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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Disillusioned by Religion

"In the past I thought religion was all about 'belonging' and 'Jesus loves me.' But when I attended church we felt so terribly judged," my friend explained how she felt about religion.

"I know exactly what you are saying," I heard myself respond. "I could never measure up to their standards of 'righteousness.'"

Religion tore our family apart." Ella* is like a sister to me. Perhaps a "soul sister." We have had a similar religious journey in some ways.

Before Jesus or God could love me, I had to be a certain way, act a certain way and behave a certain way. They could not accept me as I was. And in the end — apparently — I was judged as unlovable.

In Ella's case, she and her partner were engaged and living together. They felt no urgent need to get married. The love they felt for each other was pure in their eyes and that was enough. But throw religion in the mix and suddenly all kinds of rules applied. Suddenly guilt and shame were painted all over them. They were judged harshly for being unwed.

"Is all religion so harsh and judgmental?" One might ask the question, and validly so. Someone asked her at work, "Are you a Christian?" Her explanation was very much the same as mine.

Let Them Eat Cake

While I feel a sense of spirituality, I would rather not identify myself as anything in a religious sense, because as soon as I make some religious declaration, I paint myself into a box in which I don't rightly belong. So, like her, I would rather not call myself a Christian. Look at the example of Christians in the United States. Look at who is running for US presidency lately: right wing Christian fundamentalists without heart or soul, owned by corporate interests. I keep looking in them for the "consciousness of Christ." I recall a scripture where Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple. Would he — or would he not — throw out the likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum? Mitt Romney recently declared that he is not interested in poor people. He would give them food stamps. That's their safely net, according to him. Another instance of religious love in action: "Let them eat cake." Perhaps Mr. Romney might try living off food stamps.

Is your marriage protected from religion?

Who Owns a Woman's Body?

I question why religious groups think they have the power to control women's bodies? Why do they think it's okay to dictate what goes on in the bedrooms of America? It occurred to me that perhaps some women are conditioned to enable this behavior and belief.

The Jehovah's Witnesses appear to believe that a man must "lead his wife" and "dominate her". I wonder if it is healthy for women to let men make such arbitrary choices for them.

Religion and Sexual Abuse of Children

Bishops want "unmarrieds" to abstain from sex. Yet, some among them are forcing sex on children. Where is their abstinence? Is that their level of their emotional intelligence — forcing their "authority" over dis-empowered, vulnerable children? Would Jesus behave that way?

I remind myself that they themselves are unmarried. I remind myself that the raping or sodomizing of children is illegal. I remind myself that justice for the wounded children will eventually occur, since what comes around goes around. I observe that some of the present governments are enabling the sexual predators to continue their attacks on children by turning a blind eye. I remind myself of how Jesus would have viewed the behavior of those religious and government leaders.

Jehovah's Witnesses and Honor Killings?

All over the world religious people are killing one another. It's not just the Muslims who do "honor" killings, like government propaganda might imply. American religions such as Jehovah's Witnesses are perfectly capable of violence against their own, too. All in the name of their God. They even treat living relatives who have left their religion as dead. Such treatment might be considered as the Jehovah's Witnesses' version of honor killings. That's abusive.

I have a conscience and consider myself spiritual but non-religious. Perhaps what we observe around us is all happening for some higher purpose. Nevertheless, I keep reminding myself to let go of judgment and just keep sending love and light, and trust the spiritual process. Sometimes I struggle with what I see in the news. Again, I remind myself that perhaps people's observations are creating awareness of religion's place in civilized society.

* Ella is not her real name.

Visit "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2012.


  1. what do you own that cannot be taken away?

  2. If I don't own my own body, how does that entitle my husband to own it?