Religion; just seeing that word spelled out on paper brings many thoughts to my mind. Going to church as a child, my first communion dress, my great grandmotherís worn wooden rosary, my purple folder from 7th grade "religion" class at St. Maryís Catholic School, not to mention the complete and utter resentment I feel at having had religion foisted upon me for most of my youth.
There was a time when I blamed God, Christ, and the Virgin Mary. I developed an irrational hatred and disgust for the intangible elements of this thing I had grown to detest so...Christianity.
I felt that God, by not existing, had let me down. I felt oppressed by the fears that had been so methodically instilled in me and by the doubts that sprung up in my soul. I felt smothered, and I knew it was wrong to continue on under a system of principles I could never uphold. I felt a violent need to PURGE myself.
True to my immoderate nature, I leapt head-first into anti-Christianity without considering the meaning of what I was doing. I let forth every drop of my anger and confusion. I blasphemed. I hated. I detested anything even remotely resembling goodness or purity. I did my utmost to be vile and malicious. It wasnít difficult, I was filled with such a rage that I hardly knew how to direct it, which was what my problem truly was. Worst of all, I denied myself the right to be happy for any reason, and ignorantly enforced on myself the very sort of Christian behavior I hated.
Despite the complete cleansing I thought Iíd given myself, nothing changed.
I was miserably unhappy, and I began to wonder if religion wasnít still dictating my actions after all.
It wasnít until I was about 18 years old that I began to see the flaws in my reasoning. I found myself at a critical point in my personal life that caused me to question everything about myself, and why I wasnít happy. During the course of my reflections, a simple truth dawned on me: To hate "God" was ridiculous. How can one hate something that does not exist? God may have exist for other people, I reasoned, but not for me. By actively hating God, I was still allowing myself to be victimized by Christian thought forms.
Truly accepting the fact that God and religion are merely a means for people to cope with their lives was a big step for me. All through my years at the Catholic school, Iíd been told that religion was "for God", and "to give glory to Him", when that couldnít be further from the truth. Although Iíd been telling myself that I did not believe in God for several years, I donít thing I truly stopped dreading the existence of God until my revelation. It was incredibly liberating. While it is virtually impossible to remove all stains of Christianity from oneself, with the thought and effort much can be achieved to that end.
Iíve been asked if I ever regret being sent to Catholic school, and my answer is always no. Of course I regret that I was not given a choice in the matter, and I resent that Christianity was essentially forced on me, but in no way do I regret all that I learned about humanity through the experience. People, who have really experienced religion for themselves, have a unique perspective on the subject. I donít understand people who claim to hate Christianity without having any first-hand knowledge of it. That is as senseless as my misdirected hatred at a God that never existed.
Iím not out to "destroy" Christianity. What purpose would that serve? Something else would eventually rise up to take its place. People will always be weak, and therefore will always have a need for a God to watch over them, explain the things they donít understand, give them "strength", and of course to punish them, a need driven by the guilt embedded in them by the very same dogma they created. Itís sad that people never realize the gifts they think come from God are really the products of their own intellect and willpower. Regardless of that, I could not care less who wants to believe in God or follow Christianity. What is wrong is the fact Christianity controls our society through politics, media, and the whole majority-rules mentality that makes it difficult to be an individual thinker of any sort. While many people seem to understand that this is a problem, most approach it in the wrong way. Random acts of violence or hostile blasphemy serve no purpose other than to draw the Christians closer together, and to fuel their arguments against us, the non-Christians.
What should be done? Think. Directed thought and reflection accomplishes much more than misdirected anger and hatred, as I know personally. Examine the reasons behind the hatred, seek your own answers, and follow no one but yourself. Iíve chosen to live my life my own way, following no one. But it is difficult, much more difficult than it is to say you hate God. A choice lies before you; will you desecrate mere symbols and icons, or desecrate everything you have been forced to believe?