Religion: Accessory or Original Factory Part?

September 27, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Posted in religion | Leave a comment
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I wasn’t raised in churches, my nose clasped between Gospels. In my rather atheist or at the very least agnostic britches, I still found a need to poke and prod religion and figure out what makes it tick. Why is it so polarizing? Why is it a staple to some regions, some families, and a distasteful hobby to others? Rather than concern myself with fucking it and forgetting it – finding my butt on a pew or mattress come Sunday morning – I wanted to know why Religion sticks in my craw.

Religion wasn’t one of the “parts included” when I was growing up. It wasn’t an accessory I sought to acquire until high school during the final course in a long line of religious requirements. More correctly, I began to wonder if religion was an accessory or a missing factory part.

In my customary slumped, unladylike posture I listened as the teacher marked up the blackboard with Karl Marx’s philosophy of religion.

The previous year I’d written a paper for Psychology class examining whether religion is a figment of our imaginations. I just did an extensive Yahoo search of my old email address and was distressed to find no remnants of that paper. As my memory is equivalent to that of a goldfish’s – 3 months – on a good day, I can’t remember what my exact conclusions were.

Philosophy of Religion was my way of peaking behind the curtain and unmasking Oz.

On the surface, Marx wrapped my answer with a giant velvet bow. The opium of the people. Flowers adorning our chains. Religion is an addiction, the magic smoke to the law-abiding layman. It’s the flowers that mask the chains weighing us down in worldly suffering. Suffering. That vertex upon which religion rests, sending us into the ranks of believers and suspect. Why is there suffering if God is so good? If God is good. We prioritize. We’re realistic.

Point A: Worldly Suffering exists. If A is true, then what is the point of life? Where’s the end? Why does it exist? To balance that equation, we have Point B: religion and all its trial, tribulation, and redemption. Since A is true then B must be true.

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” (Voltaire)

If religion is the chute that activates when we’re born and begin our decent into life, what happens when that chute doesn’t activate for some of us? We’re left to find a different means of landing safely.

Despite seeing religion as a symptom rather than a solution for humanity’s suffering, Marx does not condemn religion.

“Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”

He condemns religion’s proffer of supernatural fixes to suffering. Religion, as i see it, does not encourage its believers to accept or even see reality. Religion is a matrix, engrossing its believers in a fabricated reality where every action and thought is mediated by a supposed kingpin running a fairytale endgame.

I understand that religion holds societies together, sewed in the seams of our justice, morals, our DNA.

But I don’t understand why we can’t pluck the living flower and live morally.

What disillusions me is the church’s grasp on religion. I think we need to wrest faith away from the church; turn away from religion and embrace spirituality.

Unnamed Angel #1.

If you

want motley lives:

though I’m but a Pearl Gate

pantryman, grant faith a stay of


-2010 BMC. Cinquian.


Operating on Religion. Part 1.

September 24, 2010 at 6:48 am | Posted in religion, school | 6 Comments
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What’s that you see? Yes, it’s a post. I have returned to teh internets. At least this corner of it. I figure that since I have suspended my classroom education for the year (or two for reasons that are still shelved in the back of my brain to be dealt with at a later date) that I no longer have boring, badly copied readings and bullshit (I mean that endearingly) english papers clamoring for my time. Without future ado..


I met SJ in college. We hit it off immediately. Both from the west coast, we were marooned in Philadelphia and its fast east coast ways and lackluster sunshine. Our mothers bonded while they moved us into our tiny freshmen rooms. Well, my room was a tiny double. SJ’s roommate was a Pakistani girl that for reasons unclear withdrew at the last moment leaving SJ with a double, already slightly larger than normal, to herself. My mother and I were on the floor of my new room, transforming it into the set from one of those commercials Bed Bath & Beyond runs during college move in season. “Yoohoo. Anyone in there? We don’t have a key,” wafted through my ground floor window. And thus I met SJ’s mother.

I immediately saw in SJ my salvation. The world feeds us the line that college is where it’s at. College is where you meet your best friends (true for my parents), where you live and reminisce about it for the rest of your life. I stepped foot in my assigned hallway, opened my assigned door, and checked my subconscious expectation for an assigned best friend.

Which is all to say, SJ and I connected on a plane I hadn’t quite experienced before. Politically, culturally we were borne of opposite threads. I grew up in a household that wasn’t religious. My parents aren’t atheist, but we didn’t go to church. I did go to bible study – of my own free will – because I found the exercises fun and it was run by my neighbor’s mother. My favorite book for a long time was the Children’s Bible because I loved the pictures (one on every page) and the stories. But none of this molded me into a religious person.

I went to a high school stuffed with big ideas and liberal veins. The majority of my friends fit this mold and those who didn’t were considered naive and given more than one impromptu sex education demonstration with a spoon and a fist over greasy pizza and chocolate milk cartons in the cafeteria. We were lucky to go to a high school that encouraged us to fight our teachers, to debate our peers. Occasionally we dug ourselves into holes, but by the time we graduated we had tasted blood. We flipped our tassels, tossed our caps, and began our hunt for some college meat to sink our considerable (or so we thought) canines into.

So I expected myself to be frustrated with SJ. To stalk her conservative values and take them down one peg at a time. I admit that at first this is how I approached our friendship. We’d watch The Music Man – in love with the world our favorite musicals presented us on screen for 3 hours. Marian, the librarian. But at lunch, I’d bring up Prop 8 and ask again what she believed and why.

I quickly abandoned the huntress and prey approach. I respected SJ’s ideals. I didn’t understand them, so I grilled her constantly about her religion and learned about it. I went to church with her, got a Book of Mormon, went to a bible study or two. Mormonism became my “Operation” game (a stand in for all general religious ideas). I poked my tweezers into its organs and mulled the result over.

I haven’t been convinced.

I’m still a spiritual person. I can Have Faith and Believe in the Universe to work things out, but “God” and His principles still stand to question.

I’ll leave my specific objections to Part 2. As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been listening to the L Word in the background but now approaches the finale (with Anabella Sciorra) and I’d like to give it (and her) my full attention.

Also my nose is running – I shall vanquish ye head cold! – and it’s slowing down my WPM.

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