We’re Not Haters. Really.

Posted by on January 8, 2009

We’re really not God haters or anything but I do have some issues with organized religion. To clarify, I’m not an atheist but I feel the institutions that commonly interpret and dispense the big guy’s “word” are so flawed that I just cannot, in good conscience, sit in a church and pretend like I’m down with it.

That said, I have tried to impart my own theological and religious philosophies to my daughter while elucidating what it is I cannot abide with organized religions.

Today at the bookstore, she picked out a calendar for herself that was filled with cute pictures of puppies and kitties and I noticed when we got home that each image had some Bible scripture featured on it.

I didn’t say anything about it but later she notices them, too, and starts reading them aloud and kind of musing over each one; deeming them as either making sense or not making sense—remember, she’s eight.

A few minutes later, an ant crawled across her calendar and she says loudly, “You better get outta here, bug, or the Lord’s gonna eat ya!”

I still don’t know the impetus for that statement but I laughed.  A lot.

Good thing I don’t believe in hell :)

——

Edited to Add:

Just some further clarification…

Church is great for those that dig it but I’m just one of them—I just can’t go along with people interpreting the word of God to suit their agendas and the agendas of their institution.

I mean come on…does God REALLY hate homosexuals?

Does God REALLY think women are not equal to men? That a woman should be subservient to her husband?

Does God REALLY believe man has dominion over the earth and thus we can treat it and all it’s non-human inhabitants however we wish?

The hypocrisy. The judgment. The groupthink… I just can’t do it.

I feel strongly that I can partake in everything God has to offer without ever again setting foot in an institution of organized religion. That is all :)


56 Comments

  • PunditMom says:

    OMG! Sorry, I laughed, too! I’m on the same page — not much use for organized religion, but I do find it interesting to see how kids take it all in and process it.

  • spiritual man says:

    Would Jesus drive a Mercedes and wear diamond rings? My grandfather left these wise words. “Just remember son while your out working the preacher is probably visiting your wife.”

  • WaltzInExile says:

    Way to warn us ahead of time that laughing = hell, Janet.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    I wish the Lord ate ants. I would have invited Him to my house this summer.

    I’m with you and I live in the Bible Belt. Imagine how popular I am here.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    I wish the Lord ate ants. I would have invited Him to my house this summer.

    I’m with you and I live in the Bible Belt. Imagine how popular I am here.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    I wish the Lord ate ants. I would have invited Him to my house this summer.

    I’m with you and I live in the Bible Belt. Imagine how popular I am here.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    I wish the Lord ate ants. I would have invited Him to my house this summer.

    I’m with you and I live in the Bible Belt. Imagine how popular I am here.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    Oh and those damn sneaky calendars luring you in with cute puppies and kittens! That’s worse than the fake $100 bills preaching hellfire and brimstone my kids get on Halloween. We always forget to avoid that house.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    Oh and those damn sneaky calendars luring you in with cute puppies and kittens! That’s worse than the fake $100 bills preaching hellfire and brimstone my kids get on Halloween. We always forget to avoid that house.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    Oh and those damn sneaky calendars luring you in with cute puppies and kittens! That’s worse than the fake $100 bills preaching hellfire and brimstone my kids get on Halloween. We always forget to avoid that house.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    Oh and those damn sneaky calendars luring you in with cute puppies and kittens! That’s worse than the fake $100 bills preaching hellfire and brimstone my kids get on Halloween. We always forget to avoid that house.

  • ha ha. that rocks.

    and I am totally with you on organized religion.

  • verybadcat says:

    If you go to hell, save me a seat in the “foul mouthed heathen section”? :)

  • Mirinda says:

    I believe in a personal relationship with God and belief in His son is what gets ya to heaven. Not going to church. I miss church on a regular basis! :) It seems to be a widely held belief that Christians think you will burn if you aren’t in church every time the doors open. And I know folks who do believe this! But it’s just not so.

    You stated “To clarify, I’m not an atheist but I feel the institutions that commonly interpret and dispense the big guy’s “word” are so flawed that I just cannot, in good conscience, sit in a church and pretend like I’m down with it.”

    It’s funny because I spent an hour in a discussion this morning where the woman was talking about this. How the majority of people and the majority of their knowledge of God is all secondhand. About how it’s our responsibility to stop settling for information that is probably flawed and pursue Him and His word to find out who He really is and what He really has to say. It’s easy to be bitter and angry (not saying you are) towards “religion” when we don’t believe what they are saying and realize how sinful and human they are. Like the comment about the preacher visiting your wife, above.

    That’s the wonderful thing, you know? I was so bitter about the hypocrites in church years ago, I never wanted to go back and didn’t for a long time. It took realizing we are ALL hypocrites. Telling you or anyone about Jesus and that he’s the only way to the Father while I’m still a sinner just makes the point. His mercy. His grace. Being in a group of like-minded believers does not make- or should not make- us feel superior to others. Yet it does happen and unfortunately it gives Christians- not so much other religions!- a bad rap.

    Didn’t mean to get so long-winded :) Like your new blog, I just changed, too! Different seasons call for different things in life! And my daughter got that same calendar for Christmas. And I very much believe in hell. :)

  • I’m not atheist or agnostic, nor am I a lover of organized religion. But I do believe there’s a God, so I guess that makes me a deist? I don’t know. I do know that most of the Bible makes my teeth itch but there is some scripture I find beautiful, but like poetry or meditations. As for the calendar, that would bug me. I would feel like I was preached to, but with puppies and kitties bearing witness. Ugh.

  • I used to think I have a problem with organized religion, but I came to realize I have an issue with theology. Big diff. (Truly. It’s not the people. It’s their inane beliefs.) I, too, live in the Bible Belt, so by local standards I’m an atheist. (Not true, but nobody around here but me cares about the nuances.)

    I’m still trying to find the Church of the Expansive God. He’s a pretty little guy ’round these parts (and, of course, “he’s” a guy). I like to think God, the concept, is bigger than we give it credit for.

  • Amy Nathan says:

    ok, this is totally un-cool, but i tried to DM you on twitter and couldn’t. when you get a chance would you email me? :)

  • Brooke says:

    I believe in God. I believe in God because I see small miracles around me every day. I watch my kids grow and learn before my eyes and have no other explanation for it – there has to be a God.

    Other than that, I don’t know what I believe. My husband and I have been looking for a church for years without any luck because we have what is apparently an unheard of rule – any church that we decide to visit regularly needs to be diverse. We’re an interracial family… I don’t want to go to a “black” church or a “white” church. If my kids are raised in church, I want them to see that Christian congregations truly do love each other and it isn’t just words. So far we haven’t found one that proves my theory.

    So in that respect, I understand what you mean about organized religion. But I hold out hope that we’ll find one that’s right for us.

  • Suebob says:

    I believe in disorganized religion, myself, which is why I belong to a Unity church. We’re not so much on the dogma.

    I think your girl got it about right. Watch out, or our loving God is going to punish you and hurt you for eternity. Makes perfect sense NOT.

  • spiritual man says:

    Dear Mirinda

    The point I was making is. Stating belief a thousand times does not equal one deed. While one man (preacher) is passing the collection plate the other man (my grandpa) is out working for better things. ect…

    It is not meant literally

  • Mia says:

    That’s too funny!

  • Miss Britt says:

    “You better get outta here, bug, or the Lord’s gonna eat ya!””

    I think that’s from Matthew.

    Or maybe Adam Sandler’s Lunchlady Land.

    One of those.

  • patois says:

    That’s the kid of stuff my kids say as well, and they’re hearty church-goers. Of course, we are Episcopalians. (Which I can almost never spell correctly.)

  • Jennifer says:

    Mayberry Magpie and I had an email conversation about this very thing this week after I mentioned my struggles with organized religion on my blog.
    How awesome if we could all get together at the same church? Now that would be some congregation! Thoughtful, open, diverse, progressive. Inspirational!

    PS ~ To bad about the ant situation.

  • SciFi Dad says:

    I’m more of an agnostic myself, which means that while I don’t expect the Lord to come down and eat an ant, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn He did such a thing.

    (Oh, and ant control – not killing, just controlling locations and entrypoints – can be accomplished with cinnamon. Seriously. Just put it where you see them congregating (between the exit and where you DON’T want them) and they’ll stay put.)

  • Isn’t that why most religons fear God? The eating?

  • Mrs. Flinger says:

    Being as I’m in the same “not really religious, you go do your thang Sunday morning” boat, I laughed, too. And I totally AM going to hell. But mostly for the making fun of midgets, not eating ants.

  • @Apryls Antics Do you seriously get $100 bills preaching hellfire and brimstone in your kid’s candy bags? That’s whacked.

  • Scott says:

    Hello, Janet! I see you’ve already begun posting, in your new blog, and I applaud you for that!

    Incidentally, your spiritual beliefs seem similar to mine. The following is my creed:

    God is not limited to one system of beliefs; God’s Word is not limited to one form of communication. God is beyond anything we humans can imagine, classify, or manipulate. In attempting to limit God, we only limit ourselves.

    And, in my opinion, all established, organized religions (including Christianity) attempt to limit God.

  • I still remember when you told me your real name. Right after you shared your mojito with me. :)

    I’m atheist, and I’m not a hater – of any deity or religion. I do have great animosity toward those who use a deity or religious beliefs as justification for harming themselves or others. And I have no tolerance for those who insist that I cannot possibly have personal morals without subjecting myself to religious-based ethics.

  • Dana says:

    Oh my gosh! That is hysterical. Maybe because I just came home from church. She’s adorable. :)

  • too funny! my grandmother (who speaks in tongues) once told my cousin that the devil pushes people down stairs and hides in closets. it’s no wonder i’m an atheist.

  • Sarah says:

    When I read these comments I tend to think what is point in saying anything about what I believe. Even in my church people can hold varying opinions and beliefs about God.

    I figure if I leave church w/ a little inkling that maybe just maybe my sins are forgiven, there is more to life than potty training and I was able to sit quietly and think about how someone loves me no matter what I do…that ain’t so bad.

  • I tend to agree with you.

    I do feel their is some kind of high power in this universe but I just don’t feel it in church.

  • kittenpie says:

    there is most certainly lots of room for and history of abusing the power of the bible for one’s own purposes in any setting, as it can be interpreted to support pretty much any viewpoint you hold. But then, it can also be interpreted to be very accepting and liberal, too.

    Personally, I was raised without religion, so I see the bible as a document written down by men, and it is well-known that it has been tweaked, translated badly, and handed down over the past milennia, so the fact that anyone can see it as being literally the word of God in the state we read it amazes me. Instead, I see it as something people can use to guide and inform them if they so choose.

    I do think religion has done good things, as well, so I have some respect for it in that way, and it takes some dedication to get up and go to church every Sunday morning instead of sleeping in or making pancakes, so I have respect for that as well, if it is what people want to do, especially in these increasingly secular times when it is less popular and people tend to look at church-goers like they are some crazy bible thumpers.

    But in the end, yes, I have issues with many organized religious groups except the most liberal (ie. I haven’t heard anythng bad about United, but then I haven’t looked), which many people see as so watered down as to be barely religious.

  • Hannah says:

    Hi,
    I agree completely! Organized religion is overrated in often times ridiculous! :)

  • Hannah says:

    ..AND often times ridiculous! Sorry type-o.! :P

  • Christina says:

    When I was a child, I asked my mom why she didn’t go to church. She told me, “Well, if there is a god, then I think I have a better chance of finding him or her on a walk in the woods than I am in a stuffy brick box of a church. If you created all that beauty, wouldn’t you want to be out enjoying it?”

    I tend to agree with her.

  • Musing says:

    I was born Southern Baptist, raised with a touch of Pentecostalism, spent a decade or so as a Reformed Christian then in my late thirties re-examined everything I ever believed and ended up a spiritual agnostic.

    All that to say that, yep, I agree with you. :)

  • Robyn says:

    Late to this party, new to your blog, and all the commenters have pretty much said, “I agree!” in all the clever ways, leaving none for me. Boo.

    So, yeah. I agree.

  • Amanda says:

    Personally, I want NO part in organized religion so I agree with you. I also do not believe in the Bible. I do believe in intelligent design however. I’m so glad I came across this post and see that there are others that feel the way we do.

  • erin says:

    i feel like i just walked in on the best conversation ever. it’s just so comforting to be among others who think for themselves.
    i’ll be friends with you and the others on here:) i’m new to this blog, but won’t be a stranger.

    erin’s last blog post..DURTBAGZ.COM BLOG: The Funny Bag and T-Shirt Company

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    lol…it took me a minute to get that!

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    My thoughts exactly.

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    Unfortunately not—and he’s missing out on quite a meal because we’re overrun with the little bastards!

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    I know, right?

  • Mirinda says:

    @Brooke, I wish you lived near me :) Our church has many different races that attend, multi-racial couples/families, etc….so hold on to hope, they are out there my dear!

  • Mirinda says:

    @spiritual man, Gotcha :)

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    lolololololol…You’re right. It’s definitely the eating.

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    I only wish it were that simple but they appear to be coming out of a wall between the kitchen and bathroom. We find them in both rooms and sometimes we think they’re gone and then they come back. It’s infuriating. I know an exterminator could easily solve this problem but the idea of having pesticides sprayed in my walls is just… I’d almost rather have ants.

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    We’ve got box seats. Please join us!

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    I dunno, I guess if you wanted other people to know how you feel, that would be the point of sharing it and of course, nobody is required. Religion is very personal to some people and I respect that.

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    And I have no tolerance for those who insist that I cannot possibly have personal morals without subjecting myself to religious-based ethics.

    Totally.

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    That is exactly how I feel.

  • The Caffeinatrix says:

    Nobody is more surprised than me how many like-minded people there are out there. I’m used to being “the heathen” everywhere I go!

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