Not Reading This is a Mortal Sin

My last few blog posts had a tinge of the seriousness–postpartum depression, the turd-like manner of Dr. Phil, the season finale of Bachelor Pad 2.

Now it is time to lighten the mood, which is why I’ve chosen religion as my topic. Religion is fun and people can be really funny about their religion.

I like when people say “My sky deity is better than yours” and then other people say “No–mine is better, prick!” and then the first people say “I’m going to blow you off this planet, assface, in the name of my sky deity” and the other people say “I’d like to see you try it, dickweed. My sky deity is totally going to smite your sky deity’s ass.”

I like how people use their religion to excuse their abhorrent behavior. We have an annual summer relay race. This is a long-standing tradition, almost dating back to the time when Enoch begat Methuselah. It requires blocking a few roads. Well this one man decided to barrel his giant black SUV directly into the path of soon-to-be arriving runners. A race official stopped him. He rolled down his window, stuck out his sweaty, tomato-red face  and screamed “I have to get to church!!!” Bits of spittle flew in every direction. He then peeled off to go angrily pray, I guess.

I like how around the time Christmas trees show up in stores (Sept. 21), millionaire pundits immediately get on the airwaves to once again decry the invasion of Christmas by non-christian boogeymen. Apparently every time someone says “Happy Holidays,” an angel loses its wings.

So there is much I like about religion, but I will admit that I have a tricky relationship with it. I was raised Catholic, but I began to have problems with it around the age of 7 when I had my first Communion and read in my little sin book that it was mortal sin (i.e. you will burn in eternal hell fire) to miss church. My family notoriously missed church or made it for the last 10 minutes to stand in the back and then leave early. By 14, I was done, and only got confirmed because my mother made me. The conversation went something like this:

But I don’t believe in any of it!! (in a teenagey, whiny kind of voice)

Well you’re going to do it.

But you don’t even go to church!!

You’re doing it.

For some reason I ended up going to a Jesuit college. This was not the best fit. I remember in a mythology class, the teacher talking about beliefs in the afterlife and asking students what they believed. The general consensus was clouds, harps and angels. He then asked if anyone believed that nothing happened and I was the only one to raise my hand. He asked me how I could lead an ethical and moral life if I didn’t believe anything happened after I died. Um….because I’m not a sociopath, maybe? I think I might have said something like “because I don’t need the threat of punishment to not act like a douchebag” or “what the f*** is wrong with you?” For some reason, I did not get a good grade in that class.

So like I said–tricky relationship. Just for the record, I have no idea what happens after you die. It hasn’t happened to me yet, so I will have to get back to you.

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22 comments

  1. I was raised Catholic too. I used to like to go to the rosary prayers they held each evening in May. It was just me and some little old ladies. I liked sitting in the almost empty church. That was about it. I don’t know about too much else, but I don’t want NOT to believe. I know that if I ask my deceased mother-in-law for something, I usually get it. She was religious and it seems to be working for her (and for me, through her.)

    1. Oh I’m completely inconsistent in my beliefs or lack thereof…whenever I lose something, the first thing I do is start whining to St. Anthony. I am totally a fair weather Catholic.

  2. Goodness me I moved in across the street from my superduperreligous cousin’s family a few years back and their daughter wasn’t allowed to spend the night because Hot Joe and I weren’t married yet and Rachel made it very clear to Noah that his mom was sinning. They were 8. When he was five she informed him that his ‘dad’ was going to hell for being a sinner (when he cheated on me and took on a newer more exciting life with a new broad). She used to tell him she cried for his soul because he wouldn’t accept Jesus into his heart and she really wanted to be able to hang out with him in heaven but instead he was going straight to hell (we are of Jewish background but I have no beliefs). I finally told my cousin if he and his wife (who I love dearly – my cousin is 2 years older, with five siblings, and we grew up 2 blocks from each other) didn’t cut that crap out Noah would be banned from their home.

    1. Yowsa! I’ve had a few people tell me they were going to pray for me, but nothing like this. My 18-month-old son has yet to accept Jesus into his heart…I’ll have to get to work on that to avoid his eternal damnation.

  3. I had a friend of mine chastise me for my less than ideal relationship with my parents. She said if I didn’t “honor” my parents that I would go straight to Hell for my sins. I calmly told her I’d save her a seat. 😉

    1. This is true. When you learn of the people who honestly believe they will be flying up to heaven during the rapture, you realize that hell on Earth doesn’t seem like such a bad option.

  4. When I decided church/Sunday school/confirmation wasn’t for me, my mum let me opt out. I think this must have pretty difficult for her, but it was clear early on that I wasn’t buying into it all. I just don’t think I have the personality for faith–never believed in Santa, Easter Bunny (Haha, did I just compare God to the Easter Bunny?).

  5. Us poor “raised Catholic” people! It’s a tricky thing to balance, upbringing and adult beliefs.

    In high school, a good friend and I (both of us “bad” Catholics) needed volunteer hours and volunteered to teach Catechism classes. Our policy was to pick and choose what lessons to teach the kids. (Talking to 3rd and 4th graders about virginity and adultery? No thanks. Discussing compassion and respect for the less fortunate? You betcha.) When the director of the program came in, we inevitably did some scrambling to cover our asses…er, tracks. It was something like Jack Black’s the-principle-is-watching teaching in School of Rock…

    Hilarious post, as always!

  6. Interesting. I currently have a post about morality, why some people think it can stem only from religion, and why I think that’s a cop out, simmering in my “drafts” folder. I am an agnostic/secular humanist living in the hyper-religious Southeastern US, so I’m frequently confronted with questions about how I could possibly be moral if I don’t believe in God. I used to give a detailed explanation, but lately I’ve boiled it down to “basically, you shouldn’t act like an ass, unless it’s necessary, and that’s usually a judgement call.”

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