So I wasn't sure if I should post this or not, considering the people who read it, but I'm not going to be able to sleep till I do so here it is. It seems that every day that goes by the world at large is taking more of an interest in the state of my immortal soul.
Far more interest than I have in it.
Seriously, knock it off.
When I was a kid, living as I did in rural West Virginia, it was a foregone conclusion of all those around you that you were a Christian. The only question was which of the multitude of Christian splinter groups you belonged to. And let me tell you, there's far more of them out there than you think. Elizabeth is a town of 3,000 people and approximately 400 churches, each of a slightly different repackaging of Christian dogma. You can't throw a rock in that town without hitting a church.
God knows I tried.
So while I was in grade school I just took for granted that I too was a Christian. I mean, I must have been right? Everyone around me was. Everyone went on and on about the importance of being one. Why, nobody could fathom NOT being one, and thus I went on. But it's like when a boy is raised by wolves. He'll assume he is one since everyone around him is a wolf. He'll even come to disregard the fact that he in no way resembles a wolf. Sure, he'll howl at the moon and piss on things to mark his territory, but it doesn't change the fact that he can't lick his balls no matter how hard he tries. Eventually your smarter wolf-boy might come to question things.
Being marginally smarter than your average wolf boy I soon began to see flaws in what those around me were going on about. I chalk this up to having a brain and nobody watching me closely enough to see that I was using it.
At this point I'd like to point out that this post is going to be slightly critical of the people that claim to follow Jesus. If you are one of those people, or know one, or have to put up with one (why the fuck are you reading this to begin with?) then you may not want to read further. I have a feeling this is going to become quite a rant and you might not be able to take it.
The first signs that Christianity wasn't for me was the fact that none of the stories made any sense whatsoever. Seriously. And every time someone tried to explain one of them to me they just made it worse.
They liked to tell me that if I couldn't understand the Bible then I just wasn't a good enough Christian and I needed to pray to God to make me a better one. This, to me seemed to be self-defeating and served only to confuse me more, so I went through the motions when necessary and people left me alone more than they would have if I'd have kept asking questions they couldn't understand, let alone hope to answer.
Around High School the other students, who finally figured out after six years that they never saw me in church, started pointing out to me the inherent Satanism in everything I did. The music I liked, the games I played (YES, I played D&D, but you have to realize there was NO INTERNET and we didn't have cable.) and virtually every facet of my life.
It's here that it's interesting to note that I'd been avoiding anything to do withChristianity including Satan.
That's right, Satan is part of Christianity. Get over it.
All this talk of Satan and his hobbies really did is make me think "Hey, this Satan guy sounds pretty cool. We should hang out". So I spent the next two years researching everything I could find about Satanism.
See how that works people?
It didn't take too long to see that Satanism was just as ridiculous as the rest of Christian mythology though and I left my Satan-Curious phase for an agnostic phase.
So we fast forward a little and in late 1992 or early 1993 I get suckered into going to a 'Youth Group' at the church my ultra-Christian Grandmother goes to.
Not the beer drinking Grandma, the other one.
So I'm hanging out with the "fun bunch of people that just want to meet other people and hang out without necessarily talking about religion" "they just meet in a church".
First thing they do is pull out Bibles.
Oh, Mike D, if you're reading this, this is probably why I'm so reluctant to sign on with your Unitarians. I've been fooled before.
So they read scripture and do all the things I was assured they wouldn't be doing for a couple hours. I was falling asleep, but I was afraid to drift off for fear that while I was sleeping they might do things to my unconscious form.
You know, for testing purposes.
After a while we all go upstairs to the main room, which is full, and we stand in line. Not being at all familiar with Baptist dogma I'm freaking out. I would have left, but I saw my Grandma in the audience.
Grandma E, as I shall refer to her from here on, is very upset that I, and my siblings, don't know Jesus the way she does.
It keeps her up at night.
Anyways, with her in the audience I figure I have to go through with whatever the hell is going on, so it's a lot of "Stand here", "Kneel", "Rise", "Eat this", "Drink this", "Praise Jesus", and "You're now born again."
Well fuck me. I'm a born again Christian. That's what you get living in West Virginia for so long I guess.
So that ended my stint with the youth group and did nothing to change my status as an agnostic.
In 1993 I went to Italy with my Uncle and his family. He insisted that since my family was Catholic (till recently anyhow) and I hadn't chosen any other major religion then I was Catholic by default. I was skeptical, but before I could voice my concerns he made me tour the Vatican. While therein I saw countless works of priceless art and giant rooms and halls that could have housed the better part of the country.
And on the way out I noted the homeless people begging for money for food.
This did do something to cure my agnosticism.
It made me an atheist.
It also instilled in me the belief that we as a species will never advance till we outlaw religion. Killing the firstborn of those who don't comply wouldn't a bad start.
Yes, that was a bible reference. This thing is getting ungodly long and I'm trying to keep the funny going so you keep reading to see if I have a point at the end of all of this.
Will I have a point? Right now your guess is as good as mine.
Maybe even better, as I'm kinda fucked in the head.
So I made it for years avoiding religion as much as possible.
Then I died.
Yeah, I talk about that too much, but it's relevant to this story as I'm no longer an atheist. Now I believe that there is something out there and that I have, in fact, had revealed to me the mysteries of the universe by God himself. I don't talk about it much because the people that believe every crazy-ass thing a 2,000 year-old, badly translated book has to say tend to tell me I'm crazy. Maybe one day I'll lay it all out for you, but I really don't think any of you are ready for it yet.
Suffice it to say, the answers are simple.
If anyone really wants to talk about it I'm pretty easy to contact.
This brings us to the time I got saved.
I wrote about it before, but I can't find it in my three years worth of archives so here's a condensed version of it.
We had just moved into the house, it was late, dark and cold. I answer a knock at the door and it's four hot teenage girls. Who pull out bibles.
But the leader is very attractive and I can see down her shirt so I talk to them for about two hours, at the end of which they ask if they can pray with me.
Hmmm... Praying involves looking down... Sure, let's pray.
So they pray while I get a nice long look at the promised land and at the end they tell me I've been saved.
So I've got that going for me.
That brings us to about two weeks ago. I was out at my Mom's helping my Grandma (the beer drinking one, not the holy roller) around the house. I'd been waiting around for Brian's Dad Chuck. Chuck is a building contractor and a recent convert to the southern baptist wing of Christianity. He is now actually a minister. I respect Chuck, I really do, but I find that I'm becoming increasingly more uncomfortable around him. This has a lot to do with all the praying. Praying gives me the willies quite frankly. I'd be less uncomfortable getting naked and dancing around the room than I would be with them wanting to pray with me. Problem is though, you can't tell someone that their religion gives you the willies because they'll explain to you that you only have the willies because you don't understand how truly wonderful their beliefs are. Then they'll tell you all about it till they have something they have to do elsewhere.
Around 8 at night Chuck comes to the front door and he's carrying a bible. I thinking I'm going to have to get used to that sight when I notice he has a friend with him and he has a bible too.
So this marks the second time in as many weeks that I've had to endure people coming to pray with my Grandmother (who's not particularly religious) because she's turning 98 next month. "Hey, you're gonna die soon! Let's talk about Jesus!"
So we listen to Chuck's friend tell us all about the bible for about an hour and as usual the longer he goes on the more self contradictory the story and the more I zone out. I have to just keep reading through the little booklet he gave me to keep from biting off my own fucking tongue.
But I listen and I don't ask any of the logistical questions that spring to mind because, as previously stated, I respect Chuck and I don't want to throw his faith back in his face. That's the problem though. I respect that other people have their beliefs and I don't begrudge them their faith, but too many of those faiths teach that I have to be saved and it's their duty to save me. Any resistance on my part would be very upsetting to the saver and I wouldn't give a rat's ass if it was a stranger (a stranger lacking the spectacular knockers of my most recent savior anyways), but it's difficult when it's someone close.
And then it comes to that time in the sermon "Has everyone here been saved?"
I answer yes, because technically I have been. Granted I was tricked the first time and motivated by lust the second time, but technically I've been saved. The other reason I said yes is because saying no insures another two hours of preaching at the least and I'd rather swim naked in an eel tank than be involved in or around prayer. Chuck then answers my 'yes' with well then you'd better work on that friend of yours then, the one you're going to be best man for", meaning his son Brian.
I had made a tactical error in assuming that Brian would be the same type of Christian as his Dad. Now what the fuck have I gotten myself into?
I guess my point here is leave my soul alone. I like it just the way it is. If God doesn't like the way I'm living then I don't want to spend eternity with him anyways.
All of this should make the upcoming wedding very interesting.
Did I mention that Chuck is performing part of the ceremony?
I'll try to post more often and keep everyone updated.