icon: "ma'at (photo of a scale with a feather on it, and underneath it the word "Ma'at")"
from topaznebula: What about [Christianity] and its followers makes you mad? Why? Have you chosen to abandon that religion and/or part of that religion and/or it's followers, why or why not?
What infuriates me is when people use a religion as a weapon - any religion, but since I know so much about Christianity, that one upsets me most. There is no fuckin excuse for trying to control other people's behavior with Christianity, for instance, as the Bible makes it extremely clear that your job as a follower of Jesus is to deal with your OWN shit. The bible says don't judge, deal with your own flaws first (and you'll never run out), use the bible as a mirror, work out your own salvation, love is the highest commandment and if you do that the others don't matter, etc. Instead, 'Christians' do not try to grow and change, they don't bother checking themselves before trying to fix others, they use the bible as a lawbook with which to justify their behavior and condemn others, they don't do any real work at all for their 'faith' and they sure as fucking hell don't bother to love. They're rotten little abominations and they disgust me. I can't say if I have abandoned the church, as if I were to find a church that actually lived up to the radical self-examination, generosity, and compassion that Jesus taught, I'd be very excited and probably add Christian to my self-labels again. However, while I check every time I come across a new church, I doubt very much that I will ever find one that is not rife with oppression. So, I keep Jesus as a part of my life, and I take inspiration from parts of the Bible*, but I do not engage with the church. As for its followers, I feel great love and admiration for ones like Jimmy Carter and bell hooks, but the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians I would call whitewashed tombs, and I want nothing to do with them. Failing to be compassionate and growthful is far more shameful if you are claiming that as your life path. Wanna be a selfish stagnation? Go ahead, but don't dare claim that you give a shit about what Jesus taught.
from darkestgarden: could you say that any of your spiritual or religious phases were fueled by desperation of some kind? if so, what was the nature of the desperation? how did it help or hinder your growth?
Hmm, I guess when I was trying new churches and spiritual groups constantly that was fueled by desperation. I yearned for community. I don't think it had any significant effect on my growth one way or the other. I never sought out spiritual things as a solution to a problem in my life though, not that I can remember. I looked for healing but as a support for the processes I already had going. I think I always hoped for something shockingly life altering to happen to me with organized religion, but ultimately my choice to seek was for its own sake and not for what it could bring me.
*I was about 19 when I realized that the bible is not a book of answers nor is it pure truth, despite being told that it was those things. It's 'good for teaching' like it says (that is the boldest claim it makes about itself), and that's it. It became much more useful to me when I stopped trying to use it like a search engine and instead used it to spark deep reflection. Honestly any book with enough words and not too much repetition would work this way, even the dictionary. I've read the bible cover to cover three times, and read parts of it upwards of eleven times. It's not a primary tool of mine now but when I come across a discussion of a part of it I tend to reflect on it for some days, examining the falseness that the church has invariably attached to it and tumbling the real meaning over in my mind. If logic worked on prejudice, I could talk all Christians out of their oppressive bullshit.