On the absurdity of modern-day religion
I have this theory that the god you worship doesn’t exist. It began as the idea that this life could not possibly exist under the parameters it’s been explained to me, and some other truth must exist. Last summer I was in Marysville California, some odd amount of miles north of Sacramento and east of San Francisco. It was hot, as summers in that particular valley are, and I spent my time sitting on a patio and getting high while talking shit and staring out at the plum orchards behind our swimming pool. The book of that summer was Joan Didion’s The White Album which is a collection of words she’d written and previously published during the 1970s. Inside which, my favorite article was one called Holy Water. If you look through any book I own you’re sure to find an abundance of notes scribbled in the margins, this one being no different.
Here’s my favorite thing about this life: no matter how hard you search or how many ways you try to prove your theories, you will never know the truth you’re searching for. I have fallen in love with the neverending chase for the answers to all of life’s biggest questions; and the thrill of knowing that no matter how certain I am, the only way to know for sure is to end it all. My favorite thing about understanding all this, is it gives me the freedom to live the life I choose, a life that makes me truly happy, without feeling the need to ‘save’ anyone else or spend all my time and energy trying to change their mind about what is right or wrong.
When you dedicate the majority of your mortal existence to searching for opportunities to convince people that your version of the afterlife is the correct one, you’re giving yourself too much credit. When you tell another human they need to live the way you do to find joy after they’re dead, you’re taking on the unnecessary burden of trying to control things that aren’t meant to be controlled. You are so eager to say that you have all the answers but how do you know? It’s impossible to prove. When you openly share your beliefs with anyone who will listen, the conversation all too easily becomes about seeking validation from another person instead of helping them see “the light”. No matter how you try and disguise it as love or helpfulness, missionary work/proselytizing is built on a foundation of insecurity.
God is such a fickle thing. It’s such a beautifully peculiar thing to think that billions of people could have this image of a being in their mind who is called by one singular name and recognized as so many different things. It manages to fill me with wonder and jaw-clenching anger at the exact same time. The God I grew up with was a vengeful god. He was preachy and stubborn and controlling. He used fear tactics disguised as love to make it seem okay. The god my parents told me about was unwilling to bend, yet it was expected of everyone else to do exactly that; and to this day, I have no idea why they worship him.
My mother’s god is almighty, as most are expected to be, and she believes her church is the only church that knows the full truth about him and what he wants. I think god is a lie. I think someone, way back when, got bored or was hungry for attention. I think someone wanted to be heard, to be seen as a hero, needed a reason to start a war, to feel in control of something, so they made up a narrative just crazy enough to be believed. They created another god and hid behind him while pillaging other countries. When people can’t handle the not knowing that is such an integral and sustaining part of this life, we create things to help us cope. Beings who have all the answers and none of the consequences. It gives us an excuse to “mess up”.
We find the things that make us feel more in control before going out of our way to make someone else see the same thing. There is this idealistic state of being, a fabricated sense of peace, humans have come to find within the idea of sameness; one that is counterproductive to the results we want to see. When a person cannot handle the discomfort of a situation their fight or flight response kicks in and, more often than not, our ways of fighting the discomfort perceived as danger, is the real danger in and of itself. But we don’t want to acknowledge that because it would mean adjusting everything about the way we live life, everything about ourselves.
The human brain is such a beautifully complex thing. It is so incredibly powerful, and in our valiant quest to conquer and control it, we have failed to acknowledge that just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it is a problem. Comfort should not be a goal achieved at the expense of another. We are looking at things upside down.
So this is the root of my god-complex. I spend all my time romanticizing the idea that every part of this life has beauty and matters while spitting on people who try to share their religious truths with me. I am endlessly searching for answers but, refuse to take another humans opinion seriously, because I believe anything spiritual is a personal thing. Blame it on whatever you’d like; I believe the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and dedicated Christians are filled with nothing but. This is the hill I will die on. This is the thing I have irrationally chosen to stake my entire identity on.