Here’s a piece of information you may not know…
I say my prayers every night before I go to bed. I pray for my family to be kept safe. I pray for me to get through the next day. I even pray for a better world.
I’ve done this since I can remember…
It may surprise you considering what I am about go into detail about.
My thoughts on religion, faith, God and people.
As a kid I went to Sunday school, and church. Admittedly it was begrudgingly so, I mean what kid wants to go to school on a Sunday after they’ve spent their entire week in the Learnatory.
We learned all about the Lord and being good people. We sang the songs, had the church fetes. The whole nine yards.
Then of course, coming home we dealt with the reality of parents fighting. My dad getting drunk, beating my mom and in return my mom taking it out on my brother and I.
Till the next week when we got to fake it all again.
Of course while I was aware that this was all bad and wrong, it became the norm, because this was the reality of life.
Then as most of you know by now, my dad died when I was 11, and of course my brother killed himself a year later.
So going to church for learning/celebrating was replaced by going to church to say goodbye to half my family – this lead to my first realization that the whole “God is good” school of thinking was not exactly accurate.
Throughout our grieving period we were constantly visited by church patrons who tried to help us get closer to God…because he was “testing us” and “had a plan”, and blah blah blah. Sure good in theory. But in reality my world was destroyed…twice in one year in fact.
I’ve read the entire Bible from beginning to end. Out loud. And it never made me feel better.
It’s a rude awakening for an 11yr old.
My relationship with God became immediately strained. I shouted at Him, I wept, I asked for forgiveness and to stop punishing me (for what I don’t know), and promised to be a better person. I would live my life as a good person.
What proceeded was more heartache, more tragedy, more death and more suffering.
Fast forward 20 years later.
I’m a good person. I put other’s first. I don’t drink, smoke, swear etc etc. I live my live more “Christian” than most Christians could ever hope for.
However. I am not Christian. I don’t believe God is the be all and end all that believers try and make you believe.
And that brings me to
Growing up in a “white” school that was pretty much considered Christian, I never really experienced other lifestyles. Except for those darn “Jehova’s witness” kids all the parents would tell you to avoid.
As life progressed I began to make Jewish, Catholic and Muslim friends too…and you know what, they all have their own issues. A jewish guy may love bacon, a muslim girl may want to be a pop culture, rock music loving sex symbol, but neither should be judged because of that.
The stereotypes about each saddened me as they were nothing like the people I knew.
One religion judged another and without really understanding the other always caused conflict. Of course this on a global scale is what has led to many wars. And many Academy Award wins for “serious” actors.
I no longer consider myself part of any religion (of course I joke about following Franconism…the believe that James Franco is our lord and saviour).
And this is where my biggest problem with people comes in.
I believe everyone is entitled to their own belief. I truly do. It’s not for me to say whether what you believe in is right or wrong.
However, when people start telling me (yes some preach) that I need to find God, or Jesus and that they are my salvation I get angry.
Of course, I politely decline the first time with respect to what they believe in, but the second time the gloves will come off. It’s naïve to believe that everyone else must believe in YOUR beliefs.
The key word here is respect. And sadly a lot of people don’t respect that someone else may feel differently, and more importantly, that it’s OK to feel differently.
When something goes wrong in my life, if someone tells me they will pray to God that things turn out ok, then all the best to them. But when they start telling me I need to pray to God for things to come right, I take issue with it, and I will challenge them to the nth degree.
If I wish to pray to the God of the Oceans, Zeus, I will. It’s not about what religion is right, but rather what brings me….
See, now faith I have no problem with, because everyone needs something to believe in. The power of Faith is an amazing thing. If I achieve the impossible, it’s not because it’s “God’s plan”, it’s because I believed that it was meant to be and I chased after it with all my passion and desire. I may choose God to be it conduit of my Faith, but its not a given. Heck I could choose to have Faith in Kim Kardashian and achieve my dreams and people should not be allowed to judge, it just doesn’t work that way.
It’s a personal choice at the end of the day. There is no right or wrong religion or Faith.
Will only the Christians go to heaven because we lived a life in sin?
Have I suffered a lifetime of loss and pain even though I’ve lived my life as a good person because it’s God’s plan? How then can you tell me God is good?
I was recently on a bulk mailing list where someone asked everyone on the list to pray for a loved one. Whilst the story was sad, and touching, the thread became ugly when a few of us asked to be taken off the replies, insults were hurled, people became angry and offended, because it was assumed from the get go that everyone on that list was the God believing type. That’s dangerous and ultimately narrow minded.
It’s that narrow-mindedness that is most prevalent. You watch your social network thread and every day you will see friends praising the Lord and all His glory. You don’t delete them, you don’t comment or reply, because you allow them that freedom. But if you post a message about your faith or feelings or a religious quip about something negative about God or religion, they will judge you and jump down your throat. If God truly does exist, I’d like to link he would welcome free thinking and debate. He gave you the power of free thought, why would He damn you for using it?
What makes this world so amazing is that we are all different and free to make our own choices and beliefs. What makes this world so sad is that so few accept that.
So I guess that brings me back to my opening line. Why do I pray?
I believe everyone deserves a second chance.
Now…about those dinosaurs.