Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Second Hand Jesus and Sharks with freaking Laser Beams!!!
So another day is over and I actually have some time and energy to write out some thoughts at the end of a day for a change. I usually just blather on in the mornings about whatever random crap hits the back of my eyelids, but I came here tonight with an idea in mind, believe it or not! I want to write a few things about belief and faith, but not your usual 'christian' crap that seems to get shoveled around like a re-gifted Roomba at a white elephant party. There won't be any big theological words or deep concepts because I am pressing a bit back further than all the usual dogma and organized religion. I want to talk about the stuff that gets imprinted on us as kids by the adults on our lives, the social structures that reinforce them and the resulting fall out of growing up in this country living on borrowed beliefs and mortgaged second hand Jesus'. Plural Jesus? Jesi? Jesusses? Anyway, you get the point, so here we go.
So, as a kid, I went to Sunday School. I learned the little songs and verses. Jesus Loves Me, Father Abraham, Jesus Loves the Little Children...all of those. I am sure if you grew up in a somewhat religious home anywhere in the States, your experience may be the same. We looked at stories on flannel graph boards with cut out figures of men in dresses with towel on their heads (not to be confused with the men in dresses with towels on their heads who are trying to kill us now in the world?) and random fuzzy animals, all while listening to some well-meaning lady who felt compelled to help with the 'Kids Ministry' either due to the fact that she was single and her biological clock was ticking, or she felt obligated to do so, since she had spat out about 5 kids and everyone leaned on her and told her that it was her 'calling' and 'gift'. Since when was getting knocked up and having multiple kids a spiritual calling? Sorry...topic drift. Where were we? Yeah, Sunday School.
So there I am, little Daemon, learning all these stories from the Bible and not really having a mental and emotional filter in place to deal with them, or to even consider the fact that these people might have an ulterior motive for indoctrinating me in this belief system. God, Creation, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath...all the usual and palatable stories from their holy book that were fit to tell a kid, while reinforcing their morality and belief structure, thus ensuring the propagation of their religion, the financial success of their future and another number to be counted on their attendance rolls. I was a good little 'Christian' boy, I guess, and did all the usual things that good little boys do...and then some.
Dad and Mom and my siblings went to this church and we were a happy family. Service would find us all lined up in our pew, polished and spit shined and after we finally got out of the building there was restaurants to eat at and Sunday naps. Then there was Sunday night services, Wednesday night Services and all the other stuff that an active family does in their local church. My Dad was a pastor but also worked a full time engineering job and Mom worked as an executive in insurance, but she also worked at the church and school, as well. All these stories and songs were reinforced by 18 years of a religious private school and I learned early in life some simple things...well, not just learned...got them beaten into me from the time I was about 2-3 years old by parents, teachers, preachers...just about any adult authority figure in my life.
The first one I remember is..."Daemon, you are a sinner. A very bad and horrible person. The things you do make God very mad at you and the baby Jesus gets very sick when he thinks of you. Now, I realize I am being a little sarcastic, but this is what they teach kids. You are a bad person."
After that lesson comes this wonderful gem. "Daemon, since you are a bad, evil person...you are going to Hell. What is Hell you ask? It is where the Angry God and the Sick Baby Jesus send you, Daemon, to burn in flames of fire forever and ever and ever.What?! You don't want to burn in some fire forever and ever with mad God and Sick Baby Jesus hating you?
Well, I am so glad you are crying and emotionally traumatized, cause now I can tell you anything at all and you will believe me because I am the adult and you are the kid, thus ensuring the future of this organization and the greater chance of controlling you for most of your adult life. What I need you to do is close your eyes, fold your hands and talk to some one you cannot see to come down into your heart and save you. Now, I realize this is confusing, but this imaginary friend is actually the Sick Baby Jesus all grown up and come back from the dead like a Zombie, but he is also like a Vampire cause He wants you to drink His blood, but we will get to that later. That is where they pass around the crackers and grape juice and make people feel very guilty so that they will pledge to give more money to the corporation that owns this building.
But the Sick Baby Jesus is also Angry God's son and there is a Ghost Guy involved somewhere, but that is not important. What is really important is you talk out loud and then fill out this little card with all your information. Now you will get extra cookies and juice and we might parade you around like a little pony, but don't worry, the adults really dig this shit. Sorry, shouldn't have said shit in front of you, little Daemon. Forget that happened. Yay! You get to go to heaven now as soon as we do some other stuff..."
Now after all of that came years and years of the same indoctrination and programming. Dunking you in water, guilting you into volunteering for free labor...all kinds of activities that seemed perfectly normal to me at the time, because everyone I knew and my entire family was involved in this whole scheme. When everyone is crazy, no one can stand up and say that the Emperor has no clothes on. It was also very strange that though I could pray at home, I could only talk to Angry God at church if I went down front and filled out those note cards. Angry God must have a seriously extensive filing system!
See...we grow up in these systems of belief, or unbelief, and tend to base our love and loyalty to family units, friends and social groups based on these belief systems. They are deeply programmed into us as children and nothing, not even life experiences to the contrary, can truly remove their deep and hidden roots. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not attacking all religions or faith based organizations, but I am attacking most of them. They take impressionable kids and "for their own good" feed them whatever brand of propaganda their parents and groups subscribe to and turn out carbon copies of emotionally programmed people that are tied by their heart and balls to some system that eventually turns out to let them down and fall flat in the face of reality.
Many of them find their faith again later in life, but the trauma inflicted by these short lived and near sighted schemes is often horrific and brutal. The only way the system works is if you live in the 'bubble' the system has built and NEVER, EVER, EVER, step out of it! Not for school, not to make a friend, not to date, not even to talk to strangers, unless you are trying to get them to join the system. You also must keep coming back to the building several times a week to turn in your money and receive more guilt and programming. I know it makes you feel like shit and poor, but it really is good for you. We promise. Don't forget about Angry God and Sick Baby Jesus grown up to be a Zombie/Vampire!
"But here is the real deal. Jesus does NOT love the Little Children...and He really doesn't love you, Daemon. We forgot to mention that. Angry God and Sick Baby Jesus really, really hate Faggots and Homosexuals. Whatever you do...don't ever be a Sodomite or an Abomination. If you do...none of this Heaven stuff applies to you. You go directly to Hell. But don't worry about that right now...we know you aren't one of those sick, perverted, evil people...right?"
So what did I get stuck with for 18 years growing up? A strange system that enveloped my family and friends, controlled them in every area of their lives and always placed me in a place of condemnation, confusion and self hatred for being in love with and dating a boy. My parents loved Chris and I, but they kept attending these kind of places. I knew that something didn't add up...but what they had exposed me to and filled my heart and mind with as a child had scarred me in such deep ways that even I could not get over. God does hate me. Jesus is sickened by me. I am evil. I believe that in some place in my heart and soul even to this day. Even after finding my faith a few years ago and realizing God IS real and that there was truly hope for a person like me.
These beliefs they hand us, that they have handed you...are they yours? Do they work in real life? Do they bring you hope and comfort? Or are they just another second hand Jesus who hates your guts and can't wait to set you on fire?
PS: "Almost forgot to mention, little Daemon, along with their extensive filing system and water dunking tanks, Angry God, Sick Baby Jesus and the Ghost Guy are really, really bad with money. Like super bad. Like maxed credit cars and second mortgage bad...so please keep giving us all your money to give to them. If you don't they just might have to set all these people on fire, too. Yeah, these pictures of all the little black children in Africa and yellow kids in China. They really need your money, have we mentioned that? Money good! Fire Bad! Okthnksbai! :)"