Letters from a Barbed Wire Monastery: The Choice to Think Freely
By: Prison Bob
A prison cell
Why I choose to do anything is often a mystery. Even to me. To explain, when I joined the Marine Corps in 1989, it was a spur of the moment thing. The recruiter called and said, “Have you thought about what you want to do after high school?” I told her “Nope, no clue.” So, she says, “Have you thought of joining the Marine Corps?” I hadn’t, so I said (this is 100% true), “Sure, where do I sign up?” Used to rejection, she said, “You don’t have to say no right…What did you just say?” I repeated, “Sure. Where do I sign up?” That’s only one example of how I float through life. I rarely pre-plan or think anthing through. And, I am certain that it shows.
So, in an earlier letter, I mention that I chose to label myself as an atheist/agnostic/freethinker, because I was bored with Christianity in the form of church. At too early an age, I felt that something as siginificant as the thought process which would guide the rest of my life would need a more relevant basis than just “it’s what’s expected.” The most telling reason why I have denounced religion – any form of religion – is that I find it to be dishonest. I am not the epitome of honesty. I am, however, often indescreetly honest, some may say brutally so. Such open, anti-social weapons-grade honesty doesn’t make friends. To put it most openly, I feel that I cannot have faith, because I have knowledge. Do I know everything? No, I just act like it sometimes.
And, yes. The above was a psychological trick that I use when things become too intense for me. The first three paragraphs took me a week to compose. Deep introspection is physically painful for me. That is why, at most times, I keep only a nodding acquaintance with deep, personal thought. Besides the pain, there is the ever-present rage, just beneath the surface. Impotent rage – the best kind. As I see it, the dishonesty – not of religion in theory – but of religion in practice, tells you to be true to a god figure. Then, this god figure will provide for you in “the afterlife”. To me, that sounds like a lend-lease or installment purchase plan.
Religion sticks in my craw, because it asks – no tells – you to go against your very nature as a human. Religion, in the end, is for lazy people. Religion – Christianity specifically – introduced fanaticism. From fanaticism comes racism. It isn’t the only religion to put forth such thoughts.
Yet, I don’t know of any gnostic or agnostic mindset, which proposes the “death to those not like me”. If you cite communism, well, wasn’t that just a religion with the state as deity?
Be well. See you next month.
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