Matthew 10:32-36 and how religion poisons loving families.

Matthew 10
32 'So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.
33 But the one who disowns me in the presence of human beings, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.
34 'Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law;
36 a person's enemies will be the members of his own household.


The above verse was pasted on facebook today by my mother, she's taking our debate very personally, even though I stopped it before things went too far. I thought anyways. She called me today to ask a favor of me and about three minutes in she was in tears. It makes me sad.

I love my mom. When I was religious she was an inspiration to me, she guided me down her path of faith with what I am sure was sincere belief that it was the right path. I don't blame her for my religious indoctrination, she was raised with the stuff by my grandmother, a strong and amazing woman who was also raised with religion as a part of life. It is just how it goes. Being Catholic was almost as matter of fact as being Hispanic.

But I do not have that faith anymore, and I respect my family too much to lie to them about it. I didn't leave my faith out of petty vengeance, I left because I do not believe. I left because I cannot maintain that faith, and I find no comfort in it. With no peace and no faith, what reason is left to adhere to religion? Tradition? 

Unfortunately once the blinders were removed I could not unsee the atrocities religion has gotten away with. This sanctimonious bullshit shoved down our throats has the potential to make us do horrible, unforgivable things, like disowning your children or stoning them to death, or... come on, you know the stories.

AND YET...

I hear, even on this site, that I haven't given religion a fair shake. Oh, I'm shaking it alright, and all the fruit that falls from that tree is rotten.

Charity done in the name of ministry work, a X-tian group may build a school in the middle of Africa, but they'll make sure to spoon feed them this religious garbage. Hell they do it here in America, good colleges with religious institutions woven in so tightly that Nietzsche cannot realistically be discussed in philosophy without turning him into some easily thwarted cartoonish villain.

What other good is there? Peace? What is inner peace when it comes at the expense of the emotional distress of others? It certainly will never bring world peace as long as the three major Abrahamic traditions are all competing for the grandest asshole trophy. Bloodshed across the globe can trace its path back to those religions time and time again.

Does it create answers? No, it creates a false question of "What happens after life?" With religion you spend so much time concerned with your life of eternity that you don't realize your adherence to this bullshit is precisely why death seems like a better choice than the life you are currently living. Everyone is suspect, everyone is a sinner, EVERYONE IS HELLBOUND.

Well I've had enough. I am not going to pander to the religious and act as though religion offers some unique good to the world. Let me leave you with this little nugget about the good religion does in the world.

My grandfather fondled me, my cousin and several of our friends when we were young and blossoming girls. When I told my mother, and when others came forward my grandfather went to see a priest, who forgave him. He has never once apologized or spoke of it again to any of us. We were all very young then. I was urged to forgive him. I was told not to tell my brothers because it would only upset them.

So I did.

I forgave him.

And the day of my beautiful grandmother's funeral he did it again.

Good thing the confessional was open that weekend.

Views: 700

Comment by C Lewis on January 24, 2012 at 9:13am

And you are just one of the thousands with a sad story like that. Isn't it ridiculous?

I was raised Baptist...so I get it. I get all the dogma that you have to just believe and accept. I've struggled for YEARS with my beliefs...with the question of is there really a God 'up there' somewhere...and finally my logical brain kicked in. Since walking away from it essentially, I feel better than ever. My family and friends - even boyfriend - do not share my views. And that's ok. They don't have to. If their religion works for them, then that's wonderful. But I need more. I need more substance. Science and logic gives me that. And you're so right...all the atrocious things that have been done in the name of religion is just sickening. If there truly was a God, do you think it/he/she/whatever would really want all of those awful things to happen? Of course not. Most religions and corresponding books are scarily contradictory. How can that be ignored?

Thanks for sharing. I've been reading posts for a while now, but yours encouraged me to finally log in so I could comment. And this - "With no peace and no faith, what reason is left to adhere to religion? Tradition?" is spot on. That's exactly why I walked away from it.

And I haven't looked back. : )

Comment by Mabel on January 24, 2012 at 11:07am

What is inner peace when it comes at the expense of the emotional distress of others?

@ Carol Foley - I would like your permission to use that statement as my motto :)

Comment by UnTarded on January 24, 2012 at 12:22pm

I was raised Baptist...

@C Lewis- I was raised a Mormon. Baptists can be a little crazy, but Mormons are totally Bat-Shit Crazy.

When Logic and Reason entered the picture at 13, my theistic beliefs melted away. My lifelong indoctrination became meaningless.

I'm not a Scientist, but science fascinates me in ways that religion never could. "I don't want to believe, I want to know."

Cheers!

Comment by C Lewis on January 24, 2012 at 12:41pm

That's exactly why I mentioned science. I'm not a scientist, either, but it has explained so much that was called a 'miracle' before. I think anytime sometime good happens without the knowledge to back WHY it happened, it's automatically a 'miracle'.

Along that vein, I'll tell you what *really* changed the path for me - learning about the 'plagues of Egypt' and WHY and HOW they happened. It was a HUGE eye-opener that led to a thirst for more of the same knowledge.

Comment by Steve on January 24, 2012 at 1:17pm

I actually like that quote because it shows that Jesus is not the nice, friendly, peace-loving hippie he is usually portrayed as. And it shows how divisive and hostile religion is. Though it's sad to see a parent actually using it against their child

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 24, 2012 at 5:40pm

Carol, that's one of the most moving things I've read in a while. I'm actually a little teary. Just so sad. And it angers me that religion does this shit to people.

I don't know why anyone would say you haven't given religion a "fair shake". (Love your rotten fruit comment, totally stealing it) Anyone old enough to think for oneself and has rejected religion has given it all it deserves. You know, I may not have given phrenology a fair shake, or palmistry.... No, when something is spurious, there is no need to give it any further consideration.

Stay strong, sister. I feel sure you will.

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 24, 2012 at 5:48pm

Charity done in the name of ministry work, a X-tian group may build a school in the middle of Africa, but they'll make sure to spoon feed them this religious garbage. Hell they do it here in America...

One of the places they do it most in America is in the homeless system. I have had 4 periods of homelessness, fortunately brief, and to get a meal and a bed (such as they were) I had to endure an hour or more of fundamental 卐tian preaching. When I quietly tried to sit there and read Eudora Welty during the "service", one of the mission guys came over and told me to shut my book. I did, because otherwise I would have been outside that night. The missionary approach is to find a captive audience and browbeat them, which of course is so effective. Out of the 400 or so guys in that shelter, I was far from the only one who was pissed about the treatment.

Comment by John Kelly on January 24, 2012 at 6:16pm

The problem is when you use a broad brush to include people who are not like that.  There are plenty of religious groups that don't act like that, and there are plenty of forms of Christianity that don't see the Bible as perfect. 

You make a good point about inner peace against the emotional distress of others, but not all religions do cause that emotional distress and religion can exist without doing it.  "Religion must be done away with completely because many of its present forms cause emotional distress" is not a strong argument for such total social upheaval.

This justifies fighting dogmatic religions, excesses, but it does not justify hatred for Unitarians, or Episcopalians, Universalists United Methodists or Disciples of Christ, or countless other liberal forms of Christianity.  It really doesn't.

My argument against all this frustration is, doing the same thing with a different ideology is no different.  The second is that this violates the basic concepts of social systems theory.  You can expect the most resistance from people when you try to create change in this manner.  Disarming fundamentalist Christianity, and being anti-fundamentalist is what needs to be done.  The other stuff is overkill and innefective anyway.  More concentrated efforts against the real offenders would bring about better results because it wouldn't alienate you against possible allies in your fight.

Comment by Carol Foley on January 24, 2012 at 6:38pm

@John Kelly: I don't feel the need to count out exceptions to the rules Mr. Kelly. If some religious group has some how managed to achieve goodness free of biblical dickery than I am unaware of it. Liberal Christianity is simply another way for people to hedge their bets. They ignore the majority of the bible while professing love for a lord who promotes enemies among families. They may not like the bible, but they want to believe in god, just in case.

I have no patience or time for the uncourageous approach to faith or agnosticism or what have you. People who want to seem like everyone's friend are no one's friend. I find nothing redeeming about their religions that cannot be found outside of faith.

Of course I am speaking of religions and not people, yes there are a percentage of good people in any religion, the problem comes not from their goodness, but rather how they are in between the decision to do the right thing and do what their religion believes is the right thing. As long as someone is taking morality cues from a centuries old book and an invisible sky wizard I do not think I am being unreasonable in being suspect of their motives.

I, like every thinking person, am a philosopher Mr. Kelly. As a philosopher I believe that right and wrong are difficult concepts to grab a definite hold of at times, but (and this is very important) I do not believe that a good moral system can be built upon fairy tales, ghost stories and death threats from the sublime. Only reality can reveal how we should act, never mythology.

@Mabel: Go ahead! I'd be flattered!

@Barry: To be honest I feel more offended for your brush with religious bullshit than my own issues. To prey upon the vulnerable is a disgraceful tactic that the religious thrive on, it is blackmail in my book.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on January 24, 2012 at 7:22pm

@John

For a religion NOT to cause emotional distress, one must either be ignorant enough to be blind to the epistemological contradictions or be brian-washed into a state of accepting a self-contradicting epistemology as being valid - neither option constitutes a healthy state of mind.

Now, if one removes all supernatural claims and simply offers the 'religion' as a healthy standard of living (such as many forms of Buddhism) then the aforementioned problem may not exist - but then one must wonder whether the healthy standard of living constitutes a religion at all, or is simply a personal philosophy.

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