Thursday, April 28, 2011

The goal of religion...

The point of life if you're a christian is to become as much like jesus as you can. jesus said it himself in mathew 5:48 - 'be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect.' Jesus demands perfection. And no christian would claim that Jesus wasn't perfect, so the goal is to be like him.
Now if that's the goal, then we have to follow the example he left. WHICH MEANS: we have to walk around, correcting peoples mistakes/sins. Jesus loved the people of this earth, and he wanted to make them get back to god, the way he did that, and the only way to do that is by correcting errors. Calling people to repentance. Therefore if you want to be perfect, (which jesus has commanded) every religious person should be devoted to correcting peoples mistakes.
My mission was ripe with people who acted like this. Missionaries would correct other missionaries constantly on any and every action and/or word. Anything that derived from the spirit, and some missionary would make it known.
And while I hated them at the time, because it was very apparent they were hypocrites. (they would constantly be doing something against the rules of the mission)
Even though I hated them for it - I understood it. Their job is to correct flaws, that's what they were told to do. They were given the authority and power of the priesthood to act in gods name. And they had the example of jesus to follow - they were only doing what they had been told.

But no matter how much I understood it, I always thought of them as assholes. Think about it, if you walked around all day correcting your friends, your neighbors, coworkers, children, wife, parents, siblings, strangers, for every little mistake they made. How far do you think you'd get before people started telling you to fuck off?
It would be an incredibly lonely road. It would build a very pessimistic atmosphere around you, and people would begin to hate you,  and feel like they couldn't act like themselves around you. Eventually they would avoid you altogether.
In my entire life - i've been surrounded by 2 people that are like this. Constantly correcting, telling people to act a certain way around them, etc. I can tell you by experience - they have no real friends. No one ever gets close to them, they are very isolated and alone. They both believe the worst of other people when it comes to religion.
But this is the price you have to pay if you really believe in the christian god.

This is the choice I came across getting home from my mission.
There's really only 3 options when it comes to religion, and the christian god.

1. You believe, call everyone to repentance, correct every mistake you see. And isolate yourself from the rest of the world.

2. half-ass it. Say you believe, but do things that constantly prevent you from becoming perfect.

3. don't believe in it. find something else to believe in that you can fully devote yourself to without becoming the asshole that the first options demand you to.

Those were my three options coming home from my mission. Choose option 1 and be like jesus (an asshole).
2. half-ass it (which really there's no point to - deny yourself certain pleasures, while justifying other pleasures (or sins) and pretending that god won't care about those sins.
or 3 - drop it altogether and find something that works without the contradictions of the other 2 options.

When you put the options up like that it really becomes an easy choice. MOST people won't choose option 1 - because they realize the fallacy of it. (which I will explain in a minute)
Option 2 is very appealing - and is the option most people pick.

Option 2:

Pretty much everyone I know falls into this category.
I remember getting home (at this time I still believed in mormonism) and I argued with my friends about rated R movies. (for those who don't know, it is against mormon culture to watch movies that are rated R)
I had grown up watching rated R movies my entire life. Never had a problem with them. Parents watched 'em, friends watched 'em, it was never really an issue until I got home from the mish.

Their argument ultimately fell on the fact that they would not want to watch any rated R movie if jesus, their bishop, or the prophet were present. To which I laughed.

'you're not going to get closer to god by watching a movie. So why would you feel any better about watching a PG movie that takes away from you learning, and growing closer to God. Or a rated R movie that distracts from god?'

Remember - jesus, the prophet, bishops - ALL OF THEM fit into the first option - and they are going to PICK APART every mistake you make.
Now for anyone who believes in god or religion - and has chosen this option - ask yourself. How many things do you do a day that do not get you closer to god?
My friend Mark Twain wrote a little about this - and I feel I should touch on this contradiction as well.
My friends LOVE Arrested development, the office, 30 rock. They enjoy playing video games like battlefield 2, halo, star wars, etc.
They do these things because they find joy in them. Do you really think in the next life you're going to sit in a room playing video games, or talking about arrested development?
If anyone has picked this option - you do realize that eventually you will have to feel ashamed for liking these things, right? You're goal in this life obviously isn't to be perfect like jesus, it's to be happy. But EVENTUALLY you will have to be perfect, and when you are, you'll have to feel ashamed about who you are. You'll have to learn to dislike the things you take joy in, and be ashamed of anyone else who does find joy in them (good luck).
You want the best of both worlds - that's why you haven't picked option 1. You want to feel like there's a heaven for you, and that you can praise jesus, be happy, and have an eternal family. But you also just want to spend your lives dicking around with simple pleasures.
What's that phrase that religious people love? 'your happiness is temporary, ours is eternal.'
Well that's good and great - but if my joy is temporal, and you're choosing option 2 - guess what dipshit - your joy is temporal too. The eternal joy you somehow feel you can claim is only for people that are becoming like jesus - not wasting their time on temporal joys like movies, and video games.

If you want that eternal joy you seem to think you already have - you're gonna have to pick option 1. And why don't you do this? It's not because you're weak, it's not because you can't - you believe in god apparently, you took on the name of jesus - and you have the priesthood - the absolute power of god - you represent him on this earth.
Or rather I should say, you represent him a few hours a week when you go to church, or have church responsibilites. But the rest of the week you're just like everyone else - finding as much temporal joy as you can. So why don't you pick option 1? Cause it's more apparent that you're an asshole. Option 2 allows you to lie to yourself, and to everyone else, and feel okay about it. Which is the real goal of religion.

I'll just say this last comment for all the people that fit into this option:

If you spend more time playing games, reading books, and watching movies than you do studying scriptures, praying, or calling people to repentance. You don't honestly believe that those things bring you eternal joy. If that shit made you THAT happy - you'd choose that over games and movies.  You're obviously getting more joy out of temporary things, than the eternal...

hmmm... I wonder why...

Option 1
Jesus - you got problems.

It's a funny thing when people choose option 1. You're really able to see the true stupidity of religion.
This option, (which is supposedly the goal of religion) doesn't work well with public relations. Either way you come off as an idiot - pick option 2, and have people think you're not confident, that you half ass things, and you're a hypocrite. BUT with option 2, religion seems more normal, because people don't act like assholes. SO it's great for PR.

Or pick option 1 - and this is where the real PR issues come into play.
You're asked to be like jesus, or to try. Problem is, you don't have a knowledge of it, you have faith. Faith is not knowledge - if it were this world would be FUCKED UP. Can you imagine a world where every religious person was extreme about their beliefs? Can you imagine if every religion had their own 'moses' - some guy just roaming around with their followers, destroying villages because their pagan culture will influence them for the bad?
That's the world that would be created if everyone took religion seriously. Thank god the majority of religious people half ass it - can't imagine how horrible it would be if religion actually accomplished their goal of turning people into confident, faith is knowledge extremists.
Which is why the people that follow this option make it so apparent that religion is full of shit.
For PR reasons they don't want you to become extreme (which is why no prophet resembles the hard ass approach joseph smith had anymore, Joe smith would be kicked out of his own religion because of the PR issues he would create by claiming everyone elses church is an ABOMINATION) - but yet, they tell you to be like jesus, and that you CAN know for a fact that he lives.
hmmm... you want us to know for a fact that he lives, but if we find out for a fact, you want us to not give a shit because no one likes an extremist. SO believe, but half ass it - we don't want to be known as assholes for going around talking as if we actually believed this shit.

Once again - the goal of religion is to do something they never ACTUALLY intend to accomplish. Because if they had a bunch of little Jesus' running around telling people they're going to hell for thinking different than them - everyone would hate them.
What's that jesus line again, 'lose yourself for my sake'

Phew - alright - we can all stop pretending that religion and god are real now. If it were you'd either have to  be like jesus (the asshole in option 1), or the hypocritical asshole (option 2) -

Good thing it's not true, or our terrible god would make assholes of all of us.
And god -  if you're so in love with assholes, why are you against gays?
No one else is going to understand your love of assholes like the gay community!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Sheperd's Voice

So in order to look at the system god, and religion have set up for us, let’s examine the way we as humans learn.

All my life I've had a problem obeying authority. I would go to church, and people would tell me what to do, I would get home (I was the youngest in my family) and everyone would tell me what to do, I would go to school and I was told what to do.
It is not in our nature to sit and listen to lectures when we're 8 years old. The BEST way we learn is by experience, which is why children are so curious about the world. Experience unlike words, touches more than one human sense. And therefore my struggle to obey authority occured at a very young age, and eventually I was 'diagnosed' with A.D.D. - Which in my opinion is just some dipshit doctors way of claiming that me... a child... had the audacity to act as one.
And although they shoved pills down my throat, I would always find a way to disobey. I wasn't born in this world to be a spectator, and that's exactly what I saw in every authority figure - Stronger, wiser people telling me to not experience life - they've experienced it, and they're only suggestion to me is to avoid it (life).
This demands alot of faith. When first told about a principle, or law to obey you don't understand why you should. You have no experiences showing you that disobedience would make you unhappy, so you're required to have faith. If your faith isn't strong enough and you sin or disobey, your parents will then have to punish you, to get you to understand and obey. But this doesn‘t work that well.. Which is why often times people fail, or repeat transgressions. If something doesn't make sense to you, or if you haven’t learned by experience, the only way you will obey is if you're afraid of the alternative of not obeying (punishment).

That's all faith is really - a combination of hope... and fear. If the hope of being happy by obeying (the spirit, eternal families, temporary happiness from following a commandment) doesn't sustain you in your time of need.. then fear will. Sustain (in this context) should not be defined as a constant state of happiness, security, well being - It is defined as sustaining you in obedience.
So there are two ways of learning: Experience, which creates an inner desire to follow. No need for reminders OR need for being threatened with consequences.
And then there’s faith, which requires reminders and punishment to follow.

So for example: A child is told to clean his room. Most likely the mom will have to remind him several times because the child knows from experience that if he cleans his room today, it will only be dirty by tomorrow. So in the childs mind, there is no point. In order to keep the room clean, the mother will have to constantly remind him to do so. However, let's say the child grows up, loses his keys inside his messy room, is late for work and is fired because of it. This child will no longer need reminders - He has learned from experience that it is better to spend 2 minutes a day cleaning his room, than spend hours looking for something in it.
Religion acts as the authority figure to it's members the same way a parent acts towards its child. They teach you something, if it doesn't make sense to you then they'll have to remind you, over and over again - every sunday, every morning with scriptures and prayer - remember jesus, remember god, remember... They tell you to have faith, and if that doesn’t work they punish you, or threaten you with consequences.

So why does religion focus so much on faith and reminders, when they could just convert them through experience? Because if members did disobey, and by some fluke chance experienced joy outside of their religion, members might think they're full of shit.
So in order to keep you from gaining this knowledge, religion will show you the highlights of their god and religion, and anything questionable about them is a mystery, go pray, have faith, and if it still doesn’t make sense to you, remember that you’re going to hell for a very long time if you guess it wrong.
When you have a history as dark, confusing, contradicting, and as pathetic as religion does - you're not going to convert people. And when people can be happy disobeying laws, they don't want you to investigate or gain any knowledge outside of their system.
Religion therefore only has two options: Show people their history, and let them have experiences outside of the religion to see if they can be happier - and hope that the faith of their members is strong enough not to deter them. Or have the parent child relationship. (do what i say, if you don't there will be consequences).

I mean, how many of you really know what your parents sins were when they were growing up?
So lets reverse it, and try looking at the theory as if parents acted like religion.
You grow up your entire life, and your parents give you only the highlights of their lives. Like they graduated from college, they were the president of so and so's company. Gave to charity organizations, etc.
Now lets say you grow up hearing all these good things about your parents, and don't know a single bad thing about their past. At about 30 years old you see your parents being taken to jail - and you start hearing stories that they've been having sex with 14 year olds (joseph smith). They've killed numerous people because they had an inkling that god wanted them dead (elijah). They massacred entire towns because they were afraid the sins of their pagan neighbors would influence them (moses).
I'm guessing if you heard all this about your parents at the age of 30, the question would pop up in your head - why didn't they tell me?
I'm sure you would question just about everything they ever taught you, and you would probably think a lot more realistically about the highlights of their lives. Granted, if you had obeyed a certain principle and seen by experience that it makes you happier - you wouldn't question that principle that they had taught you. Everything else however would demand faith. And faith in people with a history like that is very daunting.
Now, lets say you go and visit them in jail, and they make a lot of crazy promises about how they will get you into heaven in the next life, if you post bail for them. And that if you didn't post their bail, there would be horrible consequences in the next life (hell) - You'd probably stop seeing them as loving parents. "You NEED to do this because there will be blessings if you do. If you DON'T do this there will be consequences."

Hmmm... doesn't seem like you've left us much of a choice. And yet the only verifiable evidence of anyone benefitting from this - is you... not me.
"So let me get this straight - I pay you money so you can keep murdering, molesting, spreading hate and racism. And god will be so pleased with me that I'm funding His program, that he's gonna offer me a free pass to get into heaven. I'm sorry but after years of hiding all this from me, I'm gonna need a little bit more than a 'trust me, you'll go to heaven.' And, 'trust me you're going to hell if you don't help.' I'm gonna need some proof.
Religion has no grounds, and has not earned the right to be trusted simply because they say something.

Religion WANTS you to depend on them. They don't even want you to depend on Jesus, or even God - your salvation depends on THEM.
If I argue with an evangelical about what Jesus meant about a certain scripture they'll tell me that I believe in a different Jesus than them - and that if I don't accept their jesus - I can't make it to heaven believing in a false god.
If I quite mormonism and go live in the mountains to have a personal relationship with god and jesus - they'll say, 'well you still need to go to the temple to get to the celestial kingdom... Oh, and getting to the temple requires 10% of your income.... Oh, and when you get to the temple you have to promise to give us everything you own if there's ever a day we need your house, all your money, etc."
Suddenly all your talk about having a personal relationship with god sounds like bullshit. Jesus came as a mediator between us and god... And now religion has come to act as a mediator between us and Jesus. 'Can't get to Jesus unless you go through us' - (oh, and we want your money for providing this service)

Parents want you to be good, and happy - independent of them. Religion wants you to depend on them - if they didn't want you to depend on them, they'd hand you a bible, teach you good principles by living, and experiencing those principles, and then send you on your way.

But religion doesn't. They don't have a weekly session of taking you to a homeless shelter, or giving to charity. They don't have a weekly stop at the old folks home, or a volunteer program. BUT what they do have.... EVERY WEEK ... is a church meeting to REMIND (there's that word again) you that you depend on them for your salvation. Like a parent reminding you to clean your room.
So if god is behind your religion it begs the question, "Why does your god prefer the weaker way of teaching by faith, and reminders (where people will always fail because they don't understand. They don't understand because of a lack of experience. Experience that you refuse to give them) as opposed to creating a self made person that will be good when no one else is looking?"
Which then begs the question - why does God want you to depend on him. What parent wants to be calling their 70 year old kids daily to remind them to clean their room?

The bubble that religion creates, makes you into a spectator. Faith demands that you not experience life, but that you take someone elses word for it. They don't want you to gain knowledge because that makes you independent.
And they do this all under the guise that they are a loving, caring parent - that they only want to protect you from the evils of this world - and that they know what's best. Well I for one, know by experience that god and religion don't know what's best. Their system is flawed, and contradicting:
You want me to be good, but not if I can do it on my own.

And why should I be afraid of this moron that calls himself god again? And why should I be afraid of the morons who claim i'm going to hell if I don't follow this program?

Oh that's right.. you have a feeling. And if that feeling tells you that 2+2=7, then BY GOD 2+2=7!!

Phew - Okay guys, that's the end of the theory. I know it was hard... But you can all stop pretending that religion is true, or that god exists. He's a terrifying idea isn't he? Our terrible god.