This is a rant. Enjoy / be warned.
I am tired. Religion is killing me. Despite having successfully lobotomised myself, eradicated the evil brain-washings that found their way into my head when I was young and impressionable, these same brain-washings were apparently still ruling my life. It still kept me awake at night, still got in the way of what I really should be doing, all because I was so intent on fighting the evil.
It would probably be best if I unsubscribe from all the news feeds I currently have in my reader (rather than just ignore them), turn my head the other way, look to the green pastures of “no religion”, that dream so many have thought about. Just imagine. The problem is those green pastures are a myth, in the culture and place I find myself. Stellenbosch is considered by some to be the “Bible Belt” of South Africa. I have many friends that are very serious about their religion. And I have an extended family, with aunts, uncles and cousins, taking their religion very seriously. There is no escaping it. And all too often these examples have too many aspects of the stereotypes of evil religion I have come across.
My journey has been useful therefore, I now know more about religion than I ever thought I would (having recently read the books I read). I will be able to respond to any questions or discussions that are raised, I will be able to discuss what is really true, what is truly worthwhile. I will be able to teach what I have learned about Jesus, and the wonderful example he did set. So often these days, what many of “these religious people” need, is to hear Jesus’ message, which would set them free, if only they could hear it.
I wonder how Jesus would feel about atheistic followers. He never addressed atheism, theism was a given in his day, every person and his dog believed in God as a personal being, that is in charge of everything from lightning, to health, to victories in war, to floods… that is not to say God isn’t still involved, just that his involvement becomes a lot more metaphorical nowadays, more concerned with purpose than with method, which we understand much better from a naturalistic perspective. Either way, being a theist in the traditional sense is no longer a given. Is that relevant? I’m not so sure it is…
No, I’m not an atheist. I still call myself a Christian, but labels are irrelevant. Except to those that ignore anything that isn’t labelled the way they like it. (A cousin stopped reading “Screw It, Let’s Do It” the moment she read that Richard Branson does not believe in God. Never mind that the next clause said he felt something or someone out there was looking out for him…
Oh, and the brainwashings were not at the hands of my parents, they were at the hands of books that unfortunately found their way into my hands at the wrong time. How jealous I am of the people that live life without knowledge of the evil side of religion, where being a Christian is still about living a good life, an “eternal life”, a life with meaning. Blessed are they, that have not seen the cursed side…?
I am moving on, I am abandoning my little crusade, even before I really started it. I am directing my gaze back into what is good and useful, what truly has meaning in my life. May I only be minimally distracted by this thing that is religion, at times when I can actually make a difference without destroying myself in the process.