Religious believers vs Atheists : why does there have to be a war?

I was forced to come back to my blog because I was angered by such a cruel comment and article that was posted by a friend on Facebook. For someone who did Philosophy, she really was a heartless person for being so judgemental herself. I am religious, I have feelings, I follow my religion and I believe in God. I am not afraid of saying this, about expressing what I believe. Yes I believe in God, deal with it. Yes I don’t tell the whole world but that’s my choice. Religion has become so controversial and such a touchy subject in our society that the mood darkens when it is mentioned. Don’t try to belittle me and my religion just because you don’t believe. Don’t you dare try to reduce it and make me feel like my religion is nothing but a comfort blanket. You haven’t got a fudging clue about my life, what people go through so how dare people just judge and condemn your religion like they know exactly what they are talking about. NO ONE knows anything about God. I freely admit it- no one in this massive world has a clue so how can you make a statement about people being crazy for believing in God or religion. Just because you don’t know anything about something does not make you irrational. There is a lot about this world that we do not know about but that doesn’t mean I walk down the road shouting “You are wrong because you know nothing!” Aliens could very well exist- how do you know? Scientists are trying to discover if  they do. Where did this idea of God come from? Its been around for thousands of years, but whatever happened to respecting one’s beliefs?

Oh it’s religion let’s skirt around the issue because it becomes an awkward topic of conversation. We are grown adults and people feel the need to hide behind the curtains and not wish to discuss what they think is close minded traditional old garbage. Well hang on a sec if you think that is so, then how is it that you still follow these old traditional teachings? You don’t realise it but religion is in everything whether you like it or not. It’s been around for thousands of years- you can’t just get rid of it. Even Nietzsche recognised this and stated that it would leave a vast void which would be difficult to fill.  How can you refute the claim that religion is useless when it still exists in everything you do- it is ingrained so deeply that you hardly recognise it. I studied philosophy too and at university I encountered not so much trouble at school but still enough that I was ridiculed for being a religious believer. I would always be told “its ok because you’re a nice religious believer but the others are nuts.” What am I to say? Oh thanks you think I am normal. Do you know the shameful part? I was happy with those statements and I agreed. Looking back I should have been angry because I was being compared and judged. Why do I get categorised as normal and others categorised as crazy. I just feel like I made the cut as if I just passed a test. That’s not how it should be. It shouldn’t matter what kind of religious person I am. It shouldn’t matter that I practice and keep religion to myself. It shouldn’t matter if that makes me normal or crazy because I am me and I am religious. I’m not ashamed of that and why should I be?

I digress, so this girl posted this cartoon on her Facebook: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/religion and emphasised how much she agreed with this. Some of it is not so bad, but it vexed me because of the assumptions that were made. It masquerades as humour and condemning those with crazy views, but whatever happened to the right to express our own opinions and views? Who says all religious people believe that stem cell research is evil and fruitless? I am Catholic and although I don’t agree with certain aspects of my religion doesn’t mean I am in the same group. I can’t win because I believe that homosexuality is fine. I understand it is tough and seriously how can you force others to hide who they are and pretend to be heterosexual? It’s just not fair asking someone to be who they are not. I believe Jesus loves everyone. I don’t recall God saying it was wrong because no one heard God say that.  In the eyes of religion I am a heretic and not a true Catholic but hey that’s what I believe. I still associate myself with being religious. It’s just a lot more complicated and all religion is complicated.

Don’t think my problem is solely with Atheists- I admit I don’t like it when some religious people parade religion in my face and try to show that they are better and far superior than me because they do more things in the Church. What is this a contest? Oh wow you’re more religious? Guess what I don’t care. Why should I? Religion is personal and for me is about God not some man made principles. I respect the Christian teachings but its about loving God for me. Helping others- supporting others going the extra mile. True you don’t need to be religious to do all those things but sometimes it helps to understand people and compassion a little more during times of struggle when you’re too stubborn to see the good and help those who’ve hurt you. It’s nice to sit with the Priest and discuss where God has gone and why you’re losing your faith. I’m lucky I have a lovely Priest to turn to who does not judge me but listens to me. He doesn’t give me easy answers and doesn’t even pander to the things he knows I would want to hear. He is honest and truthful that it is tough finding God in this world. I respect that.

Anyway this same girl said to me once when I was leaving after a climbing session when I said that I have to go home, she asked “why?” I said “oh because I need to go to Church for Ash Wednesday” and do you know what she said? She said “See how religion ruins your life?” and then she laughed and said goodbye. I stood there so shocked. I wish I said something but I was in too much of a state of shock. I could not believe what I just heard because do we not get choices anymore? Since when did religion ruin my life? because last I checked I made the choice to leave the session- not my religion. I am in control of my choices- if I want to leave and go to Church that’s my business. I am still to this day annoyed I didn’t speak up – who says you can forget so easily? No one says its easy to forget. I am so fed up with people telling me how to live my life and judging me just because I believe in God. It’s MY life, MY choices. Who says you get a say in my life choices? I will do what I want- if I want to go to Church I’ll damn well go. If I want to go out clubbing I will go, if I want to pray I’ll pray. I don’t force you so why are you forcing me to live the way you want. I get it that people get angered by some religious believers who force religion down their throats but people have to understand it is not all religious believers who do that. Why are you disrespecting and getting angry at religion as a whole? Just because you have issues with religion doesn’t mean you should have issues with everyone associated with that religion. Whenever I am in a group and the subject turns to religion, a silence and hush goes round the group when they discover I am Catholic. The sayings “Oh wow we would never have guessed.” or “Oh well you’re one of the normal ones then” get thrown around the group. Am i meant to be impressed and happy with those thoughts? Just because I don’t boast about my religion, preach about it and parade it in other people’s faces, it apparently makes me sane.  You don’t realise you’ve just judged me because I am religious but I bet you’d never have guessed that I like metal. I wear pretty dresses and like to smile and try to be optimistic but I still like metal. I have other sides to my personality, other interests so why do people feel the need to put me in a box? “Oh she looks happy so she must like happy music or pop music.” or “Oh she looks normal so she must not believe in religion because that is irrational.” I don’t get why it surprises people that I have different facets to my life. I dislike people who claim to be Atheist and argue that religion is judgemental while simultaneously managing to become a hypocrite by saying that they don’t judge people or the world. Then please explain to me how you claim not to judge others when you’ve clearly just judged religious believers. I don’t care what you hate and I don’t understand why it even matters?  Some people feel the need to attack the views of others just because they simply do not like it. “I don’t like religion so lets attack this shit”. But that’s not fair. I guess life is not fair but really next time be a little more sensitive. It doesn’t hurt. If you don’t like someone’s view explain that to them and if its not getting through move on. Why waste time trying to argue points just so you feel validated.

Well you’ll be happy to know my rant is over. I respect other people’s beliefs but there comes a point where it crosses the line and that’s where I lose respect. I am a religious believer. Deal with it.

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Sometimes it’s best to let go before you drown

I am at a point in my life where I feel like I am having a mid life crisis and I am not even in my forties! I am in my twenties! But I feel like a trapped bird- one whose wings have been clipped and it is taking me some time to fly away. Life has me trapped in a sad reality where I just can no longer feel anything but sadness and conflict. Conflicting thoughts as to how I should live my life, how to carry on, how to survive in this world, how to find love and experience it. There is so much a person needs to know when going out exploring, when going out experiencing the world and they say that adversities challenge you and develop you as a person but for the past few days I have been questioning things.

It is not because Valentines day is fast approaching and I am single because I do not care about it one bit. No today I was taking a break from working and decided to relax, but the wicked can never rest, because as soon as I tried, the phone rings with a friend on the other line needing some emotional support after a break up. I am there to help the friends who have broken down, the friends struggling, those whose relationships have failed! It’s all in a days work, but at the same time it is sort of draining, something which sucks the life out of you. No one likes being dumped nor breaking up with their lover, but sometimes in life there are obstacles and difference in views that sometimes it cannot be helped. But I don’t feel like I can be a friend anymore. They say a true friend sticks around through the good, bad and the rough, but somehow I seem to carry a lot of friends who only go through the rough and never really through the happy times. I am not saying that all my friends are draining- this feels terrible saying but it is the truth that I need to face. I am tired of always trying to fight a losing battle. I should not give up I know, but it is so hard yet so easy to just throw in the towel. Friendships shouldn’t have to be this difficult and some of my other friendships aren’t but most of my friendships nowadays I view as a burden! I obviously have let them become too dependent on me and sometimes it is important to say NO.

The thing is this one friend has depression, an eating disorder and a genetic condition she has had since birth which makes her understandably very sad, depressed and moody. She knows this, but I wonder when she will be happy. Once she told me that having a boyfriend makes her happy, but some how I feel sick by the thought, because I like to be independent. Somehow she is so emotionally dependent on a guy but also on me that it makes me want to run! As horrible as it sounds, it is true, I don’t like it when people rely on someone too much, because lets be honest this world is constantly changing and people change too so how can you rely on something so unstable? That’s my outlook anyway!

Truth be told, she blames her failures, personality problems, depression and eating disorder on our old strict Catholic school. I too used to blame my old school for the faults I received, but I realised over time that actually that school made me who I am today, and it is not the school who injured my confidence and trust in people, but the people themselves in the school. I am trying hard to show her that it is not the school she needs to blame but the people in it who shape you. Especially when you are a teenager, you are at such a delicate age where anyone and anything can become your “good”. They have so much power and influence over you that it is the friends you make at school who end up defining you throughout the period. You may disagree with me on this point, but I really do believe that it is the friends you make who are crucial to developing you, because you try to change yourself so that you may be liked. I never followed the crowd so it made it difficult for me, but this particular friend cared what others thought. She was a girl who never wore make up, never cared about the way she looked until the friends in that school made her more self-conscious.

This friend of mine every time I see her we hardly speak about me because lets be honest my life’s far from interesting. I have no life because all I do is work. But all she can talk about are the horrible cards that life deals her which ok is true but life deals a lot of horrible cards to people and somehow some people manage to find the strength and positivity to move on and rise above the pain and struggle. I pity her I do, but I cannot help her anymore, I just feel like I can’t do this anymore. I am not letting go, just stepping back and leaving for a while. I need space and although I already get a lot of space from my friends somehow I feel like friends can suffocate you. And that is what some of them do to me, they suffocate me so much I want to run. No matter what I say or try to do, she can never be satisfied, her negative energies completely consume her and I try to be a positive person that I can no longer take it.

I don’t mind helping my friends and being there for when they are blue, but when you’re friends are in a constant state of sadness, it becomes hard to cope with the negativity. I will always be there for my friends as long as they need me, but sometimes I won’t because I am not superwoman. I don’t really know what a normal friendship is like, but I do know that sitting in an unhealthy one won’t do me any good. So from now on I will try and be less emotional, not like a robot although sometimes I do feel like one! But more optimistic about the rest of my treasures and beautiful friends who get neglected but who mean the world to me. Those are the true friends who I love and just enjoy spending time with, without thinking of it as a chore!