Looking back at my childhood experiences with religion it is a wonder I’m not either the founder of a super cult or a hard core atheist. Between the things that happened at home and the world around me if I hadn’t had good experiences with Christianity, I might be tucked away in a cave muttering over the psychological damage.
Sure, many faiths are perfectly harmless on their own with good core values very similar to each other. However, I must have been at the nexus of things gone horribly odd because there were times even the great prophets couldn’t have found a way to apply the lessons to daily life. The Spanish Inquisition would have not been able to find a torture to root this stuff out.
I mind as well get the inevitable angry looks and the “well I nevers” out of the way now so I’ll start with my darling mother. Every now and again you can find someone to say her efforts to keep me out of trouble weren’t in vain, but when it came to using the messiah outside of the house of the almighty, she had some particularly creative methods.
My favorite and most confusing of all of these forays into the secular world involved her yelling without volume control the phrase “Pull out and meet Jesus” each time someone cut her off in traffic. These days I realize it’s a funny expression that avoids using curse words toward road hogs, but as a child I wondered if the lord of lords really was going to start preaching right in the middle of Indiana Avenue. Then again, as often as she used that phrase he might as well have been ready to return to earth riding shotgun to the grocery store.
Another thing that always confused me in my journey to adulthood was why so many denominations put it upon themselves to have radically different doctrines. I totally support Moses and his “Thou Shall Not” campaign and a few other basics, but all this splitting of members over petty disagreements made me wonder if people were trusting more in their arguments than the teacher.
Congregations have divided over reasons from who to allow to worship to whether or not to use instruments with songs and all the while I’m thinking no wonder the constitution has the whole church/state separation. If I were the founding fathers I would have put that sucker in much sooner so I’d have a break from the avalanche to come. You don’t have to preach from the campaign trail to show how important salvation is in your life.
Finally, the thing that I always had the most difficult time believing was that there can be no possible interactions between different types of faith. It seems that we are all so set in the idea of “my faith is the only true faith” that we close off any possibility of learning something from others.
Though both Christians and Muslims share quite a bit of history and presumably the belief in one creator, it’s just darn near heresy for some people to consider that the man upstairs could be the same one in both. Instead of trying to look past these differences and let go of the fact that not everyone in the opposite faith is out to wipe the other off the face of the earth, we dwell on a misguided fear. “There’s no way heaven can be open to someone who is different from who I am so I’m just going to throw my own parties where they aren’t invited and look menacing until they admit they are wrong.”