Next Stop… Hell!

Hello
again from Hippie Heaven & Mountain Mecca!

In many
ways, Prez and I are about as non-Nelson-ish as you can get. We are ocean
people – Nelsonites are mountain people. We are rootless – Nelsonites are
strongly tied to their community. We don’t talk in the movie theater while
people who paid good money are trying watch the latest James Bond flick –
Nelsonites…well, let’s not open old wounds. But perhaps the most profound
difference between us and our fellow Kootenay citizens is that we are skeptics
– Nelsonites are believers.

This is
a subject I have put off writing about for fear of offending…um…pretty much
everyone I know. But if I’ve learned anything in almost 4 years of Chronicling,
it’s that I never really learn. So, here goes…

Now,
when I say we are skeptics, I mean “hardcore” skeptics. We are the people most
likely to call bullshit on your story that really, honestly happened to a
friend of your sister’s boss’s wife’s cousin. We love TV shows that debunk
myths, psychics, reality shows, you name it. We love science, only read
horoscopes for a laugh, and both agree that we’d happily spend the night,
alone, at any haunted house, anywhere in the world (on Halloween).

Here in
Nelson, spirituality is rampant. I’m sure there is a representative of every
possible branch of every belief system living within the city limits. Whether
you are Wicca or Mormon, practice Feng Shui or Islam, speak in tongues or
communicate with the dead, there’s a place for you in Nelson. And that’s not so
bad; I like tolerance.

I don’t
have a problem with people’s beliefs – to each his own…grasshopper. I do have a
problem with organized religion, though. (You have no idea how long it took me
to actually type that last sentence!) Usually I tiptoe ever-so-gently around
the notion of religion for fear of offending anyone, but I have some real
issues with it.

No war
is ever fought so zealously as the religious war. Today we point our fingers at
Muslim “extremists” but Christianity has lots of blood on its hands. Hey, how
about the Crusades? Weren’t they fun? Let’s go convert the “heathens” in other
lands and if they won’t see that our religion is better, well, that’s what all
these swords are for! When the president of Iran talks about Allah, he is a
religious fanatic; when the president of America talks about God, he is a good
Christian.

Yes,
churches perform many acts of charity and kindness. Many of my friends are
church goers who are decent, kind people. But organized religion, in general,
seems to breed intolerance and fear. “My god is better than your god!”

Couldn’t
the time, money, and energy churches have poured into trying to ban “The
DaVinci Code” and “Harry Potter”, or trying to stop gay marriage, or
persecuting Salaman Rushdie, or protesting stem cell research, have been better
spent? There are far greater real
evils in this world than a fictional, pubescent boy who rides a broomstick, men
kissing, or scientists trying to figure out how to get people (like our next
door neighbour) out of their wheelchairs. Call me crazy.

Another
aspect of organized religion I take issue with is hypocrisy.

You may
be surprised to hear that I agree with most of the basic tenets of the world’s
religions. Yes, I know it’s shocking for a heathen, such as myself, to admit
that stealing, cheating, lying, and disrespecting your parents is bad. I even believe
Jesus was a real guy with a great message – “Hey, I’ve got a crazy idea, why
don’t we all just try to love each other and get along!” – but you lose me when
it gets to the walking on water part. So how about all that, “Thou shalt not
kill” stuff, huh? It doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kill unless you’re on the
right side of a war.” It doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kill unless you live in
Texas and have a tough stance on crime.” It doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kill
unless you’re almost, kind of, maybe, certain that a country with large
quantities of oil has WMDs.”

I
haven’t read much of the bible, or the Qu’ran, or the teachings of Buddha, but
I do remember, “Thou shalt not kill”. It was one of God’s Top Ten Rules, so I’m
thinking it must be pretty darn important. There was another part about turning
the other cheek, oh yeah, and that bit about the meek inheriting the earth. So,
please explain to me how anyone can believe in God, believe in the Bible, and
support any act of war, any planned killing of another human being?

Here’s
another problem I have (sorry if I use so many Christian references but it’s
the religion I’m most familiar with), this whole heaven/hell thing.

If I’m
wrong and there is a god, and he sticks to the bible, then I guess I’m going to
hell to burn for eternity. Oh well. I figure once you’ve spent the night
sleeping on the floor of the LAX airport, hell is going to seem like a picnic.
But seriously, according to the bible, even if I do everything right but I don’t believe in God then all bets
are off – eternity stuck in coach class with that obnoxious kid kicking the
back of my seat and a Chevy Chase movie playing on a constant loop. Meanwhile,
the serial rapist/alcoholic/wife beater/robber/con man who realized the error
of his ways, found god, honestly repented his sins and accepted JC as his
savior, that guy’s on his way to “Club Cloud” with a pair of fluffy white wings
and a harp. What’s wrong with this picture?

I’ve really
just touched on my religion argument – the repression of women (in many
religions), the systematic child abuse of the Catholic priests, the stifling of
science and rational thought, the history of oppression of the lower classes,
the greed (see: Jim and Tammy Faye Baker), the brain washing, the list (I’m
sorry to say) goes on and on and on. But I want to stop here because I think
there is a grain of hope and goodness under all the muck.

My
friend, Miz Liz, and I have had some discussions about religion. She told me
something that stuck with me, and still resonates in my brain. “God is love.”
This phrase, she told me, helped her come to a different understanding of
religion. Read the phrase again: God is love. You can interpret it to mean “the
entity known as ‘god’ loves all his creatures’ or you can take it more
literally. God is love – meaning, as Liz explained to me, the “power” that
controls and shapes the universe, the intangible “force” that creates miracles,
the feeling that guides us to “do the right thing” and unifies humanity… is
Love. Not a god, Love. Love is more powerful than any person, any army, any
country in the world. Love, not some bearded guy in the sky, or some
elephant-headed deity, or a pot-bellied Asian man, is the power that man should
pray to. God is love. Yeah, I can live with that.

I do
love my fellow man, even when he talks during my James Bond movie and I want to
hurl my overpriced soda at his head. No, I don’t believe in God, Allah,
Krishna, Vishnu, Zeus, numerology, astrology, past lives, witches, ghosts, psychics,
and whatever it is that Scientologists believe in (what do they believe in
exactly?), but I do believe in love.

Amen.

QUESTION:
When I go to hell, will it bug people if I say, “Hot enough for ya?”

Until
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life (and your
fellow man)!

The
Princess

This entry was posted in Life. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Next Stop… Hell!

  1. Glen says:

    ah, the sweet joy of rampant hypocrisy! Can\’t say I\’m a fan of the Organized R myself either, and I DEFINITELY believe it has no place in politics,war etc  Hell I can\’t even imagine what this world would be like without it, unfathomable. Maybe thats utopia? I dunno
    P.S. Might be worse if you ask for Hot Sauce.

  2. J says:

    Hello Princess!  Nice blog you have going here.  I like the fact that you took a stand and blogged about a very "touchy" subject as well.  While I may disagree with some of what you said, I still respect you greatly for actually SAYIN it! (-;I am not some crazy bible-thumper come to ridicule your opinion, but I was wondering if I could make a small point?  I know that it\’s a commonly used phrase, "Organised Religion", but I always find it funny when people use it.  Why?  Well… because if religion wasn\’t organised, what would it be?  Chaotic.  Which is perhaps what some of it has become… interesting thought.  I would say that the ones who are out there persecuting are leaning towards more of a chaotic side, rather than being organised.Organisation is a good thing – crazy, bible-thumping-right-winged-narrow-minded-jerks, are not.  LOL of course, I can understand why people find it easier to call it, "OR".Anyhow, just leaving you with my 2-cents for what it\’s worth.  Thank you for being so candid and I look forward to reading more!Cheers!~Kalli2B~

  3. J says:

    Hello Princess!  Nice blog you have going here.  I like the fact that you took a stand and blogged about a very "touchy" subject as well.  While I may disagree with some of what you said, I still respect you greatly for actually SAYIN it! (-;I am not some crazy bible-thumper come to ridicule your opinion, but I was wondering if I could make a small point?  I know that it\’s a commonly used phrase, "Organised Religion", but I always find it funny when people use it.  Why?  Well… because if religion wasn\’t organised, what would it be?  Chaotic.  Which is perhaps what some of it has become… interesting thought.  I would say that the ones who are out there persecuting are leaning towards more of a chaotic side, rather than being organised.Organisation is a good thing – crazy, bible-thumping-right-winged-narrow-minded-jerks, are not.  LOL of course, I can understand why people find it easier to call it, "OR".Anyhow, just leaving you with my 2-cents for what it\’s worth.  Thank you for being so candid and I look forward to reading more!Cheers!~Kalli2B~

  4. emma says:

     Hey, I have to admit that this was my very first "blog", being a gramma with limited computer skills, and kids that won\’t show me things because I\’ll break something (they just like keeping me in the dark!). But, I enjoyed every minute of your story. After volunteering at a gospel mission for 4 months, I was let go because they found someone that they could pay, as opposed to me, who was free labor. Hmmm, free, not free, I am missing something here. I do believe it had to do with them asking me where I went to church, and I admitted that I didn\’t have one, for your very same reason, I don\’t believe in organized religion, they all have agenda\’s, although, I did think that I was a Christian type person. I guess I was wrong! So, my son presented me with his two favorite quotes, " God, save us from the Christian\’s" and, my favorite, " So many Christians, not enough Lion\’s!" Later,

  5. Kristene says:

    Hey thanks so much for all the terrific comments! Nothing like a good religious discussion to get people talking.Anonymous Gramma: Your post made me laugh. I too had a bad church experience. When I was about 10 I went to a Christian camp – I was not religious (though I did believe in God at the time) but that was, apparently, OK. I got there and…wow. I have never felt less welcomed, less loved, or experienced greater peer pressure to "fit in". Coming from a non-religious family which was quite tolerant of other beliefs, that was an eye opener!Kalli2B: I think I should clarify what I mean by "OR". I know lots of folks who believe in god or something similar, who even read and believe the bible but don\’t go to any church and don\’t attach themselves to any particular group – I consider that "un-organised religion". But, I like your point. And the "crazy, bible-thumping-right-winged-narrow-minded-jerks" scare the heck out of me every bit as much as the flag burning-jihad loving-fanatic-Muslim-extremists!VB: Now I have to choose between the hot sauce line and mine…DOH! LOL, loved it!!!

  6. Cindy says:

    Move over and pass the hot sauce!!  Enjoyed reading this post … love Miz Liz\’s take on God … Congratulations on being featured!!
     

  7. Kristene says:

    Thanks again for visiting Cindy. yes, Miz Liz is a wise woman! Come by any time.Kristene

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