"When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
Then I realised God doesn’t work that way,
so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness."
- Emo Philips
This made me laugh.
It reminded me of one of the fallacies I would always question when I was a Christian; if we are guaranteed instant forgiveness upon asking, then why bother being good?
It somehow reminds me of my father.
My father used to have a serious drinking problem. He would drink and drink and drink until it was 4 in the morning, and he couldn't even stand. I would wake up the next morning, and he would be out on the porch at 9 am, in the bright sun, reading the paper. I have never seen my father with a hang-over. I doubt he's ever had one. And so he never learned, and would drink again the next night. Hangover's are God/Universe/Nature's way of saying, "Idiot. Try some self-discipline next time." Suffering exists for a reason; we learn from it. He never suffered, so he never learned. (Okay, he eventually learned)
I was raised Christian.
I never fit in too well. I got in trouble with my youth group a lot. I brought a lesbian to church once (she wasn't well received). I read "The DaVinci Code" on a bible retreat (one lady told me I was poisoning my mind with the Devil's work). I asked all the wrong questions that made leaders shift uncomfortably and change the subject. I argued when a youth group leader told me and several other young girls that the bible gives husbands a right to beat their wives while the other girls around me stood quietly, accepting their possible fate. I advocated (and still do) gay rights, bisexual rights, transgendered rights, women's rights, comprehensive sex education, cultural understanding/awareness, and freedom for others to express their religion peacefully.
I didn't fit in too well.
Needless to say, I am no longer Christian.
I will admit, I do carry a certain amount of pride that I was able to walk away from the Christian church without any grudges, spite, or hate. Really. It just didn't work for me, so I left in search of something else, which eventually became Buddhism. I met a lot of good Christians who actually take to heart Jesus's teachings of love and forgiveness. It works for them, and I will not judge them negatively because of it. And knowing that there are good natured Christians in the world helps me deal with the ones who preach hate and intolerance. Some people had such a bad experience with the church that they get together with other anti-Christians just to bitch and moan, spreading the false belief that all Christians are intolerant, all Christians are rude, all Christians are hateful.
And that just gets us nowhere.
"There are angels and assholes in every religion."
This is something I encourage fellow Buddhists, as well as anyone else who stumbles upon this blog, to remember. Especially in this election season, when it seems like the angels fade away as the assholes come out of the woodwork and turn on their microphones, preaching their agenda of intolerance. Don't let them get to you too much. If you do, then they're already winning. Just remember, for every loud and belligerant asshole, there are a dozen quiet angels of every belief, who live around us and are helping their neighbors, being thankful for what they have, volunteering for a good cause, humbly making a difference, and smiling kindly, even on the rainy days.
quote found at: http://www.banksy.co.uk/manifesto/
30 minutes ago