Ladies and gentlemen, you have been judged guilty of sinning against our almighty God, and I promise you, you shall pay for your trespasses, in blood!
This post has been a long time coming.
For years I’ve had to contend with death gazes and finger pointing because I don’t choose to affiliate myself with any particular organized religion. I’ve been called a blasphemer, heretic, and soulless both to my face as well as behind my back. Why? Because I don’t bow to peer pressure?
Let me fill everyone in on a few things. I was brought up as a Catholic. My mother is a devout Catholic therefore it was kind of written in stone that I was destined to be one as well. I went to Catholic school for 8 years, from 1st grade all the way to 8th. Yes I got to wear the awful micro bible-thumper uniform, got taught by fierce nuns and was an altar boy for 4 consecutive years. I even won awards for being Altar Boy of the Year for 3 years in a row because I rocked so much at holding that plate under people as they received communion and got that bible off the altar with the grace of a swan. None of the priests at the church I served at were ass-grabbing pedophiles so thankfully I never got to experience some of the horror stories you tend to hear about nowadays. For what it’s worth, the Catholic lifestyle wasn’t all that bad. Boring as watching whales screw, but not awful.
As I started to get older I began to question some things. Sitting there in pews every Sunday listening to the same sermons over and over, I wondered to myself why this was mandatory. Yes, my school made it a punishable offense if you missed 9am Sunday Mass. Even if you slept in and caught the 10am or 11am one you’d still be in shit. I believe that was the beginning of my dissidence towards organized religion. It disturbed me how I, a loyal follower and active practitioner of these teachings, was quite literally being forced to do something I didn’t feel was necessary. Every night I prayed to a mystical being that I really didn’t believe was there, respected my elders, knew the “good book” pretty much forward and backwards thanks to the fact that I thought I was one of God’s peeps being an altar boy and all. To me I felt I didn’t need to prove anything by going to church every single Sunday. I assumed that the bible was merely a guideline for living your life.
Boy was I wrong.
I began to purposefully miss church just to try and bolster the fact that I didn’t appreciate being forced into doing something I didn’t feel was necessary. I didn’t think that God was a narcissist that needed his ego stroked on a weekly basis. I thought that following and living by His teachings was paying tribute enough. Isn’t that what this religion was supposed to be about? Apparently the kind and understanding nuns didn’t see it the same way so I would often get into trouble. You know. Rulers, detention, more forced reading about crap I already knew. By the time I was in 8th grade I had stopped going to church all together and my belief in this supposed religion was on thin ice. I was the quintessential “disruptive influence in class” and damn proud of it. I was having fun finally. I managed to find that comfortable middle ground of being able to live a good, honest and respectful life without having it beat into my head every single week. My divorce from Catholicism was finalized when in the 9th grade I went to public high school.
That’s a post for another time…
As I grew older and was able to comprehend more about the world around me I saw how much bullshit organized religion was. Let’s not forget the fact that I never got to choose to be Catholic. I was decreed one, baptized and pretty much told to accept it. As a kid, what are you going to do? Defy your parents? Say no to the people with the funky outfits who are 5 times bigger than you? No. You just end up being a good little follower and do as you’re told. That is what I absolutely can’t stand about organized religion. High school allowed me to see religion for what it truly was – a popular clique where if you’re not “down with them” you’re ridiculed and bullied until you either succumb to their will or become the Antichrist in their eyes. Is that really what religion is supposed to be about? I was under a lot of false assumptions. I thought that as a human being we got to choose what we believed in. That’s not the case with most religions out there. You either believe what they mandate or you’re just wrong. That’s it. Wrong. No reason or proof as to why you’re wrong other than collections of short stories written by people who believed the Earth was the center of the universe and over embellished over the centuries by those looking to turn a profit. That’s awesome. I also wrongfully believed that we were supposed to learn from this almighty book of knowledge not follow it blindly like a bunch of lemmings.
Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. I’m not bashing religion in general. I’m criticizing this mutated perversion that disguises itself as religion. I’m a fan of religion. I believe in believing. Faith is powerful. It can start wars and end wars. Having faith in something is what motivates one to achieve his or her goals and provides the focus to do so. If believing there an an all-powerful being that manages our lives like a game of Sims, then by all means believe in it. If it gives you the strength and inspiration to get through your day to day; if it brings up the people around you and makes you a better person then believe. Pray. Pay homage. Do what you feel like doing because it’s right for you. Some people need that light at the end of the tunnel in order to focus their minds.
I don’t need that nor do I need anyone chastising me for what I do or do not believe in. I don’t need people preaching to me that their way is the only and right way. I don’t need a book to tell me that killing is wrong or that fucking people over is a bad thing. I don’t need to be taught daily how to be a respectful, kind and understanding person. I just do it. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else. I just know how to walk on my own two feet. I truly thank Catholicism for introducing me to the principles that I live by to this day but those concepts of love, honor, respect and loyalty aren’t exclusive to just them. They are common themes in all religions. Heck, you don’t even really need a religion to tell you most of that just some uncommon sense. It just saddens me to see so many people believing in the same key characteristics and yet will venomously denounce one another because one version of the fairy tale is different from the other.
So after long and exhausting brainstorming I’ve decided to do something ground breaking. I’m going to start my own religion so that I’m not ostracized anymore for not having one.
Here are some of the key notes of The Way of Zen:
- There is no deity in this religion. We feel that you should pray to yourself (if need be) because that’s the only person who’s going to do anything. Listen carefully to the little voice inside you. That’s not God. That’s you.
- We won’t have a book unfortunately. We only have one verse to follow “Be good to people if they’re good to you. However if they fuck with you then don’t take any shit.” Theoretically if you’re nice to someone they should nice good back to you and the process goes on and on therefore there should never be need for violence ever again. However we all know there are douches in the world so being nice to a blockhead isn’t very productive for anyone. Open the bottle of 100 proof ass-whoopin’ and let them know the deal. Don’t be selfish with your kindness but don’t be a pussy either.
- We won’t have places of worship. Since you are your own temple all you really need is yourself.
- There are no bishops, monks, imams, clerics or any distinguishable ranks. We feel that no one should be placed higher than another based on their level of belief.
- We don’t require mandatory donations, although if you wish to contribute try donating to a homeless shelter or disaster relief charity.
- There’s also no paraphernalia or idols needed in order to get started.
- There is no recruiting. We exist through word of mouth, that’s it. If a person hears about The Way and decides to join, then so be it otherwise there is no active recruiting by any members.
- There’s no ledger. We keep no record of who joins so your privacy is safe.
- We’re also open to all races, creeds and lifestyles. Gay, straight, black, white, male, female, converts… it doesn’t matter. All are welcome.
- You are free to leave whenever you want without fear of persecution or harassment.
- You don’t have to drink the Kool Aid. If someone asks you to then they’re not a member of this faith.
- Most of all never ever, under any circumstances, take another’s life. That’s what cops and hitmen are for.
I’m still hammering out the finer details but once I’m done I think I’ll have the basis for a kick-ass religion. Remember, I’m not only the founder. I’m also a follower.
Peace and be good brothers ans sisters of The Way.
… and for all of you out there with the stick so far up your ass that you can’t take a topic lightly all I ask is that you think before you speak.