It drives me crazy when people use their religion to perpetuate hate. I want to grab them by the shoulders, shake them and scream- – – you are missing the point!
I’ve been struggling to really wrap my mind around all the religious, race, political, and economical hatred. The election, and wage wars seem to have brought out the absolute worst in people. Add in any of the various bombings, racial violence, anti-police and damaging community uprising and voila; I need a prescription for a week in bed and Zoloft soup. Instead, here I am venting it all out. In a world that holds so much good, the hate has just become so loud.
I know this isn’t one of my usual posts but I figured if anyone can understand it’s my fellow mama’s. We worry about the world we are sending our children into, on the daily. Pack their lunch, find their homework, try not to think about the endless possibilities of ugliness they may encounter and send them off with an “I love you, be good”. We mothers are united. We live nearly identical lives in parallel; miles, states and countries in between. We give birth to all types of babies. Boys, girls, black, white, gay, straight. ALL shades and variations in between. We don’t love one child above another. And so why should we declare that God loves some of us above others? What makes us believe that “they” will all burn in hell and we get to ride a fluffy white cloud? Sins of the week are not cleared by attending church on Sunday.
Society has used religion to discriminate since the beginning of time. History shows us how far excluding a particular group can go. Holocaust, 911, war on end, genocide to infinity. It also shows us what it gets us, nothing. Nothing but destruction, pain, and scars that run multi generation deep. And yet, here we are. Continuing the hate cycles.
One might wonder what a world without religion might look like. I recently came across this article in the LA Times, How Secular Family Values Stack Up. It outlines a study from a Duke University that makes a comparison of a religion free subculture. I found this rather interesting. If you read the article you will find studies of atheist parents raising their kids with strong ethical values. We aren’t talking about Satan worshiping, or the KKK, or terrorists here. It seems to me that we are talking about people who are sick of the bullshit hypocrisy and perversion of religion and are relying on their own internal compass to guide their hearts. Wanna know what I think? I think in some cases they are doing a better job of living God’s will. Atheists. Atheists are doing a better job of loving one another. The study that spans nearly 40 years shows Atheists are doing a better job of staying out of prisons, and that they exhibit less racism. Although it is a disappointment that religion fails so many I also think it’s pretty freaking awesome. It speaks volumes to the purity and goodness of people.
None of this makes me believe in God any less. None of this leads me to believe I should abandon my own beliefs and values. If anything it compels me to do a better job voicing my own positive experience and embrace those who regardless of labels, are doing good.
My faith is ever evolving. I continue to learn, agree, disagree and mostly try to figure it all out. Which is nutty in itself. Because we people here on earth, do not have all the answers. Not in this life. I was raised without religion. No church, no traditions, and really very little talk of God at all. I remember my very first encounter with Jesus when my Dad showed my brother and I a picture, from an encyclopedia. There were many times in my childhood when I sought God, when I felt an emptiness in times of great difficulty. There were also tragic times when I felt his comfort. And despite our lack of tradition, I prayed. I prayed as a vulnerable child does. A child who had no experience with the Bible and didn’t even own one. As an adult I’ve doubted my own ability and right to talk about religion and faith because of my lack of education on the matter. And of course because I have a filthy mouth and am heavily, heavily flawed. But . . . maybe I am exactly the right person to write this. Because, we are all a bunch of filthy sinners. And maybe, just maybe if we were all a little more real and a little less judgmental we could get a little further. As an adult my faith and religion mean a great deal to me. I cannot imagine my life without the connection. Without a doubt my relationship with God and the right church has made me . . . better. Not better than you, just a little better than my old self. It brings me to my mantra, “Just Be Good”.
What would happen if we could each set aside our labels and ego and learned about someone else struggles and instead learn to see our similarities? Or better yet to see our differences as interesting. What if we could get back to the meat and potatoes and learn to love one another and just be good?
I haven’t forgotten the good. There is most definitely evil in the world. Yet there is still so much good. I see school teachers who go well above and beyond their duties to teach and care. I see police officers and fire fighters who help people on the very worst days of their lives. Risking their lives in effort to make the world a better place. I see doctors and nurses who carry the heart break and the burden of loss. I see people giving, donating, helping and fighting for equal rights for all. I see parents who work so hard to love, be patient and raise children to be good. I also see a generational shift. The rising generations may dislike the music of “kids today” and may not understand the generations that are up to bat. But ya know what I see? I see an uprising. I see younger generations standing up for what is right and refusing to follow the “that’s how it’s always been done” mantra. Don’t get me wrong I see the twerking and selfie fever a-plenty. But I also see change.
There have always been these do-good helpers in the world. There are churches that are focused on serving, feeding, supporting and helping people to make life better. All of these people putting God’s will and love into motion. And so I leave you the simplistic, most common parting words from mother to child. “Be Good”. I believe in this, you believe in that. Let’s just all be good.