Stepping back on to my pedestal...
I grew up mostly in a pretty non-religious family. We basically went to church on holidays and the odd occasion. When I was partially through high school, they discovered (were "converted," brainwashed, whatever you may...) a local church. I think they were invited by a work friend or something. For whatever reason adults feel the need or desire to become involved in organized religion, they did. The next thing I knew, I was being thrown (almost unwittingly) into this new "Godly" lifestyle. Now I don't remember if I was given the option to start going to this church or if I was required to by my parents. Regardless, at the time I didn't mind too much. It was a group of new "friends" who accepted me (come on...high school was still an awkward time of fitting in and figuring ourselves out). I still didn't want to drop all the school friends for the church friends but couldn't really combine the two. It resulted in more difficulties with trying to mesh and balance the two groups.
As I went to college, I became intertwined with a "college group" of kids from the same church. Throughout that first year, I had a tight knit group of good friends. Something did not quite feel right for me though. I played the part well (don't we/they all?). By my second year of college, I started separating myself from the church crowd. This caused I'm sure a lot of prayers from them about me and tension between my parents and I. Long story, short(er)...I stopped going to that particular church as did my parents a short time later. Seems some things came to light for them as well. I ended up having a summer of newly found "freedom" and fun. I think it was the rebellion and partying of my freshman year that I never got. I ended up dating D, and my parents temporarily found another church. They made/enticed me to "try" this new and improved church. I remember leaving D's apt. on a Sunday morning to meet them at church. It lasted longer for them than me. I think I ended up somehow making a bargain with my parents as to how not to go anymore.
By this time, I had developed a lot of my own ideals about life, living, people, etc. Of course since then, I have developed many more thoughts on life, living, and people. Personally (and in no way forcing my ideals on others at this time), I do not believe in religion (although some would concur that the non-belief in a god/gods, etc. is a "religion"). I really hate how people (including me back in the day) just accept and believe things without research and questioning them. I can not stand people (of any religion) using "values" from their religion as a basis for doing wrong, denying people rights, etc. I especially hate this argument being used in a political arena. I do NOT hate people who follow or believe in a religion. I would like to hear the argument that shows me proof that Christianity is RIGHT and all other religions (Islam, etc...which many oddly share similar stories) are wrong. I would like to hear the argument as to why it is ok for Christians think they can follow some of their sacred Bible and not all of it. I only use Christianity as an example here because so many people in the US. characterize themselves as Christians. There's a lot I would like to hear. Here are a couple of really interesting books I've found questioning religion and Christianity:
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris is my current read. His book is pretty much a letter addressed to Christians. Obviously he questions a lot of the motives and theories behind Christianity. Here's a quote from his foreword,
“Thousands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.”My first ever read on non-religion was God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens. I love this book.
It says everything so well and in ways I never could. It should be my Bible ;) This is an amazing book with lots of thorough research and knowledge.
Again, I have nothing against any of my friends or those I know who follow a religion. I understand why people want and need religion. In my humble opinion, I just do not agree with any of it. I do not want or need it in my life. I'd love to have the thoughts and comments of any of you, who do characterize yourself as following a religion, who may have read either of these books or similar. Since I am semi-hypocrite right now, I have not yet sought out books that (almost) directly oppose the thoughts and ideals in the above books. Please let me know of any books that do provide evidence and research to disprove these books.
Ok...if you made it through the monster post and are considering no longer reading my blog....it's up to you. I promise, I RARELY post (full posts that is) on such touchy subjects...