Homonym for Large Naval Vessel in Conflict (just saying)
I know I’ve done a bit of religion ‘bashing’ in this blog and some people are probably upset by it. Except, when you look at it, I’m not really bashing it, am I? I’m questioning it. Not exactly the faith behind it, of course. If you want to worship an invisible man who lives in the clouds, who am I to stop you? Knock yourself out! It’s the methodology behind it that I question.
For example, worshiping in formal ceremonies on a weekly basis is something that I don’t understand. And since I grew up Christian and that being the faith I am most familiar with, that’s what I’ll use here. If that’s not your religion, simply replace the word Christian in future appearances with whatever you see fit to use. Again, not knocking the faith, just the practices.
Christians like to have Sundays to themselves. Get up early, go to church, pray, sing, mumble, commune, then go home and watch football. A good Christian Sunday. Except, why get up early? Most of the people involved in this process have the day off. Why not sleep in and recoup some of that sleep you’ve been missing during the week? I’m sure god wouldn’t mind if you slept in.
(Side note: No, I’m not capitalizing the word “god.” It’s not his actual name. I’m also referring to him as a he because, again, that’s what I grew up with. If you want god to be feminine, replace it in your head. If you want him to be an ‘it,’ do the same as feminine. I’m not being discriminatory on purpose, blame god for this one.)
Then there’s the church building itself. Why? Meeting with a group of similarly minded people to stand, sit and kneel in a building serves what purpose, exactly? If you’re on your own, god can’t hear you pray? Well, if that’s the case, then why pray at all? Millions of people have prayed on their own. Dear god, please let me do good on this test! Dear god, please let the parachute open. Dear god, PLEASE don’t let her be pregnant! Take your pick. Rarely are those particular prayers muttered in a church. They’re usually in a bedroom, in the sky itself, or in a school!
That’s right! A SCHOOL! Prayer was never banished from schools. Formalized, follow-the-leader because it’s nine o’clock type prayer was because there is more than one religion. Hell! There’s more than one Christianity! (Yes, I phrased it that way on purpose.) Who is to say which one is ‘right’? You are perfectly welcome to pray anytime you want in school. Just keep it in your head and don’t expect others to join in.
But isn’t prayer itself a bit contradictory to the ‘laws of the church’? There’s a rule, somewhere, that says ‘thou shalt not take the lord’s name in vain’. Well, isn’t that what prayer is? Taking his name in vain? Vain, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “having or showing undue or excessive pride in one’s appearance or achievements”. Well, isn’t asking a divine, all-powerful being, to do something for you (pass a test, fix the brakes, have the sperm miss) not showing excessive pride in one’s self? And they’re usually long, drawn-out processes as well, aren’t they. Dear god we humbly beseech thee, for thou art this, that and the other, unto all of time and space, for ever and ever, and I beg unto thee, please don’t let her be pregnant.
That, of course, leads to my favorite prayer, that I’m told is blasphemous. (As if the rest of this isn’t.) God damn it/him/her/you! Seriously. That’s my favorite prayer. Some people think that is the epitome of taking his name in vain, but I’d argue it is the shortest, most to the point, prayer, ever. Now, some say that the pronoun in that prayer is referring to god. It isn’t. Why damn god? He’s not going to damn himself, now is he? No! You’re referring to, for example, that guy who cut you off in traffic. ‘God damn him!’ Him being the guy who cut you off. I’ll admit, it’s more of a ‘command’ than a ‘please’, but I think it saves god some time and trouble, provided he’s paying attention at the time… and exists in the first place.
Something else that bothers me are televangelists (just to lump this altogether) who claim that god needs your money. Now I do understand that most churches are funded by their congregation’s donations. That’s fine. But the televangelists are a different matter. They’ll get on television, or in person if you live nearby, I guess, and claim that god needs your money to do something. Um… no. God doesn’t need your money. Ever.
How do I know this? It’s quite simple. God, existence pending, is an all-powerful being that can create anything he/she/it wants whenever he/she/it wants it. Money is something ‘man’ just made up to make bartering a simpler process. God would have no use for it. God created the trees which made the paper which had the ink put on it, another of his creations, by the way. If god needs money… poof! God has money. He can do that. He’s a god. What the televangelists (charlatans) really should be saying is “God needs your money right now so I can buy another swimming pool/mansion/yacht/airplane.” That’s where the money goes. Not to feed the poor. Not to Africa where there is a great need for just about everything. In their pockets – that’s where it goes. Don’t believe me? Look at Kenneth Copeland’s mansions. Or Joel Osteen’s. Didn’t Jesus say to live humbly? Mansions are not humble.
As much as it pains me to say this, because, overall it was the weakest of all of them, Star Trek V nailed one of the big religion problems with this question. “What does God need with a starship?” was the question in the movie. Let’s ask it in reality, what does God need with… anything you, a mere mortal, can provide? He is a GOD. He can create whatever it wants whenever it wants it. God doesn’t NEED you. You seem to need god in that “wanting a higher power to be in charge” thing, but what, exactly, can you do for God?
But Rob, the argument goes, god needs faith and prayer to thrive and grow! Really? What for? God can create faith because god can create anything. And we’re back to the argument, what is the purpose of church and worship and prayer? God doesn’t need it.
And for those who say, but we’re giving thanks for him creating us. Okay, fine. Thank you for creating us. There. Done. Why do we have to thank him every week? Or several times a week? Or thank him for the food that the farmers grew, the harvesters picked, the distribution people distributed, the store people stocked and the family member who actually bought (and likely cooked) for us. Screw all of them! It’s god. My family prayed before every meal, for a while, that the food would be blessed. Sometimes we didn’t, and, well, as you can probably tell from this blog entry, I’m not dead, yet.
So, if you want to worship, you go right ahead. This Sunday, I’ll be sleeping in. Making myself just a little bit healthier than those who get up early to wake god with some very off-key singing and mumbling. God knows he created us. We know he created us. Reminding him on the seventh day, every seventh day, gets old, really quick. Incidentally, if god rested on the seventh day, then god created the world not in seven days, as is often claimed by Christians, but six. Oh! You silly Christians and your inability to count!