When it comes to religion, there are a variety of wars, sub-wars, mainstream wars, and inner-wars going on. Catholics, Vs Baptist, Vs Christian, Vs Scientology, Vs QAnon, Vs Methodists, Vs Jehovah Witnesses, Vs Islam, Buddhist, and so much more, and yet, all of them Vs the non-religious and non god-believing Atheist. If anything they can all agree on, Atheist are evil. And within that part is where this topic slightly takes place.
I’ve been an atheist since I was 9-years-old, and it took a few years thereafter to even know that I was that by label of exterior identification. Recently (as of this year) in the comment section of my YouTube channel, a person pointed out that there is a difference in believing in god and being religious. She noted that she did not go to church or attend the multitude of events and functions and gossip circles involved in her former church. This brought pause to me and I had to do some thinking for a better enlightenment.
Over the course of a few weeks, I listened further to religious leaders, followers, and apologists, and found a new understanding of the separation of church and god. While there are tons of nuances involved with any road dealing with religion, and belief, I want to hyper focus on one variant as if nothing else exists. I need to do this in order to keep this short and to the point.
When one has a belief in god, no matter who instilled it, that belief is there and in its’ simplicity, is only a belief that a god exists and is looking out for that person. There are other things involved in this thinking, but as I stated, I want to hyper focus. So to this believer there is only the belief that god is real and that encapsulates everything taught up to that point. These are things such as seeing loved ones in life after physical death, feeling protected by a power unseen but felt, and knowing what choice you make, so long as it is part of god, you will be steered in the right direction. While many atheists may find fault with this thinking, I must point out, that everything of these thoughts are harmless for the most part. These thoughts and beliefs are personally unto the believer and do not harm anyone outside of their emotions. With this said, I must go into the harmful parts that extends beyond belief.
The harmful part is religion itself. Now I know that will anger a lot of people, but I humbly ask that you read along and give me a chance, and remove all pre-emptive blinders. Now, while churches have given some food to the hungry and homeless, and use to take in all who need shelter from the ravaging elements of nature, churches are simply a “home” so to speak; a place for believers to gather and worship under the direct orders of one pro-claimed and accepted as chosen by god himself to deliver “the word”.
Often times in my videos, I say, “It’s not what you do or say, but why you do or say it.” People, who believe in god, simply believe in god and live their lives. Those who are in a religion do more than believe. They believe, “or else”. Keeping things simple and removing bible study, and other programs, the person work all week, and on Sunday (rain or shine) go to church and get the word. I recall from my youth and hearing stories as I grew up, that people who missed church that day, caused a small ruckus. People in the congregation were always concerned and the whispers began. Nearly all in the church would find a way to contact that person or persons and find out why they didn’t “make it in” that day. All who didn’t contact that person would call and ask around to find out who has contacted whoever was absent that day. It would take a day or two but everyone would have one version or another about the absent person.
I personally recall hearing chatter of that person doing ungodly things and sitting at home with the devil doing “god knows what,” which always confused me. In time, I found out they were direly afraid of that person losing their way, or worst, becoming an Atheist. When they find out that person “overslept” or became sick, they start gossiping on how that person became sick, and this resulted in false hearsay and more. In addition to all of this, there is the jesus check, which is equal to the patriot check. This is more annoying and yet, frightening than the patriot check. Wait. I got a feeling you may not know what a jesus check is. My apologies. I’ll briefly explain.
The jesus check is a tribal check to those who missed a day of “service” or that stranger you meet, or reacquainting with a long lost friend, love, or relative. See if this sounds familiar. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other. How’s the lord been treating you?” How about this one? Someone has been down on their luck and no one in the church is helping, and yet, this is heard: “Yeah times are tough and people don’t seem to care one way or the other, but you know who cares; don’t you?” If that doesn’t ring a bell, how about the door-to-door people? “Hello, we’re having a service down at the <place near you> where we want you to hear from your lord and savior about the troubles around us and how he can save us all.” It’s usually like that for me anyway. If those are not enough, how about the direct one. “You do accept jesus and your lord and savior, don’t you?”
“So how is this religious,” you may ask. I understand if it seems like there’s no connection or point made. Truth is, I’ve made it many times. If you’re a tree, and a bird asks, “What’s with all the trees?” You’d not understand because you’re it. See, believing in god is more-or-less person, while religion is system of checks to ensure all who enter do not leave. In a religion you must not only believe in god, but you must believe it the same way everyone else does. If this bothers you, think about lines like, “God wants you to…” and “If you aren’t living in the name of the lord…” and lines like that. When someone good or at times bad happens, if you don’t, “praise jesus” or something thereof, you get that awkward eye of judgment. It is manipulation and ultimately Stockholm syndrome.
Do not misunderstand me. My goal here is not to get you to leave your religion, but take notice how there is not much to say about simple believers who mind their own business, and yet, I could go on about those who do all they can to force others to believe, and believe in the way they want them to.
You and I may equally like a grilled cheese sandwich with butter on either side for that most joyous flavor. Now if I so happen to say, “You need to have the lights dimmed, romantic music playing, a tiny alter for plain bread, and a picture our of great deity Cheezinni de la Grilled on the west wall or you’re nothing to me or anyone else, and you’ll be punished for all eternity,” then you’d probably see me as a crazy person. I simply ask that you think about what you’re being told and what the consequences of going against the grain will be if you, of free will, enacted such personal power.
Thank you for reading.