

Some are inspired to hate those whom aren't inspired. Others are inspired to hate those whom are inspired. Still others are inspired to hate those whom aren't inspired the right way.

Some are inspired to start wars. Others to start peace.

Some make art and literature and some make censorship.

When it comes up everything changes. You can feel it, hear it, see it. Some people get nervous. They're afraid someone, maybe themselves, will say something wrong. They are afraid to offend and afraid to say nothing and afraid to run into the wrong sort of person and that wrong sort is likely to think that the first person is the wrong sort.

Personally I get a little bit excited when religion comes up. I grew up Catholic but sadly, never got to talk about it all that much. We had religion class in school (it was a private Catholic school) but it was pretty much useless shit. By that I mean, technical details like what you call the stuff the priest wears. We never really had any understanding of the Bible and certainly no discussion. To some extent it made sense since you're not likely to get much use out of a bunch of ignorant and immature younguns.

I do remember when we were one told to write a sort of diary for one of the holy periods; perhaps Advent. They were to be private, the teacher only checking to make sure we had written, not to actually read it. Can you guess the result? Oh yes, exactly: I don't trust adults. Despite being 22 I don't really consider myself adult because once I am, I am no longer to be trusted. Perhaps they're not all rotten liars, but when you're betrayed at a young age it tends to stick.

I wrote about how the classes were stupid. Pointless wastes of time. I said we should talk with the priest and pastor and actually learn something worth learning. Enlighten ourselves if you will; though I doubt I used the word at the time. Clearly this was critical of quite a bit. But what should a person do, lie and hide? This was probably intended to be a message to God or something of that sort; not really the place for pushing aside one's true thoughts.

I was sent to the principal. There I explained to her that my teacher had lied. I don't know if anything happened, and I might have been able to find out. The little bit of good news was that I don't recall being in any trouble with the principal. Even then I knew she was a reasonable person and my opinion of her has only become more positive since I graduated from there.

Getting back to the point: Catholicism is a strange thing in my heart. I can't say I believe it. But I respond to it. It is something I recognize and remember. A little piece of my childhood as familiar to me as legos or soccer. Perhaps I could call it nostalgia. I must admit that this is almost certainly due to rose-colored glasses, for I distinctly remember at the time being bored out of my mind by Mass. It was boring. I didn't like singing and I didn't want to inflict my terrible voice on others, though before puberty took its full toll I was told I had a decent voice and excellent tone (or is it pitch?). Sermons were boring. Kneeling hurt my knees. Sometimes in the summer I'd get dizzy and have to sit outside.

Which reminds me of a time when the same happened to a friend of mine. I insisted that he be let outside for air. Instead the previously mention idiot teacher made him stay inside sitting and covered him with a coat because... well I don't know why. She seemed to think he had a fever. Looking back I wish I'd hurt her for refusing to listen; she was endangering my friend and refusing to listen to my own experience just to sate her pitiful ego.

With all the political correctness these days, religion almost seems risque. It's dangerous and unusual. I like to see it, hear it, discuss it. I want to see it not shoved under the table as some frightening thing.

And yet, I despise fundamentalists. They would put religion front and center and everywhere. They would make it only their own distorted, hateful beliefs. When they speak of religion I feel no sense of remembering or familiarity, only of hatred and ignorance radiating from them. It saddens me and sickens me. They are the cause of people calling Christians hypocrites. They are the cause of religious war. To be truthful, they are not Christians. They identify as all sorts of religions, but they are all the same sickening sort just with different, equally incorrect labels.

I believe firmly in the separation of Church and State. And yet, I think our schools shouldn't have to be so afraid of religion. Talk about it as history and philosophy and sociology and myth and all the many things that it is. There's no need to say it is right or wrong or needed or unneeded. But it is too much of our society and world to just ignore, to do so is to leave students woefully ignorant. It is a dangerous thing to discuss with public funds, but it should be done as long as it is done with great care.

Sadly, zealots on all sides would likely ruin the attempts.


G-Rebel said...

Disclaimer: I am not a zealot and definately not a fundamentalist, but I am very religious.

Not only zealots would ruin the attempts, but the ignorance of so many changes the dynamic of the conversation more than just marginally.

I can't say how many times people have made fun of or scorned me or even threatened or attempted physical harm to me because of my religion. I believe each time was because they were ignorant. That ignorance bred disdain or even hatred.

Open and respectful religous conversation would go a long way to improve people's attitudes towards each other. But I'm a true cynic, and don't believe enough people are capable of such discussion...yet.

Klepsacovic said...

It is a shame how people can become so busy finding the flaws in others that they miss their own. "You're ignorant because of your beliefs!" "Do you even know my beliefs?"

I must sadly admit that many secularists are as zealous and irrational as the religious people whom they oppose. It reminds me of The Line post that I wrote on my WoW blog; people who think they're on my side but actually aren't. I'm not religious but I'm not anti-religious; instead I oppose ignorance and fanaticism in all its forms and of forms it has an endless supply.