God as Propaganda

My faith in God, in a god, is something that I have for a long time had trouble explaining. I think that this is because I have not really figured out exactly what I do believe. It is terribly difficult to explain something that you don’t understand. Don’t you agree?

I was raised (after a variety of religious ventures) as a Pentecostal girl in an overly exuberant (and strict) church. It was a radical, crazy-ass church, believing in laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, shouting, clapping, fainting, and raising hands during song and prayer. At the time I don’t think any of it bothered me. It simply…was. And in all honesty the biggest attraction to me at the church was the youth group. I had built some solid friendships (and crushes) in my years there, and that was thing that took me back night after night, week after week, month after month. It wasn’t God.

I remember wondering if the “casting out of demons” thing was real, if the bible stories were all absolutely and positively word-for-word real, and if all of the hype around a second coming and the end of the world (happening soon in a city near you) was all that they painted it to be. I had doubts and concerns about some of the things they taught – but it didn’t really materialize into any more than that. After all, I had boys to chase, and church was the best place to do that.

After we left the church and I was able to start figuring out what I believed in, I began questioning many of the fundamental beliefs of my religious background. I had always been a bit skeptical, and separating myself from it continued to feed that skepticism. I began to think that perhaps the bible, although based on real events is really a book of stories passed down from generation to generation and eventually documented. I began to think the possibility existed that not everything in that book was going to come to pass in the way it was scripted. I began to wonder if perhaps we were all just taking that a little too seriously, or literally, or something along those lines. And I began to feel ridiculous for thinking THAT religion was the ONLY religion that God would honor.

Over the years I have spent more time thinking about what I believe than I would like to admit to anyone. And I don’t know why. Why is it important to believe in anything beyond what we have right here in front of us? Why does there have to be an afterlife, a god, a bad guy? I don’t know…but I still think about it a lot. And although I have spent countless hours thinking about, talking about, writing about what I truly believe, I think it all boils down to this: I believe what my mother told me to believe because that is what kids do. And they own those beliefs for the rest of their lives. How lame is that? I fiddle with other ideas of religion and gods and lack of either, and in the end I still kind of harbor a belief in most of the propaganda thrown at me all those years back. But I am still pretty sure you won't find me in a church of my own accord ever again.