As a forewarning, this post may be deemed controversial to those who practice Catholicism, Christianity, or any religion of the sort. While I used to identify as catholic converted to atheist, I currently do not ascribe to any labels, belief systems, and/or religious practices. I am simply a spiritual being having a human experience (and vice versa pertaining to whatever you deem is true to you). Feel free to read this with an open heart, open mind, and a non-judgemental stance. I’m always willing to explore other perspectives and your personal take on them.
For a good chunk of my upbringing, I was raised in a Catholic household. I went to church every Sunday, was forced to participate in weekly Catholic school, and joined my local choir. While it was mandatory to study the Bible, I was scolded for my alternative points of view with underhanded threats of being ex-communicated by my teachers. The more I posed more questions about my religion, the more I grew great disdain for the practice itself. I felt caged in by my surroundings whilst tuning out the pastors’ preachings as I gazed out the window wondering what else is out there for me.
As I heavily reflected on my circumstances, I was feeling more turned off from the concept itself and instead identified with atheism for a long while. My rational brain kept me safe. If things weren’t properly presented to me in concrete logical terms, you could not convince me otherwise. Catholicism shamed me for my lifestyle, my interests, and even my own bodily autonomy. It didn’t feel freeing nor liberating for me. At the time, I couldn’t bring it in me to believe that I can be loved the way God intended. It left me feeling almost as if ‘he’ abandoned me, never wanting to hold my frail vessel, leaving me hopeless and utterly dejected.
I tend to carry tremendous guilt daily knowing that my existence alone creates suffering for other people whether directly or indirectly. Inversely, I’d also intensely feel ashamed of others for their willful cowardice and capricious behavior. Coming to terms that regardless of how much one tries on a consistent basis, even with something as simple as waking up in the morning, it almost seems as if those gradual contributions may be rendered meaningless. No matter what you decide to do, either way, someone would get hurt from your actions or inactions. What is deemed righteous in someone’s point of view may be interpreted as callous to another.
One can not eradicate that kind of suffering but merely be forced to be present with it. It’s that presence that bridges the connection to empathize with the universe at large. Being aware of said connection is the only way to sustain a more humane life but it can only happen from acknowledging and integrating pain itself. Despite my knowledge of this, the unfortunate circumstance is that most of us have disconnected from who we truly are even with our industrial and technological advancements. We forgot where we came from and in essence, lost touch with reality. It makes it extremely difficult to have much faith in a world constructed with an agenda like that.
Humans severely underestimate their own vulnerabilities by carelessly placing themselves in precarious situations time and again regardless of the fact that we have a vast array of knowledge and resources at our fingertips to cultivate tangible solutions. We’ve been given the gift of intuition, creativity, and free thought only to disregard our own abilities and waste it consuming in excess or commit transgressions on one another. We fill our itinerary with mind-numbing tasks just to forget once more where we started from. We then mask our pain with endless coping mechanisms and addictions, impulsively jumping around until we land on solid ground just to survive another day. It makes me wonder, what fuels our compulsion to sin and what exactly would one define as sin?
There are moments where it feels like the creator is playing a sick joke on us. Even now my understanding of what “God” is to me is evolving as time elapses.
“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
— John 17:14-16
Of course, everyone has their own interpretations of the bible but if you really think about it, considering the last sentence would mean that if God is not of the world then evil would be conducted through him. Given this was the case, we would have to ask… what is God?
Let’s take for example Genesis 2:4-24. The Garden of Eden may very well be just an illusion of paradise, an expression of the oppressive systems we are ‘locked in’ currently. Since God created everything, you could also say that God also spoke through the expression of the serpent which then compelled Eve to bite into the forbidden fruit who then passed it on to Adam. So it’s not the indulgence of the fruit which brought forth corruption, the fact of the matter is that the world was already corrupted, to begin with.
If God did not want them to sin, why would God create the circumstances necessary for them to do so in the first place? There would be no use for the tree of knowledge to be planted in the Garden of Eden if that were the case. It would almost seem as if this was also created to shame them for their own curiosity, prohibiting them from wanting to learn more and enslaving them to blissful ignorance. Maybe considering the fact Adam and Eve had such knowledge in the first place, this would threaten his control over them and God would fear being overthrown by mere mortals. How would one proclaim through a religious understanding that this is an almighty creator who exudes unconditional love to all?
Guess I’ll just go fuck myself.