Having grown up Catholic for most of my life has enabled me to understand the importance of having a religion. Sure I was brought up Catholic; I was Baptized, Confirmed, and I went through First Communion, but I haven’t been to church for years. And since then I’ve slowly adopted Buddhism as my choice of religious beliefs. I now feel comfortable about my life and where I want it to go.
My parents, who are still Catholic, convinced me to go to church on Christmas this year. It was the first time since high school that I’ve seen the inside of one. I had no idea what to do, guessing that the majority of the time we would spend sitting, standing, and then kneeling. And I was correct, except it was in a different order. I had no problem with this, because as I said, I’m now comfortable with my life and not with this moment, because the pews are very wood and very hard on my butt.
The only problem when dealing with religion is that I find that if someone is involved in a religion other than Catholicism, or even Buddhism for that matter, he/she tends to believe that his/her’s is better. Very often, a person of a different denomination will snicker when he hears that I meditate, and regularly do Yoga. I don’t criticize this person because he’s, let’s say, a Jehovah’s Witness. I’d like to, but every time he comes over, I hide behind the couch. I whisper to myself, “Be quiet. Maybe he’ll go away.” This, as if I’m hiding from trick-or-treaters, another group of people that others seem to snicker at. Or at least, throw snickers at.
Traditionally, religion only mainly consisted of the five major ones; Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Muslim, and Buddhism. I suppose we can add Protestant also. And it seemed that so much had to been gone through to be a part of one of these religions.
Now, a religion is classified as (using the standard dictionary definition), a specific system of belief or worship, built around God, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and most recently, a comet called Hale Bop, where almost anyone can take part. And anyone does take part.
Just a few years ago, a religious cult named Heaven’s Gate, flooded the newspapers. These people were convinced that a comet was their ticket to the land that’s very much sought. Unfortunately, these people were out of their freaking minds. Not so much about believing what they did about a comet, but the requirements that this cult consisted of. How would you have liked to been approached by the recruiter for this cult?
“Okay Jason, you said you like Mark Twain. Did you know that he was born and he died on the night of a Halley’s comet?”
“Interesting,” I’d say.
“Speaking of comets, we are very impressed with this comet, Hale Bop. And you also get a brand new pair of Nike’s.”
“That’s great,” I’ll reply.
“And when you’re castrated, you’ll… hey where you going?”
“I have to go do something,” I’d interrupt nervously and haul out of there.
This wasn’t the only group of insane people out there. Before this one, there were the people of David Koresh. Now I’m sorry, I can’t be part of a religion that consists of impregnating a 12-year-old girl (as in the case with the Branch Davidians) or castration. I mean, that’s just me.
But I commend these folks for trying to improve their lives, by joining a religion to satisfy themselves and to take them away from the craziness they’re subjected to, obviously worse than what these cults offered. Maybe, these people were both castrated and pregnant before they joined.
Sometimes, we see people finding religion, or in better words, religion finding them. This usually takes place with criminals, and other people involved in violent acts, the minute they’re caught by the authorities. We see it all the time. An alleged murderer would be sitting in the back of a police car, indicating that he’s okay because he just found Jesus. Apparently, Jesus is sitting next to him in the squad car. This man thinks he found the Son of God, but really, he found the Son of Sam, his future cellmate. He, too, thinks that joining a religion will benefit his life, and maybe instead of getting three life terms, he’ll only receive two terms for his beliefs.
I don’t care about people joining cults, switching religions, or even finding religion every once in a while. The thing that bothers me is the people that shove their beliefs down your throat to the point that you step back and utter, “Where do you get off saying that your religion is better than anybody else’s?”, until they finally leave your front doorstep and continue on to your next door neighbor’s.
It almost seems that people like this join religions because someone else shoved it down their throats, so they feel they should do the same. That’s what I think happened to Heaven’s Gate, because Do (pronounced Do) approached them and the new pair of retro Nike’s was too much to turn down. This gift was worth listening to hours of beliefs about a comet that didn’t make sense anyway. Because if the shoes weren’t employed, a sane person would have jumped to the occasion to ask, “Isn’t this comet really hot? And doesn’t it go faster than the speed of light? If this is the case, where will we sit down? And does this comet have appropriate seat belts and air bags? And, by the way, isn’t Do a deer, a female deer?”
Because that’s an important issue when joining a religion, at least for me it is. I want to know that this will improve my life, and not add more risk to my already existing one. Isn’t that what religion is for? To improve your life?
So in conclusion, if there are people out there interested in improving their lives, sit down and really think about where you want to go and what’s the best path to get there. Either that or buy a membership to the local YMCA, because after a few months at the gym, you’ll feel much better, which in effect does improve your life. And who knows, you might meet a cute girl or guy there. I have, unfortunately she’s one of those crazy cult chicks.