4/26/2011 | Share this article:By summerbreeze ~
It's ironic I think, that the giant lie of religion, in turn, forces the enlightened among us to lie our socks off.
We have just returned from New Mexico and Arizona, visiting relatives that I hadn't seen in decades. It was my first trip to 'The West'. My initial reason for going was to see my last Aunt on my Dad's side ( Step Dad actually, but he adopted me ) while she was still in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I knew if I waited, it would be too late.
In a terrible twist of fate, her 22-year-old Grandson ( my 2nd cousin, who I'd never met ) died about two hours before our plane actually hit the ground there in Albuquerque. We arrived there to meet relatives who were deeply in shock and heavy with grief.
This was a fine young man who loved life, loved helping and giving to others, and was a dedicated hiker in the mountains there....being as close to nature as he could get. He also was a very sensitive person, and it was that very sensitivity that made him sad about the injustices in this world. Unfortunately he turned to drugs to quell those feelings, and he over-dosed.
Five days after we arrived, there was a memorial service held for him on his favorite plateau in a beautiful National Park overlooking Albuquerque. It was there, amidst the flowering cactus, fur trees and rattlesnakes ( which thankfully were underground because of the coldness ) that I looked around at the eclectic 100 or so people I'd never met before. Some had crosses around their necks, elderly men in suits and cowboy hats, middle-agers in their L.L. Bean duds and teens and 20 somethings in dusty hiking boots.
As I stood there, I wondered just how many were non-believers, and my gut feeling was that the percentage was probably pretty high. The Albuquerque area seems pretty open-minded and 'artsy'. I remembered seeing many bumper stickers that said, "Keep the quirky in Albuquerque".
On that cold blustery day, on the plateau, we listened to a long winded young pastor who was there mostly to save souls, period. My cousin ( who I believe was a Free-Thinker ) followed the boring sermon with a loving tribute to his lost nephew. This was totally Secular, no Jesus...God...or heaven mentioned.
His message was simple Our moments here on earth are brief, so live life to the fullest, don't be afraid to hug those we love and tell them how we feel, and to be kind to all people and be of help whenever we can.
At the luncheon that followed, I heard these expressions coming out of my own mouth:
"He's in a better place now"
"He's looking down from heaven and wants you to be at peace, because he's happy now"
"He's with Grandpa and Grandma now, and you'll be with him again in the future"It was hard to look into the eyes of my religious Aunt and my other cousin and his wife, whose only child was now dead, and not say anything but.
I resent religion beyond words. It is, among other things, the great spoiler. It has spoiled my endeavors to bond HONESTLY with my kin-folk. I have to be the deceiver to 'fit in'....it is deception that holds me in esteem, the truth would alter all of that.
This is why I despise religion so much, it forces us so many times in life to be dishonest with those that we love.