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I Was Raised in Church Three Times a Week. To Me, Religion Is Nonsense.

Jason attended church 3 times a week from ages 0 to 21. Jason has attended church 0 times a week from ages 22 to 47. And he's good with that



My dad was a pastor of churches from the time I was a baby until I was in high school. I even attended another church three times a week after that, until the age of 21. I never thought to question any aspect of the things we were taught. I did, however, notice patterns of things I didn’t care for.

Hearing racial and homophobic slurs were somewhat commonplace in our household. Always under the guise of “Well, I’m just joking”, or “Don’t ever say that in front of anyone else.” It definitely felt like it contradicted the message of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and “Jesus is love.” Oh, and “Judge not lest ye be judged yourself.”

Sam Goody. Also known as “The Gates of Hell”. We weren’t allowed to go in here.

Sam Goody. Also known as “The Gates of Hell”. We weren’t allowed to go in here.

I can remember not being allowed to listen to music as a kid. When most of my friends were buying albums at Sam Goody and Musicland, we were stuck listening to church music or oldies.

I couldn’t quite figure out why it was bad to listen to the current music of the 80s and early 90s, but we could listen to the Beatles, Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, or Kenny Rogers if my parents were the ones playing those albums. I mean, what was the real difference? It seemed hypocritical, as time went on. I remember a pastor friend of my dad’s speaking from the pulpit and ripping on REO Speedwagon one Sunday. Seriously, what is wrong with REO SPEEDWAGON?

As a young adult I was heavily involved with the church we attended and assisted in the youth ministry. As time passed, it just seemed more and more fake. A younger girl flipped off my new girlfriend at the time, right in the middle of church, the first time she visited. Awesome first experience, right?

That same girlfriend later stood up to my father in front of our church’s youth pastor and his wife over Sunday dinner, when my father referred to gay people as “fags”. She told him that he wasn’t going to save anyone by calling them slurs. He told her to shut up and not lecture him in his house about how to save people. I jumped up and told him to go fuck himself in front of our youth pastor and his wife, who couldn’t believe what they were seeing and hearing at my folks’ dinner table. We stormed out and that was the official end of my church career. I was fine with it at that point, believe me.

Cue the banjo music.

Cue the banjo music.

As I attended college, I learned more and more about life. About acceptance. About marginalized people, and even about how religion has been used to justify segregation, hatred, war, and greed since the dawn of time.

I started becoming more and more a man of logic. Science I learned, was NOT my enemy. Not a lie from Satan to send us to Hell. And no, the Earth is not 2000–5000 years old, and created because God had Mexican food one night and farted us into existence.

As I aged into my 30s and 40s, I saw more and more how hypocritical and ridiculous most religious people tended to be. I remember hearing about how the pastor of the last church I attended regularly was caught having an affair with the church secretary. I’m sure it was a religious experience, but not the type most churchgoers would approve of.

This wasn’t the only infidelity that had been going on within that same church. At first, I was angry. How dare these people who judged me for leaving their hypocritical church and living with my girlfriend before we were married conduct themselves in this way?

Then I just laughed it off and pitied them. Just like people of all walks of life, religious or non-religious, we’re all flawed and make decisions that many would not approve of. That’s part of the human condition.

Stop expecting things from others and try accepting their differences.

Stop expecting things from others and try accepting their differences.

My wife is a Buddhist. She’s half Vietnamese and was raised in a non-Christian home. She’s a loving human and a well-respected therapist who helps people with their mental health struggles.

I can recall the 2nd Christmas we were together. She took the time and effort to have Christmas cards made for friends and family. It had a traditional Christmas message on the front and a Buddhist quote on the backside. My dad flipped a bitch-fit about it. “How DARE she send me a Buddhist card for Christmas!”, he whined like a little ho-ho-ho. No appreciation for being thought of, nothing about the traditional Christmas message. Just that. Well, a lump of coal it is.

When my daughter came out as a lesbian at age 13, I played over and over in my head how my father would react. I knew it was going to be shitty. I remember cutting the lawn on our acre and a half property, riding my lawnmower for hours, and thinking about all the things I’d say once I heard from him regarding the topic. Numerous times in the shower, I played out what I’d say to him when I told him. I even thought about punching him out if he ever said a negative thing about her to me in person, where my fists could reach his face.

And yes indeed, there was a negative comment. “I wish not to hear about that aspect of Avery’s life.” That was the single sentence I was given as an emailed response. How very Christ-like of him. We didn’t speak for close to a year after that.

With the rise of Donald Trump and the fanatical obsession over him among conservative Christians, I saw hypocrisy at a whole other level. The degree that people seemed to worship this morally bankrupt, ignorant, cruel coward almost fascinated me as much as it disgusted me.

For a group of people who claim to not want to be controlled, Trump and Fox News have REALLY done a number on them. Most of his followers believe in the Ten Commandments and other aspects of the Bible. Yet they think that THIS is the man that God has chosen to lead our world. I have to question their commitment to the teachings of Jesus Christ and to Christianity in general.

You’re wasting your time every Sunday if you’re not being a good human toward all.

You’re wasting your time every Sunday if you’re not being a good human toward all.

I’ve come to realize that claiming to be a Christian means just about nothing. Claiming to be ANY religion means zero if you don’t have a good heart, an outlook that favors acceptance and equality, and do things to help people and better humanity. Religious fanatics of all makes and models kill in the name of their bullshit religion daily, all over our planet. And for what? To be RIGHT? Because they disagree with YOUR personal choice about religion?

How realistic is it that YOUR one god, is the only legitimate god out of thousands that have existed over the millions of years this planet has existed? And this whole almighty, omnipotent deity idea baffles me. If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, and able to do ANYTHING, why do we still have wars being waged? Why do people and especially children die of cancer by the thousands, daily? Why are men, women, children, and animals tortured, beaten, and murdered constantly?

Don’t tell me it’s “God’s Will”, or part of a bigger plan. Why would a wonderful, loving god WANT people to die cruel, miserable deaths if he truly has the power to end this suffering? How does that make us closer to him? Are we supposed to love him because we fear him? That sounds like an abusive relationship if you ask me. If thousands of people are dying daily from cancer, abuse, torture, or anything else horrific, I feel that either your god of choice CAN’T stop this suffering or worse yet, chooses NOT to. And I want no part of either.

You can tell me I’m lost because I feel this way. I’m sure some of you reading this think I’m going to burn in Hell because of my beliefs regarding religion, or lack thereof. I truly could not care less. Hell is what we’re all living through here on Earth, in 2022, not some imaginary place we’ve been taught exists as a way to control us. The way most people treat their neighbors, coworkers, and even family is not loving, much of the time.

This is truly my family’s mantra. If you’re a good human, we have your back.

This is truly my family’s mantra. If you’re a good human, we have your back.

My gay daughter, my Buddhist wife, my Buddhist step-daughter, and I are good humans. We stand up for the marginalized people of the world. We fight for equality. We help people in need. We have good manners and are empathetic toward all good, decent humans. We love animals and wish good things for our planet. We believe in science and choose to be vaccinated to protect ourselves and other members of our community. We refuse to live horrible, judgmental lives while being controlled by religion and refuse to be hypocrites.

For the religious people out there who actually are wonderful humans who help others, this isn’t about you. I very much admire those who walk the walk, as it pertains to their religious beliefs. I’m happy that you have a religion that brings you peace, helps you treat others better, and makes you comfortable with the idea of a life after death. This is 100% for those who are terrible, racist, bigoted, selfish, judgmental, abusive humans who are hiding under the hypocritical guise of being “Good Christian Folk”. And please don’t tell me “You’ll pray for me”. Pray for YOU. You need it more.

Read and re-read that book you put so much stock in. Support people of all walks of life. If a family member’s religion differs from yours, try asking about it and learning something. If your neighbor loves someone of a different gender, respect that and be happy they have love in their lives. If your friend votes for candidates who promote equality, social justice, and programs that help the least of us in society, applaud that and consider a different viewpoint. Jesus is one of the most famous socialists of all time. Recall that time he fed 5000 hungry people with two loaves of bread and 5 fish. I doubt he required a drug test in order for anyone to get a free meal. He wasn’t checking IDs to see if you were a card-carrying Republican or a member of the NRA. Be Christ-like if you’re going to preach religion to the rest of us.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.