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2004-07-15 - 11:24 a.m.

I know this is just way too common of a topic lately, but this is really driving me up the wall. I feel increasingly marginalized as a non-christian (actually, I'm just a-religeous, so I'm also a non-jew and a non-shintoist, etc.), and it seems like every day brings some news story about religious rights. I managed to get raised without a solid grounding in any particular religion, so I'm an outsider to all of them. Think about it this way - if you learn about say, hindu brahmanism from a book, instead of living in the middle of it, it would sound all weird and foreign to you. That's the way all religions sound to me. Now, as a kid, I had been told the story(ies) of the christian and jewish religions, but always lined up with the other religions of the world (not ALL of them, of course, but a rather broad spectrum), so I got them all with pretty much equal weight. Somehow I got the impression that this was all stuff people had believed in the distant past, and nobody really thought that it was real anymore. When I was about twelve, someone told me that they do believe in the truth of the christian religious stories, and that's when I realized that this christianity stuff was all around me. I couldn't understand why people put so much creedence into a mystical and obviously analogized story that took place 2000 years ago (give or take a few decades), and promoted the truth of that one story and emphasized the untruth of ALL of the other religions of the world. So, coming at it from the outside, and with my ruthlessly scientific mind (at least at the time, anyway), the christian story seemed a rather ridiculous thing to believe in. I'm still not sure why people do believe in this stuff, except that it makes them feel good. I guess it's kind of like this - I also grew up without my parents telling me that Santa Claus was real. If I tried now to start beliveing in Santa Claus, it wouldn't work at all. I would have to decide to believe, and I just can't/don't want to do that.

So, having said all of that, I find that I'm drowning in religion these days. It won't go away. There are new churches springing up like mushrooms all around, and people greet each other with Praise the Lord and close with Have a Blessed Day, and all the kids in my neighborhood seem to be going to Vacation Bible School (there's an oxymoron if there ever was one). I just want it all to go away.

Here are some scary books to read if you're feeling the pressure of too much religion - Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Oh, and of course the dystopia novels: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, and Lord of the Flies by, er, I forget. Oops.

I still need Nuri's email address, by the way, if anyone has it.

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