First things first: happy belated Valentine’s Day, y’all! I ate smoked alligator sausage for dinner tonight. Look at that, I’m still in the South.
This post deals with my reflections on religion as a whole and how stupid I think some people, who are usually college students, are.
I do not identify as a Christian, an atheist, an agnostic, a Jew, or a Taylorswiftarian. Although many people have thought me to self identify as any of these, I’m not sure that any of them are quite right. I have a gazillion different opinions about religion, and I think my views on religion come from the stance of an observer than that of a participant. I like to think about religion. I like to participate from time to time, but in the role of a guest. Every now and then I think Buddhists are the only people who know what they’re talking about, but just because I’ll read anything by Thich Nhat Han does not mean I’m ready to switch my religious views on Facebook just yet.
I think some might expect me to start on a rant now about nut cases like the Westboro Baptist Church or anyone who wants to throw bibles at the private parts of homosexuals. Those people are easy targets and you can watch me push their buttons quite frequently on Facebook, so we won’t bother them today.
My main concern is the portion of the population, who are usually my age, who thinks all religion is stupid. These people, I think, are not so smart. Well, they’re at least not able to digest some greater concepts at play when it comes to participation in religious activities.
Again, I am not a Christian or even a religionian (just roll with me here). I frequently joke that I might be an Episcopalian but not a Christian, to which my priest of a mother always responds: “it’s ok, we have plenty of room for non-Christians in the Episcopal church.”
Now before I get much further: yes, I’m the daughter of a priest. A female priest. She is not a priestess. You needn’t refer to her as a minister or pastor either. Though these titles aren’t necessarily wrong…she’s a priest. Just like Father John down at the Catholic church which your grandparents attend. You may call her Mother Kelli Grace, Mother KG, or Mother Momma if you are one of her offspring.
If you still don’t get it: just pretend my dad is a priest. There, do you get it?
A lot of my views have stemmed from the observation of my mom doing what she does best: priesting. She is quite good at what she does, and she has read hundreds of pieces of literature on religion. She knows her stuff, she’s educated, and she’s well-versed (pun ENTIRELY intended). Unlike what many think of most priests, she has a Master’s degree, and yes, it is in Theology. Ok, now that that’s out of the way…
I think that many people’s problem with Christianity stems from their lack of knowledge about it. I want to baby shake people who differentiate between “Catholic” and “Christian.” I want to throw small objects at people who think Catholics pray directly to Mary. I want to slap these people just as much as I want to slap people who blindly accept a faith just because it was their parents’. Both types of person, in my opinion, know very little about religion and are a bad face for those that do.
Episcopalians, for example, don’t really know a lot. But we generally know that we don’t know, which means we actually know a whole lot. I think there are probably lots of denominations or at least schools of thought within most denominations that share this philosophy, which is cool. Many people assume all Christians interpret the bible literally but pick and choose what they want to believe and are stupid because of that. Which is simply not the case.
Usually, we (we=average Americans) are raised going to church at least a few times every year, if not every Sunday. By the time we’re 17 we’ve pretty much decided that it’s not for us. By the time we start having families, we go back and stay there forever. That gap that takes place between 17 and 27 is characteristic of our age: questioning authority and being independent and all that jazz. Does no person in this age range stop and think that by defying tradition, they are carrying on tradition? Do all early twenty-somethings really think that the other 70% of the population really doesn’t know anything?
I have been told by people who I think are very smart the following incredibly narrow-minded statement: “as science progresses, religion regresses.” People like this have a very, very narrow view of what religion actually is. People who believe this are people who are probably quite smart, but who just don’t get it.
I have been told that my mom seems like an incredibly sane, intelligent person, and it makes absolutely no sense that she is a pastor. Then I correct them and say she’s a priest, then I slap them. Of course my mom is intelligent. She has a Master’s degree in this shit. She has read more books on this subject than you probably think are capable of being written on any one subject. Mother Momma is so smart and well-versed in this topic that she can probably tell you exactly why you think religious people aren’t smart, which is the really mind-blowing thing.
I think that the ability to think critically about a religion and then still decide to follow that religion is probably a sign of intelligence, if anything. It shows that you have studied it, inside and out, and that you are capable of understanding ginormously abstract concepts and want to figure out more. It’s also a sign that you want to be a better member of society. It’s also a sign that you have the ability to commit to something. When you think about it…what does not participating in religion prove? If anything, it proves that you’re probably between the ages of 17 and 27.
I have been living in the South for three weeks now. I have met dozens of religious people. I have been to church twice, bible study once, and have made plans to attend several other churches. Again, I don’t even consider myself a Christian…but, here I am. Do you know how interesting the book of Daniel is? Do you even know the context of it? If the answer is no, ask my mom if she’ll loan you a book on it.
Several of my housemates back in Potsdam have mentioned going to church sometime just for the novelty of it. They don’t care which denomonation and they don’t care to ever go twice. They just want to go to church just because it’s an adventure. I think this is stupid (sorry guys, but it is). Why would you do that? At the age of 20, you want to go to a place of worship just for funsies? It’s an insult to the people who go there. You’ll probably make fun of them when they ask you if you would be interested in their young adult program, which isn’t cool. Go bowling or something instead.
My final thought on this? Religious people are smart, too. I know plenty of priests (and bishops!) with Master’s degrees as well as doctorates. If someone wants to dismiss Father John at All Saints Riverside as an unintelligent person because he’s a priest, regardless of the fact that he has a doctorate or that he’s a lot older them and is probably way more experienced in life than they are, then I say poo poo. You, ignorant one, are not worth an invitation to bible study next week. I haven’t prayed in years, but I still want to know what happens next in the book of Daniel.