The view from down here

Those Who Get It

June 08, 2008

One of the things I wanted to write about when I set up this blog was religion, or more precisely, what to do now that it is fading.

It has been so long since I have had what most people would recognize as religious belief that it seems very strange to me. What if someone told you that he believed in leprechauns, really and utterly believed, and that if you didn't close your eyes and think about His pot of gold and believe that the Little Ones granted sacred wishes that you were some kind of dirty, evil wretch who might as well kill wantonly or steal to survive?

I have about reached the end of my patience of being put on the defensive for not believing in other people's gruesome fairy tales. How could I not believe, they wonder, in an invisible creator who came to Earth two thousand or so years ago to be murdered on my behalf?

It is well past time to turn that around and demand that they defend their beliefs. How and why, in the name of simple decency, would they believe that?

If their god unzipped the sky and winked at me from above - ok, there's something to believe. But anyone insisting on holding on to that utter madness is very simply insane, and should be treated accordingly. Someone was killed for you? You rejoice in the fact that a man was made to suffer for you so you could have all your sins washed away?

The whole religion, from soup to nuts is utterly delusional, and it's time for the sane people of the world to hold up their hands and say (gently if possible, but forcefully if necessary) you're a freakin' loon, and you need to sit down.

But it's just not that simple.

Religion is all twisted up with spirituality, mysticism, and personal enlightenment paths. There's a lot that goes on in religion that is perfectly rational. I mean things like the nurturing of community, investing your thoughts toward the happiness and well-being of others. Even voices raised in song is a joyful thing.

Even the Jesus story itself, which on the surface is gruesome and despicable, reflects our own trials and our symbolic death of sin and rebirth in enlightenment. In fact this symbolic story was the original idea, which is demonstrated quite well by The Jesus Mysteries.

When we treat this symbolic resurrection as literal fact, or consider the virgin birth as a strange and miraculous biological anomaly, we completely miss the point.

But to simply dismiss the mythical underpinnings of these stories, or to dismiss the communal benefit of gathering with others is also short-sighted.

But I'm not willing to accept Christianity even as metaphor. It has been so deeply abused by literalism, and so much evil has been done in its name, that it is simply time to start fresh. The blood cult is beyond repair.

Certainly we can imagine a religion that is in alignment with our modern understanding of the world and our minds, but which still lets us reach to that ineffable joy of spiritual transcendence.

But there remains the questions of what to do with those who, under any form of spiritual message, will always simply react to the basic carrot/stick paradigm. Can we move away from the anachronism of literalist liturgy, or will we simply be replacing a bloody cross with some other equally pointless icon?

Maybe what we need is a new religion for those who Get It, and let the hopeless holy heathens languish in their unwavering devotion to their side of the story. But when they try to influence school boards to teach their religion as science, we should stand them down hard. When they push their nativity onto public land, tell them no and hit them with a newspaper.

We need to stop letting them think that they still run the show.

The curtain has fallen on them, and they are left only with the lingering stink of their rotting religion. Christianity is a zombie, walking dead, and if you don't see the irony of that then you probably don't Get It.

So I think that's the idea: a two pronged approach. First, move on and find our own spiritual journey and don't worry if they can't keep up. Second, never give another inch to their petty demands that they were here first so they get to decide everything.

The truth is they weren't here first. Everything Christianity has was stolen, twisted, and corrupted. The original message was lost and the shadow of what was left was turned on them.

Let them have the empty husk, commanders of the ghost ship. We will tend to the core and remind them to sit down when the grown ups are talking.

Copyright 2008 Daniel LaFavers