And now for a reading from the book of “Jena-sis:”
Once upon another life in a land far far away from where I currently reside, I grew up Catholic. My parents would like to believe that things I was taught by this exposure to ten years of Catholic schooling would be the best thing that they ever did for me. Some may say that’s part of why there has been as much “wrong” with me.
Religion has been popping up all over in my daily endeavors as of late. As the book of testament would tell you to “Keep Holy the Sabbath” I figured what better day than a Sunday to talk about it?
There are quite a few reasons why “my path has been led astray” from what my parents attempted to instill in me all those years ago. Many of them are based within the foundations I was taught by said religion is the very reason as to why someone should be religious in the first place.
Religion taught me about the bad people do as hypocrisy ran rampant amongst those who attended or found themselves “at the house of the lord”… almost as much as it did the good that resides in people. That is, not to say that there aren’t genuine hearts that attend religious functions. But, like the rest of the world, I have come to understand that there are fewer and farther in between. And, more so, that those who do good for others generally have an agenda a majority of the time.
Religion taught me there was very little that was actually wrong. It showed me ten important things that were to serve as life reminders of the correct path… but that following these ten important “laws” did not matter anyway as all of the wrong I did would be quickly excused in a matter of moments as long as I sat in a box and told a stranger who technically couldn’t tell anyone about it anyway.
Religion did teach me some wonderful things that I wonder where I would be had I not gone to all those aerobic Sunday meetings of sit, stand, kneel.
Catholicism taught me about the real life application of the world itself being a stage. (This was later re-confirmed as I found myself with copies of Shakespeare books.) “Fame” was something completely attainable. I could stand up in front of an audience and force them to listen just by being in the right place at the right time. It also taught me about elaborate storytelling as talks about a man being swallowed by a whale heightened my imagination as I saw that so many people can actually believe things to be facts no matter how ludicrous things are. One could argue that I therefore learned about marketing, manipulation, charm, charisma…
In other words, religion taught me sin and how to get away with it without the worry of actual recourse for my actions. There was very little I could have learned from attending church on a Sunday and receiving a sacrament that I honestly didn’t understand at that age anyway, that I couldn’t have gotten had I had parents that showed me… books, the news (not just Fox News although my father regularly watches) on tv and taken me outside a bit to different diverse neighborhoods to expose me to world experiences.
Why, as a parent would I want my children to attend church to learn all these things rather than allow them to experience the world more naturally and learn these same lessons in the real world where they could then learn tangible approaches to these forms of people and… maybe actually learn that actions should always be accountable?
There are many other reasons as to why I’m opposed to the exposure of religion to youth. I won’t dive into all of them with this entry as some items are… a bit far away down the rabbit hole personal wise than I feel comfortable “confessing” in this box of text to strangers. However, the main reason why I do not believe in following in my parents footsteps is that, with the knowledge I have obtained from personally going this path and seeing truth outside of it, it is that the mind is simply not developed enough to understand the complexity of a potential “higher being” whether its “God” or aliens, especially at that young of an age.
The word “God” is not a basic concept just as the word “love” is not. Telling kids to read from the best selling book in the world and that these things are fact while a giant band plays on stage might make them excited and happy to attend but it doesn’t necessarily teach them things beyond using a scapegoat to get out of their actions the moment they do “wrong.” Giving children material things or taking them to places like Disneyland (which I admittedly have done both of) doesn’t make or show a child the true meaning of “love.” It is far more than that.
If anything religious could be said that could explain how I would even consider a religious context from a book being introduced to my children, it would be this passage found, ironically, in an interpreted version of suppressed text from the Gospel of Thomas, a text outside of the canon dictated by the Vatican:
“The Kingdom of God is inside/within you (and all about you), not in buildings/mansions of wood and stone. (When I am gone) Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me.”
If my children want to seek out some “higher being” as a purpose for their lives, I want them to be wise enough and old enough that they can understand its complexity. I also personally feel that they will not find these answers without questioning the world around them… outside of a church. You may believe that all the answers you desire are found within those walls but, as I have found, the only answers that matter or should hold any sort of weight are the ones learned from the within the heart.
Simply (my interpretation)-
“To find the world and all its answers, find yourself first and you will have all that you need. Nothing will ever fulfill you like yourself.”