Church vs. Religion

First, I must begin by saying religion is not bad until it begins turning people against each other. When priests or pastors start sermonizing about whether abortion or atheism or homosexuality is good or bad, it is time to leave and not come back. Some people need religion as a moral or social guidepost. Different people need different kinds of religions to answer different kinds of questions or to live closer to the lifestyle they feel most comfortable with. This is something that disturbs me greatly about religions currently (with exception to the Quran, which supposedly does state to attack anyone who does not believe in Allah… can someone verify that?), is their lack of tolerance and understanding. These qualities are what everyone needs, a good moral path and acceptance among peers, not a political agenda.

This is definitely one of my biggest frustrations with churches. People are beginning to take sides on political issues (I blame Bush for unabashedly pulling religion into everything he does for the most part, making it seem all right to do so), and in doing so they turn this church against another church or against a group of people who are and will always be people whether you agree or disagree with their practices. I mean, seriously, how does it affect you if someone is homosexual or needs an abortion? Are you affected in any way? Isn't it her decision whether she can handle it or not, and isn't it her own conscience if she does? Sure, she needs really good counseling, but not one way or the other. It's as if we are throwing stones at a beggar because they couldn't help but be a beggar. Start listening to their stories, and you will see they are every just as good as you but just got caught in a horrible situation. Start having tolerance, and you start seeing they are still people. Isn't this what Christian religions should be teaching?? Isn't this what most religions teach??

Churches now. First, Kansas has more churches than gas stations. Drive down a road and you'll see one or two churches before seeing a gas station. It's wonderful that people celebrate their belief system so much here, but at the same time, it's stifling and just bad in general. They build these huge buildings that could house an entire African village or college, and it requires a lot of energy and resources to run. Not only are they eye sores, but they are a constant reminder that I don't belong here because I don't believe the same things. And, to be honest, people give me dirty looks for being so universal in my acceptance of all people, and of my almost fear of churches because of their negative affects on society today. Mostly, I am annoyed people put their private investments in these huge buildings that require so much energy to run rather than rallying for better public transportation, or better environmental care and preservation, or just for charity!! For heaven's sake, why build a third church on the block instead of sending that million off to Darfur?? Hypocritical, that is how I see it. The donations plate is just selfish, to keep that huge church going because it is too expensive to run itself. In my honest opinion, a large gaudy building is not necessary to celebrate faith. The real church is inside of you, and a part of you. There is nothing holier about bricks and mud than what you yourself possess and show in your own actions.

I understand church as a place for socializing, however. If all we do is grow our faith in ourselves, how do we meet new people? I think we need to stop relying on churches for socializing, where everyone has likemindedness, and start speaking to others who have different views, views they find that suit their life better than our own. Challenge what we believe, and have intelligent discussions rather than oust them for obviously being ignorant of the way of the Lord and Savior. Why can't we build commons, social places for people of all types and beliefs to meet for tea or coffee, to experience a wide array of cultures through food, music, and conversation? Religion and politics (aka the state) do not get along, not in a nation that is a mixing pot of cultures.

For the most part, I believe people who are against abortion or stem cell work (I was disgusted by those who criticized Michael J. Fox for his commercial; it is terrible to see such a beloved celebrity suffering so much and instead of hiding away from the world, sending out a plea so others need not suffer like him), do not think it will ever affect or happen to them. People have a tendency to need to experience before they realize just how useful or important it may be. Bad things may never fall on you (and that there is near impossible), but bad times do fall on other people. Do not criticize them for hoping, hoping for a cure for a disease or illness. That is plain rude to the nth degree. Where is our tolerance? Where is our understanding? Aren't we better than our 16th century counterparts? Burning and torturing women such as Joan of Arc?? For heaven's sake, show some compassion.

This is why I fear churches, and why I feel I will never really belong here.