Feature photo by SimonRahn
First and foremost, I am without religion, not an atheist. I have no problem with being called an atheist as I technically am one. I don’t believe in higher powers or wraithlike infants or the colors of the wind or any of that trademarked noise. I also don’t believe in limiting myself to a label that is often used in the pejorative sense, among populist circles. In the United States, freedom of religion is extended to a point where one can choose to follow religions based on the teachings that resemble a Dr. Who subplot. Nowhere in that first amendment does it mention the freedom of religious absence. I’m a three-pronged offender in most eyes: Latino, androphillic and religiously absent.
The need for religion, I presume, is the need for explanations to difficult questions, be them physical, mental or behavioral. Technological and scientific advances have been able to answer those questions with more objectivity than just proclaiming that it is the will of a deity. However, there still exists the need for religion, the need to place faith in something that cannot be seen. If it is the will of your deity, it has a purpose and is good. So much in the world is evil and cold and to say that it is because of reasons one doesn’t and mustn’t understand, takes the power away from the devilish consequences of living. However, taking away that negative ultimately creates even more negativity, where one becomes ignorant to any other possible reason for, say, a devastating flood. That will of that proper noun is the reason for the season and to further question becomes an act of heresy and hundreds of years ago and in some instances today, that can become a terrible situation for those who made such inquiries. The act of questioning becomes a sin and that verb is what makes us most human. However, the most human thing I’ve ever done is judge someone based on the differences in opinion that we shared and if that’s also a sin then sinning is all over the place and that eventual white room with the furry couches will be unattainable. After all, the point of many religions is to reside in a utopian afterlife.
I often compare living with religion, with the likes of a commission-based pay job. If you do all the right things, follow the script, sell the required amount and perhaps exceed that number, you will close the sale, and heaven is for closers. You have to have done everything correctly in order not to completely ruin the sale at the end of that phone call or life. However, what happens when you have a bad month or literally a bad year? Will all the work you’ve done up to that point end up in termination of your soul and that eventual unemployment check shall be akin to limbo?
That afterlife metaphor is in reference to the Christian tradition, which is the one I am most familiar with. Having gone to Catholic school my whole life, I noticed that in order for you to enter into heaven you have to be all things at all times. Even though I’ve always been good at multitasking, I cannot consistently be a good person because what in essence is a good person? Just like a person’s trash is another person’s unsanitary treasure, what one deems as good is an evil in another one’s eyes. This contradiction and many others, seem to be very prevalent in matters of faith and if I am to ignorantly generalize, perhaps those same contradictions exist in other faiths, not only the popular ones.