I’ve had these thoughts in my head for a while now, months actually. But I don’t know if I can get them out of my head in a way that anyone would actually understand. And this subject is definitely not dinner table conversation.

Yeah, I’m talking about God.

I want to start by saying that I believe there is some higher being out there, somewhere.  And I do call this being God. But in no way do I believe that there is One True God that will only take Christians into the pearly gates and burn all the Jewish people and Islamic people and people who believe in the Occult and Mormon people, etc. in hell for all eternity. If there is adivine creator out there, he wouldn’t just choose a small portion of his children to love and exile the rest. If he is all loving, and all compassionate, and everything we hope to be as human beings according to the laws he has set down for us, then how could he be so cold hearted? That’s really an insane thought process for me.

I don’t believe that we are all just puppets on a string and I don’t believe that God can change things that are happening in our lives. I don’t believe that God performs miracles on Earth. I don’t believe that he can strike someone down for not believing or for committing a sin. If so, there would be many moremysterious deaths. Hello, Hitler. Oh, hi there, Catholic priests. I believe that people can perform miraculous things. And that fate controls our destiny. If it’s meant to be, it will be.

Aside from the things that I do believe, I feel most strongly about this point: There is an incredibly vast difference between God and Religion.  Religion is the bane of our existence as human beings. God did not write any of those books that you are worshipping. Man did. And you can believe that those men were told to write and do what they did by God, but you can never be sure. Just as a serial killer can say, “God wanted me to do this,” so could any of those men that were deemedDisciples. They weren’t any more holy than you or I, they weremen. Imperfect and possibly, just possibly, driven by something other than God’s love and pure thought.

Religion has brought countless wars upon this world from the dawn of time. It has brought tyranny to many countries and it challenges my own on a fundamentally catastrophic level every. single. day. It has led to mass murders, laws that condemn others in a political manner for their personal beliefs, and morally inept lifestyles. And I’m not talking about the morals that we have had forced on our lives based on religion, but morals that we should all have strictly as human beings.

I was watching a video by Mat Devine of the band Kill Hannahand William Beckett of the band The Academy Is…as a part of Mat’s blog The Raccoon Society, where they touched lightly on this very subject and I couldn’t help but to share some of the things they said that really spoke right to my heart.

“Personally, I don’t get the feeling of safety and security in a church or in a community like that, personally. I feel quite the opposite. I feel unsafe and judged.” -William

I can safely say that the only time I felt even relatively at ease in a church setting was when I had been subconsciously convinced that passing judgement and pushing my beliefs onto non-Christians was an acceptable thing to do, so long as you were doing it within the comfort of the church bubble. And so long as you never, ever talked about someone in the church that had higher standing with God than you did. Because those that were more experienced in religion, and by that I mean had been coming to church all their lives, obvously had a better relationship with God than those who were relatively new and didn’t have the luxury of growing up in the church. I hope you sense the sarcasm here, because this is all complete bullshit. I went to church for a time. And I never felt safe. I did it because I felt like I was supposed to go. I felt pressured. And even being around others who exclaim their [insert religion here] is exhausting because I feel the need to be perfect, lest I be judged.

“I just think that, as human beings, I think there’s a certain amount of moral responsibility and just common sense, like I don’t think anybody needs — I don’t want to offend anybody who is religious, because I think there’s much worse things you can be — but, for me, I don’t need anybody to threaten me to behave. I think, as a human being, I like to respect other human beings.” -Matt

There really isn’t much more that I can say to compliment the way I feel in relation to what Mat is saying in this quote. There are worse things that a person can be, a serial killer, for instance. Then again, religion has also had it’s hand in mass genocide. And when it came time for someone to stand up for the losing end of that battle, it surely wasn’t God who struck down the oppressors in any situation throughout history. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And I believe that religion is just as much of an outlet for absolute power as it is for absolute submission.

“I think that everybody has a certain amount of faith… I don’t know what to believe and that’s all I can say is that I don’t know. And Anybody that claims to know, I think is a little bit nuts.” -William

I’m not saying that I don’t believe we just die and that’s it. I don’t need to believe that there is some gate where I go to be judged for my life’s transgressions at the end of it all. But in a sense, I think that I do need to believe that those people who I have loved that have since passed away are somewhere. That they do not just cease to exist. That comforts me more than anything. And if that means that there is a God out there to accept them into a form of afterlife, whatever that may be, then so be it. In the meantime, I’m going to live my life with compassion and grace to the best of my ability, and I’ll see how it all pans out in the end.