Saturday 10 January 2015

All Our Lives, We've Been Waiting...

There's a song by Evanescence, 'The Only One', which features the lines "All our lives, we've been waiting for someone to call our leader." Whenever I think of church or any kind of religious setup I'm reminded of this part of the song as well as the proceeding lines "All your lies, not believing".

From my experiences with organized religion or 'cults', there's always some head or leader who stands in front of the congregation and reads to them from the bible, first quoting a passage then giving them his (it's always a male because the bible is misogynistic) interpretation of what's just been read and they all nod and murmur in agreement as he continues on with his speech.

I was taught from a young age that so many things which logically are what the body and human race is designed for are 'sins' and we must repent and essentially feel bad for being human and having human desires and urges because someone said it was wrong to do so. Whatever.

My Guardian Angel friend (mentioned in a few earlier posts) and I got into many religious discussions when I was growing up. She was christened Catholic but non-practicing, I was raised in a branch of Christianity which I never really bothered to learn the exact belief system of since I really didn't care that much about it and had too many questions that no one could sufficiently answer for me.

Whenever I told her about reading trashy romance novels like Mills and Boon, much to my parents immense displeasure, I'd think about various sermons or exhorts that I'd heard which told me that it was 'lustful' and impure thoughts were bad, blah blah. I was made to feel bad about my curiosity around completely natural human urges and told to ask forgiveness and everything would be good again. I didn't want to ask forgiveness because I never thought I'd done anything wrong. Murder is wrong, inflicting any kind of pain on people is wrong, thinking about sex when you're a teenager with raging hormones is about as normal and natural as you can get!

I remember one of the discussions she and I had where she told me she didn't believe in sin, I was inclined to agree. It seemed really stupid to essentially say 'Bad human! Stop doing things which are completely natural and normal to your development as a human being!'. She also told me in all honesty that she didn't think there was going to be a second coming of Jesus which relieved me immensely. As much as I'd love to see my deceased relatives again, the idea of spending eternity with people I'm not terribly fond of in this lifetime doesn't fill me with any amount of joy.

I do however understand the notion of hope. Whenever I have religious discussions with my dad he always focuses on the hope that things will get better when Jesus returns (allegedly). I guess when you've had a tough life as an understatement, you hold tight to the hope that someone will come and save you and make everything all better. It's a grand notion that one person or being can raise the dead, cure the incurable, save the world, etc. Personally I'm more focused on making the life I'm currently living the best damn one I can.

There's another truth, a simple one, to the lyrics in the song. Through the words and actions of other people we're taught to believe that there's something wrong with us as human beings. Sometimes it's because someone has said unkind words to us and we naturally assume that they're correct otherwise they wouldn't have said anything, other times people physically hurt us because that's what they've been taught is the acceptable way to treat others, and then there are times when we're hurt because of a mix up or 'glitch' in our brains which affects our bodies or just the way we are and as is a repeated message in the TV series Dark Angel, people are afraid of things that are different.

In one of the episodes towards the end of the series, one of the 'mutants' that escaped was given perfect blood and used that to gain followers who treated him like the Messiah. As I watched the episode I thought of so many similarities between the cult-like setup he had orchestrated and my experiences with church. There's always a leader who promises amazing things, but only if you believe in all the crap he's spouting otherwise you won't be saved and you'll continue being nothing.

One of the other things I was taught as a child was to strive to be like Jesus, he was perfect, being the Son of God and all. I never saw the difference between trying to be like Jesus and trying to be like the latest celebrity that was hot off the press, although mum always had a few things to say about it. Wasn't trying to be like Jesus a waste of the person I am?! Wouldn't God himself disapprove of his children being made to feel like they're less yet paradoxically using that to get people into church by being promised his eternal love and being saved?

The biggest lesson I learnt upon leaving church was that I was and am a worthwhile person, I just grew up around ignorant people. Church never focused on being the best person you could be, in fact it almost frowned upon it. How dare you think you're something when Jesus is everything which makes you nothing!

There's a quote I've seen numerous times that pretty much sums it up. "Before diagnosing yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not surrounded by assholes!". Thanks to Google I can't accurately say who first said it, but that doesn't diminish it's meaning or power at all.

I think everyone is waiting for someone to save them because they've been lead to believe that they are somehow faulty or less human or less lovable when in fact that's just a thought that's been taught to them and made a part of their core beliefs. First, you need to believe that you are worthy, stop believing the lies that ignorant assholes told you for so long. Second, once you've changed your beliefs, you can save yourself. You don't need a leader, you need to be a leader. Take charge of your own life and inspire others to do the same. Stop waiting for the 'right time' because chances are it will never come and stop feeling sorry for yourself over something that you did or was done to you a million years ago, there's enough people in the world who do that and to be frank, no one really cares, at least not after you've sung the same song on repeat.

Carpe diem, baby, carpe diem!

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