I Blame Religion
This post was originally written in August 2012 on my other blog. I am moving the post here while I clean up or close the other site.
I listened to a great talk by Rabbi Rami Shapiro this morning at the Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist Church. His theme was all things are possible with God, which is not always a good thing. His points made me think about events in my life, especially related to members of my family. Rabbi Rami might not approve of me adding my personal thoughts to his sermon, but hopefully he would be thankful that I was listening and he made me think.
I no longer believe in the most basic tenets of Christianity — the virgin birth and the resurrection. These are not original stories and were told of other ‘gods’ long before Jesus. I also don’t believe in the rapture, and a hate-filled god that will send everyone to hell. Mostly because I don’t believe in hell. What I do believe is that there is a loving divine force that resides in everything and everyone, and the inherent good in all people.
Christianity teaches the opposite. Today the world is filled with hate, and sadly most (if not all) of that hate originates with religion. I was raised in the Christian church, and from my earliest experiences I was taught that everyone is born with original sin; we are all born evil and predestined to burn in hell forever. The only path to avoiding this fate is to be “saved” by believing in Jesus.
Human are not born with this belief. Babies only know love. People are taught to hate and judge others by their religion, most notably by Christianity. I am reminded of my grandmother’s funeral, and how Christian hatred dictated the day instead of loving memories of a wonderful person. Her preacher spent a full hour preaching about her sinful grandchildren (me), and how she constantly worried and prayed for their souls because she knew they were going to hell. He made this point seven times — I counted. It’s sad to think that my grandmother only thought of me in a negative way. She chose the teachings of her church to judge me, rather than accepting me.
After listening to Rabbi Rami this morning, and thinking about his talk on the way home, I could say it wasn’t my grandmother’s fault. She was jaded by religion and I should forget about it. But I can’t, not yet. It was a choice. She chose the teachings of her church over the teachings of her heart. And what I learned today is that I must be careful not to repeat this mistake. I don’t call myself a true Christian anymore but I still judge people based on religion. The difference is I judge based on their religion, not mine. My challenge is to show everyone the same love and respect that I would like to receive. Isn’t that the core teachings of Jesus?