Throwback Thursday — Religious Influences

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Lauren chose the topic of “the impact of religion.”

Well, this should be interesting, given that I’m an atheist, but let’s give it a go. Anyway. Lauren wants to know…

  • Did your family attend services together?
  • Did you attend weekly, more than once a week, only on specific holidays, or some other designated time frame?
  • Was everyone of the same thought as to what faith to follow?
  • Did you have friends specifically from church/synagogue/ temple/ mosque, etc.?
  • Did your family practice religious ceremonies at home?
  • If you chose to depart from what your family believed (and feel like sharing) why did you do so?

I started to craft an answer to each of Lauren’s questions as asked, but then I decided that doing so didn’t really make a lot of sense for me, an atheist. Yes, I went to church (with my mother and my two older sisters), to synagogue (with my father), and to Sunday school as a kid. I appreciated all the great Bible stories, but I just couldn’t think of them as anything more that very imaginative and highly entertaining stories. They are great fiction. That did not please my parents at all, although by the time I was a teen they pretty much wrote me off as a lost cause when it came to embracing their faith.

I could not fathom how anybody could believe that what was written in the Bible — written by many different men hundreds of years after the virgin birth and crucifixion of the alleged son of God — as being the “gospel” truth of what actually took place 2,000 years ago. And the religious rituals seemed totally ridiculous to me.

The fact that Christians didn’t like me because I was half Jewish and Jews didn’t like me because I was half Christian didn’t help me embrace either religion. Organized religion seemed to foster divisions between people of different faiths, rather than attempt to bring us all together as human beings who theoretically prayed to the same God, only in different ways and in different languages. And even for those who shared the same overarching religious beliefs, many were designated as the “other” based which version of the Bible they read or on the color of their skins.

Yet for a long time I wanted to believe that, despite all that, some sort of god did exist. But then I thought about all the lives lost and the atrocities committed throughout human history in the name of God. I read about the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, the Holocaust. How many people were persecuted, hunted down, and murdered, not because they didn’t believe in and celebrate God, but because of the way they believed in and celebrated God? How could an all knowing, all powerful, ever present creator permit all of his children — supposedly created in his image — to behave in such a destructive manner?

I had my epiphany that God didn’t create humans in his image. Humans created God in their image. God became our answer to unanswerable questions, an explanation for the unknowable. That’s when I knew that God is a fiction.

And as we continue to destroy our planet, to fight wars, to judge and harm our fellow human beings based upon the color of their skin, their religious beliefs and practices, their gender, or the place of their birth, I am more convince than ever before that God is a contrivance designed to control the masses while the precious few gain immeasurable fortunes from the tithings of their flocks.

So when it comes to my personal perspective on Lauren’s question about the “impact of religion,” it’s very negative. But hey, that’s me. For those of you who are true believers in whatever god it is that you worship in whatever way you worship him (or her), well, all I have to say is “whatever floats your boat.” Just as long as you don’t try to sink my boat because it’s not the same as yours.

Sorry for this rather long and perhaps whiney rant.

12 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday — Religious Influences

  1. Paula Light March 18, 2022 / 6:22 am

    My experience wasn’t as negative as yours, but even so… yeah, it all seems like fiction created by people for their own ends. I see some good things in the values, but people actually have to live them. Love thy neighbor?! Good rant ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Terveen Gill March 18, 2022 / 7:11 am

    “Humans created God in their image. ” You are definitely right about this!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing March 18, 2022 / 8:12 am

    A well written post Fan. Yes humans created God in their own image. I’m with you all the way. Thankfully my family was non religious but they let me explore as a child. I got caught up in all props and costumes along with traditions. It wore off pretty quick as I had too many unanswered questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dharkanein March 18, 2022 / 9:13 am

    Loved the way you openly kept your points regarding religion and your belief system and end line was cherry on top. Your views match mine. Another Athiest from another part of the world. But Mt religion gives equal importance to the Atheism, too.

    Like

  5. Lauren March 18, 2022 / 9:14 am

    Thanks for joining in Fandango. Believe me, I understand and respect your viewpoint. I cannot understand the atrocities you mentioned either. I don’t dismiss them in any way. My convoluted thought process is that some higher power in the universe had an original plan (I don’t believe in original sin though) and man screwed it all up. I am grateful for the daily reminders of the gifts the universe has given us. I have no desire to have anyone tell me that my beliefs are any less valid than there’s. IMHO the religious books were written by many men as a way to pass down an oral history that would allow people to follow along with certain thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Marleen March 18, 2022 / 10:28 am

    I believe both, that there is “God” (only used with want of a better word) AND that man “creates” god/God/s for selfish purposes. This is a risky comparison, but it’s like the fact I exist but my mother can’t understand me and, I take it, doesn’t like me although she tries to hide it. I find out about ludicrous gossip she’s engaged in with other family members on the subject of me. {I’ll give an example. I went to Saint Louis and paid thousands of dollars she was supposed to pay for taxes where she lives [for a property my dad bought and she didn’t buy or pay for at all and while she wasn’t married to him or living with him as he bought and he never saw fit to put it in her name after he allowed her to move in with him later when she felt like it]. Despite the fact I made it possible for her to continue living there — rather than the county throwing her out for not paying — she lies about me [or is delusional such that she doesn’t know the truth]. Does that actually change who I really am? Yet, I have an aunt who my mother kept me largely away from all my youth [not for being immoral but for being a judgmental Catholic] who now listens to my mother’s slander and believes I want my mother out. I truly do not, but my aunt has let herself hear my mother’s ramblings such that it simply won’t sink in what I’m saying when I share what is happening in point of fact [so, after all, my aunt is immoral in that she is a gossip like my mother].} Meanwhile, I won’t go to church; I think the organizations are mostly shams. And I am sad that most people who go are taught politics that they have no skills to separate from faith.

    How could an all knowing, all powerful, ever present creator permit all of his children — supposedly created in his image — to behave in such a destructive manner?

    I had my epiphany that God didn’t create humans in his image. …..

    So you wouldn’t permit it… for a minute or day or generation (much less a few or bunch of those). It is a good question. (There is another good question: who are really the children?)

    I appreciated being able to read about your background. It’s good that you could put that forward. I somewhat identify with or can relate, obviously, to atheists for thinking things through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen March 19, 2022 / 10:13 am

      If my dad ever wanted to do something about faith at home, my mom made fun of him. We had no ceremonies or studies at home. Not even a prayer of grace at mealtime (except that our extended family enjoyed my dad doing the honors at regular holidays like Thanksgiving and even Independence Day). After his death, she converted to Catholicism but still doesn’t pray at mealtime or understand pretty much anything. Yet, she is the one who always wanted to attend (not Catholicism and he obliged); if only to find her new lust (and I’m being literal) while barring me from dating as anyone else would (like in accepting an invitation to a school dance). I have found it easy enough [although not having a congregation after my last move was a struggle] to depart from whatever she was supposedly about (hypocritical lukewarm judgmentalism), but also find it slightly angst worthy to have her claim Catholicism (when I had positive memories of a tradition my dad enjoyed on occasion as an adult even if he wasn’t a fanatic); it’s only somewhat or slightly painful, because I know the history over hundreds of years (established in the fourth century). But, from another direction, it’s very challenging… as people of faith hope that difficult people will eventually wisen up or wake up. Praying before or after eating wouldn’t fulfill this, but being honest and respectful and more consistent would.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nope, Not Pam March 19, 2022 / 3:11 am

    I believe there is some sort of overarching presence, but I don’t feel any need to give it a name. I think it’s there when you really need it, and until then you’ll put whatever you want in its place.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. leigha66 April 17, 2022 / 6:56 pm

    I grew up hearing about how my mom’s grandparents about went broke giving all of their money to the church and how awful organized religion is. I have a very personalized belief system in a higher power but can’t connect to any one “religion” – they can’t all be right with rules so different. I believe and worship in my own way… it is personal and just between me and my higher power. Religion… just a place of social gathering with rules applied that they only follow sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.