8/18/2010 | Share this article:by dharma ~
As a child, I had my share of imaginary friends. These imaginary friends were perfect. When I was terrified in the dark, thanks to the bible stories I had heard in church, these imaginary friends helped to ease my mind. And when I was punished for having done something typically kid-like my sight-unseen buddies were naturally exiled to my room along with me. Oh yes, we were ‘as thick as thieves’, as my aunt used to say. However, even as a child I understood the difference between fantasy and reality. So I was not surprised when I started school and my imaginary friends did not protect me when a bully took my lunch tokens or my book bag. My imaginary ‘friends’ were nowhere to be found when some much larger kid threatened me with future bodily harm as he shoved me to the ground and took my skateboard.
Image by Dom Dada via FlickrEven as a child, I knew these ‘friends’ were created by me. I knew I had dreamed them up. I had given them names, physical characteristics, personalities and strengths which I myself did not possess. Yes, I knew very well that it was I who had created them and not the other way around. However, there were many times when I desperately wanted to believe that it was I who was simply a figment of their imagination. But alas, I knew the truth. And so logically I began to let go of these fictitious beings. Now, I say that I began to let go of them because I liked these characters I had created and it seemed a bit morbid to just kill them off. So, I let them live their lives the only way I possibly could; they lived on through the many stories that I wrote as a child.
Now at this school-age point in my childhood I began to wonder why the adults around me still had conversations with their imaginary friends. These adults seemed to rely upon an invisible force that clearly had no power to help when they desperately needed real life help. I watched them when their ‘bullies’ (house payments, relationship struggles, etc.) knocked them down. And it astounded me to see them close their eyes and strike up a conversation with their imaginary friend. Again and again, throughout the years, I watched them beg and plead for help. But help rarely ever came. The bills still piled up, the fighting never stopped and no one was happy. I questioned this, on more than one occasion, but always received the stern and standard answer, “You do not EVER question god.” Well, I saw this as irrational and I remember thinking, “I was not questioning god, I was questioning you”. Years later I realized that I had indeed been questioning god, as god was a figment of mankind’s imagination and therefore god was man. And I supposed that was why they constantly claimed god was everywhere.
As I watched the Xtian folk around me, I came to understand that these god-friends were not friends that they themselves had independently created, at least not completely. He had sort of been given to them like the hand-me-down dolls I had been given as a little girl. And just as I had done as a child, they had given this god-friend certain personality traits and strengths that they themselves lacked. Attributes seemed to be added where ever and whenever each person saw fit and these additions made the hand-me-down god uniquely personal. So, logically, when I hit my late teens I surmised that a personal relationship with a ‘god' was actually a personal relationship with oneself. Over the years I continued to ask lots of questions regarding this and you can imagine how well my inquiries went over in church, Sunday school and the Xtian schools my parents put me into each year. And this is not to say that I did not want to believe that some great and powerful being was out there somewhere watching over me. I mean, that is a nice thought. But so was the idea of a great and powerful Oz … until he was exposed.
In my ‘good book’ the Xtian Trinity is composed of desperation, self loathing and fear. So anyway, at the very last Xtian school I attended I watched as my best friend was kicked out of both the school and the church. This happened when the religious leaders learned she was pregnant at seventeen. I watched as the Xtian leaders fired her mother from her position as music teacher. And I looked on in horror as they wasted no time ‘asking’ her to leave the church choir and the church. My friend’s mother was a very sweet and timid woman. She was a widow working two jobs. She had come to her fellow Xtians for support, understanding and guidance. Yet, these humble, god fearing, bible-thumping, “do unto others as you would (NOT) have them do unto you” people had turned their backs on one of their own. I was outraged at this shunning and deeply embarrassment to have attended this school. I dropped out and moved away shortly after this shameful display of god-filled inhumanity. Five years later I finished my high school education and went on to college. Another six years past and I had developed my own philosophy in regards to what drives a person to the Xtian religion.
In my ‘good book’ the Xtian Trinity is composed of desperation, self loathing and fear.
DESPERATION draws a person to Xtianity through promises of unending joy, a new life and the chance to reunite with loved ones after death.
SELF LOATHING allows a Xtian to absorb the masochistic teaching, thereby learning to suffer unto his or her self properly. And once the Xtian has conquered this technique they are free to move into the sadistic teachings and try to convince others to willingly suffer as they do.
FEAR demands unquestioned obedience and nails the unthinking Xtain to his wooden cross to bear.
Luckily, my ‘good book’ really is good as this tortured trinity can be easily dissolved with just a smidgen of elbow grease (i.e., research; clicking the mouse, opening a library door, turning a page or two, etc...) And the toxic residue can then be washed from the human mind with the practice of logical thinking.
Can I get an Amen?
For mankind does indeed believe he is clever. So clever that he managed to convince himself he was immortal. Man made one imaginary friend, mixed in a host of insecurities, added a little water for dipping sauce and he had an instant god. Oh, how I wish I could have been there when man cradled his newborn god within his mind. I wish I could have congratulated him on his creativity as he looked down at his only hope for immortality. Oh, if only I could have been there when this ‘blank slate’ brainchild was swaddled and fed. I would love to have looked straight into the mind’s eye of mankind and whispered lovingly into his impressionable, egotistical ear “Name him ‘Fantasy’, not ‘Religion’.”
Imagine life with no childish vindictive deity to spur us on. Image a world where people are happy by simply being free to be themselves. Imagine a world where people harbor no desire to kill their fellow man in the name of an imaginary friend. Just imagine all these people (a John Lennon tuned just popped into your head, didn’t it?) living with no selfish or sinister agenda. Life minus god equals a beautiful dream for all humanity.
If only we had a time machine. Ah, the haunting echoes of two tiny words we have all uttered at some point in our lives, “if only”. As a child I remember looking up at the vast and magical night sky and wishing upon a star. I wished for the cure for cancer to be found. I wished for peace and happiness for all mankind. I wished to go and live with my Daddy. I wished for my own chess set … after all I was just a kid at the time. And many times I wished my imaginary friends could be real. But little did I know that they could have been real, if only I had been able to pretend for the rest of my life.