The Limiting Factor of Humankind - The Mind

November 11, 2009
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“I’m sorry Mom, but I don’t believe in organized religion anymore,” I said equably.

“What? So now you’re not a believer? You don’t believe in God?” she spread her hands before her.

“I do believe in God. I just don’t believe in organized religion,” I replied calmly.

“So you’ve been Catholic your entire life, and now you’re just going to switch over to atheism.” She stared at me like I was a bug on her shoe.

“I am not an atheist, but I refuse to go to church with you today.” Mom left for church angrily. I think she is probably sitting in a pew with my father, fuming about her recalcitrant daughter.

I know this is not the way to spend worshipping God. People, not just my mom, who devote their life to religious faith still spend their lives living in fear and turmoil. I remember once when I asked about my mother’s grandparents. She laughed when she said her grandma Eliza bragged that she never missed church a week in her entire life. Yet Eliza would always complain about the negroes moving in down the street.

Have you ever heard of Jonathan Edwards? During the Great Awakening in America, a time of religious revival, he gave a speech entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” I had to read this speech in English class. I can honestly say that nothing disgusts me more than people who rile others up using violence, fear, and emotion in order to make them believe their words. I ended the speech feeling that I was destined to go to Hell.

A few months later in English class I read some works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He spoke of being “part or parcel of God.” He philosophized, basically, that people see something of themselves in nature. Therefore, each individual becomes universal. To these philosophies I felt a great awakening inside myself. While my parents were at church brooding about the faults in their lives and mine, I went to the woods and meditated. Soon I was both a part of myself and a part of everything. Only then did I feel closest to God.

Emerson said in one essay, “whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.” I feel that I’ve finally awakened to the possibilities of everything I’ve not thought possible before.

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matt7 said...
Jul. 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I'm a Christian, I dont live in fear and turmoil. And about the comment of supposed irony, it only goes to show that Christians are sinners too (any Christian who claims they are better than a non Christian is a hypocrite).

If anything is turmoil:

Born from nothing, die to nothing; have a nice day anyway... (atheism)

For the sake of intrest, where does wickedness play in the pantheistic (all is one with God)) belief system?

caitlin.calamity said...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm
I would love to give you a hug for this.
Hanna C. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 5:41 pm
I absolutely respect your opinion, and I think you've made some beautiful points, but I have to disagree. I think most of the problems people have with organized religion have more to do with the hypocrites who follow it than the religion itself. I highly doubt God would agree with Johnathan Edwards; God's goal is to save humanity, not to condemn it! Edwards didn't realize, and some people still don't realize, that God understands and God forgives.
I found it a bit off... (more »)
Sar27 replied...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 9:57 pm
Dear Hanna, thank you for your comment! I respect and agree with your words. This essay, I believe, was exploring the far reaching thoughts I have. Everyday I think, I feel a little bit different about it than the day before. I am writing in order to find my way perhaps! Thanatopsis is great. In fact it moved me so much I wrote a poem about it after reading it!
**alwaysbeme** replied...
Nov. 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm
i happen to like religion though i do not agree with most of what people say about it the religion i am in helps me to see that ,as hanna said god does want everyone to repent and that your life will be a lot better when it is based on the bible.
what you wrote about though is how a lot of people do feel and it got that idea accross well
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