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I feel like a SHMUCK!

By MinfOfHisOwn (MOHO) ~

I tried.

I honestly tried.

Like so many of you I spent countless hours on my knees, in my “prayer place”, reaching out to that imaginary father figure that, for a time, brought us comfort during hard times and hope that we will continue on, in some conscious form, when our time on this planet comes to a close.

After a couple years of this, and reading the Bible in earnest, I started to pay attention to that frequently inconvenient, but usually quite sagacious, voice in the back of the mind that, if given heed, can keep us from making foolish mistakes. As most of you have experienced, this form of unraveling of my superstition was not the direct result of any particular event or experience. No, my realization that I was attempting to indoctrinate myself came about slowly, over the course of nearly two years, and at the hands of, not only research and thought process, but through the words and actions of those around me.

By those around me, of course, I am referring to my hopelessly indoctrinated and absolutely fanatical fundi family. I was raised LDS but never really bought into the twice-weekly diatribe spewed forth from the pulpit as well as from the Mormon sponsored Boy Scout Troop Leaders. But much later in life, when I met the woman who would become my second wife, I was taken with a number of her more positive attributes. My logic and reasoning poisoned by my lower brain stem, I saw no harm in tagging along on her, then, monthly sojourn to the local non-denominational fundi fest.

Wrong! It turned out to be VERY harmful. Her weekly doses of fictional mind bending became Sunday school, 3 bible studies, and volunteering at the church sponsored “home schooling” which took place AT THE CHURCH! Although I was not participating in all of these pious opportunities, I was subjected to enough propaganda that I soon found myself lying awake at night envisioning my flesh being consumed by the mother of all conflagrations, and not EVER really knowing if I would be spared. Isn’t it interesting how the execution of the doctrine is orchestrated in such a manner as to prevent absolute complacency so you have to keep attending – and contributing? But that’s a topic for another submission.

Based on my desire to know, for sure, if I was one of the chosen few, I began to question people. Ministers, relatives, friends, my wife, all were subjected to my relentless interrogation. I was earnestly wanting to know if they REALLY KNEW that they were one of the so very few who would make the final cut and, more importantly, HOW they knew.

You ALL know what became of that. The scenario for me was much the same, even in the same order, as what many of you have eloquently detailed on Ex-C, in response to our honest and open investigations. Yes, they gave me their superstitious and un-provable, wild-eyed testimony of how they “felt God”, “talked to God”, “Heard God” and/or experienced some phenomenon that they “knew” was divine, but could easily have been explained by any number of scientifically fortified reasoning.

I began to question [...] if they REALLY KNEW that they were one of the so very few who would make the final cut and, more importantly, HOW they knew. Of course I pressed on in the manor and persistent “no, seriously” approach that could only come from a well-read, code-cutting, science loving, truth seeker “cursed” with a set of brain cells that simply refuse to be playacted with anything other than a modicum of reality. This, as you all know, resulted in the inevitable “you just have to have faith” or “God does not operate in reality – he operates on his own basis” or my personal favorite “all of that science and rezoning nonsense is Satan operating on you to confuse you and derail your walk with the Lord!”

I cannot tell you what a profound and insightful impact those gems of wisdom had on my quest for some truly meaningful divination or impartment that would end, once and for all, my long and frequently painful examination of life and self. Not exactly the impact those, mostly well meaning, individuals undoubtedly had hoped for, but an impact none-the-less. I say mostly well-meaning as I am absolutely certain some of them were only engaging in a desperate effort to prevent me from leaving the fold and taking my tithing, and perhaps that of my friends and family, with me.

But wait. It gets better. Don’t believe me? Read on.

A few weeks later the Mrs. And I are watching a docu-movie on the life of Christopher Columbus When a graphic scene caught us, rather off-guard, wherein the religious elite were burning a man and woman at the stake. They made it clear that these unfortunate characters had committed the horrible atrocity of blasphemy. Assuming the producers where making a point regarding how atrociously innocent people were treated in those days, and by grossly uneducated and superstitious people even today in some countries, I commented on this. Much to my shock and horror my wife replied “they SHOULD burn people at the steak for denying God or breaking his, or the church’s rules!”

People! You cannot make this stuff up! She actually said that!

So, naturally, when I “outed” myself to her I braced myself for the worst. After the initial shock wore off she went into the requisite “you are going to hell for denying God!” routine and I went into the “how does one deny what is not there” response.

Anyway, I don’t need to provide a doctoral dissertation on that, or our subsequent, conversations as many of you have experienced the exact same castigation. I would like to state, however, the she, her son, his wife, and my three lovely (step) grand-daughters will, most assuredly, make life so hard on me, what with the attempts at re-conversion, the praying in public restaurants before each meal, and the inevitable and relentless surveillance and scrutiny of my each and every move, sentence and, if they could, my thoughts too, that I will no longer be able to reside at home. Not really an insurmountable life change in and of itself but, in my case, these people are all I have. I have no children of my own and all of the grand-brats came along during the MindOfHisOwn administration.

Hopefully, and since “Gampa BOB” is a veritable non-participant, I will always be “Gampa Doug”, but when debating creationism/evolution with the eldest (16) the other night my wife interrupted, shut down the debate, and quickly changed the subject. I actually braced myself for the grand finally – but the confrontation never came. I can only hope that this is an indication that maybe, just maybe, she is t h I n k I n g. As I wrote this extimony, though, I received one of her daily religious email broadcasts – this one was something regarding Rick Warren and the purpose of life.


So, I’m feeling like a shmuck for praying to something that possibly does not give as much as a rodent’s behind about me and thus will not answer – or, most likely, simply does not exists at all. Like some of you I am leaving the door open for a god, or a reasonable facsimile, to communicate with me but, I am also realistic and understand that there really is something less than the chance of a successful and practical implementation of a screen window on a sub-marine, that said revelation will actual occur.

To those of you who stuck with me through my entire lexical regurgitation – I thank you.

To all I ask for support with what I am certainly to face, and in return, promise my unremitting support of you and your journey. I also solute those who have displayed the amazing courage to shine the light of reason on the revolting damage done to society by religion in general. You are truly brave!


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