Sunday, December 8, 2013

10 Reasons You Should Never Have a Religion-reason #7 (con't from previous blog post series)

Taken from Steve Pavlina's self-empowerment blog, www.stevepavlina.com

For all us religion refugees... enjoy.



Reason #7:  Idiocy or hypocrisy – pick one.

When you subscribe to an established religion, you have only two options. You can become an idiot, or you can become a hypocrite. If you’ve already chosen the former, I’ll explain why, and I’ll use small words so that you’re sure to understand.

First, there’s the idiocy route. You can willingly swallow all of the contrived, man-made drivel that’s fed to you. Accept that the earth is only 10,000 years old. Believe stories about dead bodies coming back to life. Learn about various deities and such. Put your trust in someone who thinks they know what they’re talking about. Eat your dogma. Good boy!

Congratulations! You’re a moron believer. You’ll be saved, enlightened, and greeted with tremendous fanfare when you die… unless of course all the stuff you were taught turns out not to be true. Nah… if the guy in the robe says it’s true, it must be true. Ya gotta have faith, right?


Next, we have the hypocrisy option. In this case your neocortex is strong enough to identify various bits of utter nonsense in the religious teachings that others are trying to ram down your throat. You have a working B.S. detector, but it’s slightly damaged. You’re smart enough to realize that earth is probably a lot older than 10,000 years and that pre-marital (or non-marital) sex is a lot of fun, but some B.S. still gets through. You don’t swallow all the bull, but you still identify yourself as a follower of a particular religion, most likely because you were raised in it and never actually chose it to begin with.


To you it’s just a casual pursuit. You’re certainly not a die-hard fundamentalist, but you figure that if you drink the wine and chew the wafer now and then, it’s good enough to get you a free ride into a half-decent afterlife. You belong to the pro-God club. Surely there’s safety in numbers. Two people can’t be wrong… although 4-1/2 billion supposedly can.

In this case you become an apologist for your own religion. You don’t want to be identified with the extreme fanatics, nor do you want to be associated with the non-believers. You figure you can straddle both sides. On earth you’ll basically live as a non-practitioner (or a very sloppy and inconsistent practitioner), but when you eventually die, you’ve still got the membership card to show God.

Do you realize how deluded you are?

Perhaps if you have to throw out so much of the nonsense to make your chosen belief system palatable, you shouldn’t be drinking the Kool Aid in the first place. Free yourself from the mental baggage, stop looking to others for permission to live, and start thinking on your own. If your God exists, he’s smart enough to see through your fake ID.

From time to time, some of my readers take a stab at converting me to their religion. Most of them come across as total loons, but I can at least respect their consistency. I’ve no idea why they bother to read my site (which is about raising, not lowering, consciousness). Perhaps some of them are getting ready to convert from fundamentalism to common sense.

You’d think I’d be quite a prize for any serious religion. With 2.4 million monthly readers, that’s a lot of people I could potentially enslave convert, not to mention how much I could fill the Church coffers by soliciting indulgences donations on their behalf. Henceforth I expect a much better conversion effort. If you won’t do it for the money, then do it for the souls. You can’t let so many of us go to hell without trying in earnest to save us, can you? ;)

Just keep those conversion emails below 10,000 words if possible, with no more than 9,000 of them quoted from your favorite great book.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Church: A surrogate for the down and out

Hi all,

I've been busy writing my memoir on my experience with Losing my Religion so keep an eye out for it! I will be keeping you posted....

Now. Onto today's topic:

As I am writing my memoir, it's been inevitable that I stroll back through memory lane. And religion has been on my mind. 

One of the things on my mind has been how I got into the church-and how many of us did.

There is a myth that the church is a place for the "down-and-out" --folk who are losers in society.

Not entirely true. More accurate is the fact that the church is a place for the people who have "fallen on hard times".

The difference is that  "down and out" people are not LOSERS, they are LOSING in life. Usually they "come to Jesus" after some life trauma (like a parent dies) or a dramatic life change (like moving to a new city or having a baby) or some kind of "fall from grace" (like a celebrity losing their status over a drug addiction).  You also have the people who "came to Jesus" while life is going great, too-the prom queen, the money-maker, the celebrity, the man running things...

Point is, although the church is definitely set up as a breeding ground for the Steve Erkels of society, it really is a surrogate for the down and out. When life kicks you in the ass, you are vulnerable. And because we all have been subliminally programmed to believe that religion and church = spirituality, every time we go through something in life that is difficult, we have "strayed" from the  "truth"  (meaning church and religion dogma) which is why we are having problems in the first place.

Hence, we feel "lost" and gravitate toward (or attract to us) someone who invites us to their church or we end up attending some church event to quelch that sense of despair inside. Maybe our Nana was right-God has the answers. And church is where those answers will be shared.

And that's typically what happens. The names may change. The city may change. The people and their culture and ethnicity may change. But that's usually how it happens.

Which leaves us with the church as our surrogate--our surrogate father (Pastor or Priest-who we call "Father" by the way); our surrogate husband (for the ladies)  and surrogate family for those of us who came from broken families.

The church is also a hiding place for the masses of people who aren't ready or willing to interact with themselves or with life on a holistic (mind, body, spirit) level. It's a lot easier to pray Jesus into your heart or be a usher or teach in children's ministry than to actually deal with your problems. You can just go to service, fellowship, "catch the spirit", "sing praises"...and lose yourself-even if just for a little while.

After all, it feels easier to just "let go and let God". Which in Christianity translates to: "do nothing because God will do it all for you."

It takes time and dedication to undo the mental programming of this. The church offers these sweet promises to the struggling ones of us who are weakest and can't outrun its grasp. We must reclaim our power and face ourselves. We have the answers to what ails us in our lives-but those answers are within. But like Neo in the movie "The Matrix" when he is first introduced to the real world, as he lies pale and guant on the table and tries to stand with all the acupuntire needles in his body. Remember Morpheus tells him, "You've never used them (his legs) before". 

Well, we are Neo and we have never used our "spiritual muscles" before. The very idea that the answers to what we seek lies inside us is scary rather than comforting because it's foreign to us and in our minds, quite unreal.

On my journey, I walk day by day, one foot in front of the other, struggling to trust myself and rely on the real "Holy Spirit"-- the infinite power that lies within me that I was brainwashed to believe was "out there" somewhere- and if it was in me, it was the "Holy Spirit" the church told me about.

But I keep going. And I know more of who I really am each moment, each hour, each day.  That's what this blog is about. I truly welcome you to walk your own path, your own way, in your own time.

Until next time,
Helen



Friday, September 13, 2013

Religion goes pop: New Pastor Reality Show on Oxygen Network "Preachers of L.A."






As the title suggests, Christianity is moving to a new level with a reality show on the cable Oxygen Network called "Preachers of L.A."

Here is a clip of the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml8bQDnnkKk

I've watched as much of it as I could stand. Being someone far removed from religion and dogmatic paradigms for some time now, even I got nauseous 3 minutes in.

Let's be clear: If professed Christians, "saved folk" "God's Chosen" don't see the writing on the wall, it's too damn late.

Let's face it: it already is.

These pastors are ballin' out of control (meaning they are living lavishly) and have now moved from being millionaire "Pastor-preneurs" (a term c/o Fortune Magazine) to the ranks of reality t/v/ show celebrities, i.e. Kim Kardashian, Honey Boo Boo, and the Real Housewives of everywhere.

You got these Christians running around saying one of two things:

One-It's "Not my Church!" No Christian EVER thinks it's their church. Their pastor is always the most sincere, honest, friend they could ever ask for. Their church is always a "family". They look at pastors like the ones on this reality show as the "bad seed"-the "a few, not all" delusion-ahem-I meant mentality.

Two-I don't see nuthin' wrong...These are the bipolar, delusional, asinine, obnoxious, naive, Christians who are in a lifelong state of self-denial. They adamantly defend these Pastors and more importantly, the reason they support them. They possess no logic or reasoning skills and they consider critical thinking to be "anti-Christ.", atheistic or unspiritual.   They will argue with anyone who questions the validity of them giving at least 10% of their income to a man (or woman) pastor and church staff every week in addition to all the special fundraisers and out-of-pocket expenses incurred from travelling to services and church events, unpaid volunteer services given to pastors and church events, and all the other miscellaneous stuff imbetween.

These people claim, "Well, I don't give to MAN, I give to GOD".

Obnoxious, delusional pricks.

Whatever category these people fall in, they have one thing in common:

They're being pimped..... And they just don't care. 


I was, for years a victim-or a participant- to this pimping game. I know what it's like to be on my knees cleaning the Pastor's toilet bowl with a toothbrush for free in the middle of college mid-terms. I know what it's like to babysit the Deacon and his wife's three bratty children and them donating what they would have paid me to the Church as a charity gift. Did I mention I was disabled and on assistance because I couldn't work and was one foot in a homeless shelter?....

But I woke up. I realized that I allowed them to use me and abuse me while they lived in big homes in great neighborhoods off of the sweat of my brow. It clicked that they could care less about me....and I started caring about myself.

It's called self-esteem.

You can call it self-love, too. Something dogmatic Christianity says is evil.

Anyway, just watch the trailer and see what you think.

Because it's at a point where people are not only being abused and used, but they want to be abused and used...and even when Hollywood puts it right in our faces, they rub their noses in it and smile.

Until next time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Religion in the News: Hour of Power's Rev. Robert Schuller in financial hot water

Article link: http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_21915088/crystal-cathedral-founder-seeks-5m-from-church?source=rss




LOS ANGELES—The aging founder of the Crystal Cathedral is in court seeking more than $5 million from the ministry he built from scratch in a dispute that has delayed millions in payments to creditors left short-handed when the church filed for bankruptcy two years ago.

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller was in Los Angeles on Thursday for the start of a 10-day trial over copyright infringement, intellectual property and contract violation claims that stem from his ministry's devastating financial collapse. The trial continued Friday with testimony expected from his wife, daughter and son-in-law. Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy in 2010 with more than $50 million in debt. The Schuller family's claims continue to delay about $12. 5 million in payments to creditors. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange purchased the ministry's soaring, glass-paned Crystal Cathedral last year in a bankruptcy deal and the remaining worshippers will move out by next year.   "We're just hoping that it's soon over, so we can just move on," John Charles, chief executive officer of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, told The Orange County Register ( http://bitly.com/T8GI6x). "It's been painful for both sides."   One of Schuller's daughters and her husband also have claims in the case. The daughter earned $10,000 a month as an employee and her husband worked as an independent contractor for fundraising and arranging Schuller's speaking engagements.


One of the biggest sticking points for the Schullers is an agreement between the couple and the church written before Schuller left as senior pastor in 2005. That deal promised total annual payments of more than $337,000 for housing, insurance and money for Schuller's corporation, Robert Harold Inc.—but the payments stopped after the bankruptcy filing, the newspaper reported.   Another dispute is over the books, videos and other materials Schuller authored and considers his intellectual property. In court papers, the 86-year-old Schuller says that he never would have agreed to the sale of his materials by the church on the Internet if he understood what the Internet was. Critics allege the Schullers abused their leadership position in the church to live a lavish lifestyle with money intended for the ministry. The "Hour of Power" televangelist program at one point had 20 million viewers worldwide and the Crystal Cathedral where the show was filmed before a live congregation became a religious landmark for Schuller devotees. From 1993 to 2010, four family members received compensation of nearly $13 million, according to the Los Angeles Times ( http://lat.ms/UnJ7JC).

When the ministry filed for bankruptcy, 20 family members were being paid a total of more than $1.9 million a year, the newspaper reported, based on court filings.

Friday, July 19, 2013