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No god, No peace

By eveningmeadows --

No god, No peace
Know god, Know peace

I saw this saying on the t-shirt of one of the youth leaders in my last church.
No God No PeaceImage by cwalker71 via Flickr
It certainly was catchy and got my attention. At the time I thought it was right on and had a message that was pretty straightforward in a catchy play on words. I thought that believing and following god was the way to attain peace of mind. Strange thing, I never really had that peace.

A few weeks ago the slogan came to mind again. I started playing around with it, and came up with this one:
Know god, No peace.
No god, Know peace.
I couldn’t believe how it just put everything in place. As an Xtian, I was always worrying about trying to please god. What about those people that god had brought into my life to witness to? Were they going to hell because I had failed or was too embarrassed to find some way to tell them hey, by the way you’re going to hell and need Jesus as your savior? Yeah, that was always difficult for me. Then I was constantly worrying about my thoughts. I didn’t really like this one, or that one annoyed me, or no way was I ever going to work with that one again. And of course gossiping is always a weakness when a bunch of women get together, but it was so much fun!

I always hated prayer meetings; I hated prayer time in bible studies. It was sooo boring and why bother when nothing ever seemed to happen anyway.

I didn’t like praise and worship time before church. That was boring too, the same hymns and songs over and over every week. Some people did seem to get something out of all the singing with their hands raised over their head, and their eyes closed, in a conservative Baptist church no less. But for me, it was just an ordeal I had to get over. I remember asking a question in a bible study when the topic of worship was being talked about. This woman was upset because the time before church when the music was being played was supposed to be a time for us to get our hearts ready to receive god’s message and to worship him. Of course, most people used that time as a social event to meet their friends! How horrible! I never did understand the concept of worshiping something that didn’t feel real even then. I said, “What are we supposed to be doing during this worship time, chanting or what.” I just couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. She really seemed to be having this bonding time with her god. I just didn’t feel anything.

On top of all that, there was this anxiety that no matter what I did, no matter how many times I confessed a sin, I was never good enough for god. I never could conquer my basic nature. I was who I was no matter what I did.

Then there were the “why” questions. Why would god allow pain and suffering? How were we supposed to learn something from all the hardships in our lives if god didn’t tell us what we were being punished for, why we were being tested, what was building character. I always had to guess. Could it be because I enjoyed spending my extra money on yarn at Michaels than tithing to the church? How was I supposed to know these things?

How can constant guilt and second guessing ourselves really bring us peace of mind? No matter what I did, there was god over my shoulder angry at me for some reason. I’ve always wondered why some people can just focus on Jesus loves me and never worry about the sin in their lives. How can we have peace when loved ones are in hell or will be going to hell because they didn’t follow the right and true religion? Will my children stay with the right religion or will they end up in hell because I failed to be the perfect Xtian mother?

How can we have peace when horrible things happen to people in the world that god can but chooses not to stop? None of the answers ever made sense to me. These are the explanations that I’ve heard in the past, god doesn’t hear the prayers of non believers, they’re not a part of the one true religion, god can’t interfere in the free will of people even if they choose to be evil, to bring about character, to punish, to teach others, on and on. None ever made sense to me. God can help someone find a good parking space at the mall, or chicken breast on sale, but can’t help a child that is being abused? How can one ignore these questions and have peace of mind?

Now that I’ve walked away from religion, and found this site that shows me I’m not crazy for doing so, I can say I’m finally getting peace in my life. I can just live day to day, and if that means just focusing on my family now and then, so be it. I’m not going to hell, neither has any of my family members nor will they in the future. I can enjoy the short time I’ve been given in this life without any guilt. I’m finding that I’ve forgotten how to just relax and enjoy the moment for what it holds, to clear my mind and not worry about what I should be doing to please a god that can never be pleased.