Sunday Sermon [Fundamentalism]: Gimme Some of that Old Time Hand-Me-Down Religion!

Man is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his ideology isn’t straight. — Mark Twain

What I find interesting when confronted by “holy rollers” is that it always comes down to this: I’m going to hell for daring to challenge their beliefs. It is common for someone to state unequivocably that (for my sake) I had better be right, because (presumably) God is gonna have his vengeance on my blaspheming ass! LOL! It has been my experience that “true believers” are more interested in defending dogma rather than actually living what they purport to believe. If you’re a Christian and you find satisfaction in your belief that your God will sentence me to a hereafter of eternal damnation, then what kind of Christian are you?

Beliefs can be a ma’fucca some times… SMDH

Personally, I do a “belief spring cleaning” at least once a year as a matter of habit. What that means is that I regularly taken an inventory of my beliefs and dump the ones that have no real foundation. Now, this is no easy feat. Over the years, I have had to throw away some really cherished beliefs. One such belief was my belief in me! I used to believe that “Eddie” existed, but when I sat down to look for “Eddie,” I couldn’t find him. What I found instead, when I looked closely while suspending my belief, was an on-going process — a series of beliefs — that I cobbled together to create this entity we’ve all agreed to call “Eddie” (as well as some other choice names). In fact, what I found was an amalgam of defense mechanisms, beliefs, fears, personality quirks, that if you ran it really fast, looked like what I consider my personality — or “Eddie.” It’s a lot like a film. A film gives the viewer the illusion of movement and substance because the individual frames move at a very fast rate through the projector.

But when I sat down and slowed down, suspended my belief system, what I saw wasn’t “Eddie,” but a bunch of different components that added up to what I call my personality or “Eddie.”

At first that was a fucked up revelation. How could it be that I don’t exist?!! I must be seeing things wrong, I surmised to myself, so I began researching this. After all, I had worked very hard and was very much attached to the “Eddie” I had created.

But nowhere could I find the basis of Eddie. The brain/ mind has no specific function that creates a personality — an “Eddie.” There’s no central processing area in the brain responsible for “Eddie.” It’s all made up! At first, this was a very scary revelation. I mean, how will “Eddie” go to heaven if there is no “Eddie”? But then, upon further reflection, I realized that this kinda/ sorta liberated me. I mean if “Eddie” was something I made up as a way to cope with life, then that meant I didn’t have to defend myself as much. “Eddie” was a story I made up in order to explain shit, but it wasn’t really who I was. Sure, I use the construct “Eddie” for stuff like paying the rent and crossing the street, but “Eddie” is still just a story, a movie I made up.

And that’s how I lost “Eddie.” Or my belief in it.

Another belief I lost early on was the hand-me-down belief in a God that lived in the sky somewhere and who either punished or rewarded you according to your behavior. That one was a lot easier than losing “Eddie.” I realized that belief in Divine Hierarchy that needed to be petitioned in order to curry favor was pretty much juvenile to me. And that shit about the world being created in seven days? Yeah right! I lost that one when I was about seven or eight years old (and got in trouble for it!). And why he gotta be a man?!! What’s up with that? Why can’t God look like Halle Berry?!! What I came to experience and realize was that we’re all part of the Divine Spark, that God isn’t somewhere out there, but here inside of me (and everyone else). And some day, even that belief will be discarded!

Any hand-me-down belief system is a subtle appeal to your deepest fears and longings. It’s like a parasite that wraps itself around your mind — almost like a demonic possession.

Don’t get me wrong, certain belief systems contain important truths, questions, and sometimes they even contain answers. Yet, at a very deep level, they are not your truths, questions, or answers. An unquestioned belief system is like eating free bread, it only masks the real hunger we have for spiritual fulfillment. This basic human hunger can only be satisfied by our own efforts, by the planting and cultivation of our questions, by the harvesting of our own answers, and by coming to our own truths. Only then will you earn the right to live consciously, mindfully, and call yourself truly alive.

Blind faith is, well… blind.

Hand-me-down beliefs are a lot like spiritual handouts: easy junk-food offered to us by outdated belief systems and thought constellations that keep us dependent on the spiritual dole, rendering us incapable of fending for ourselves, incapable of becoming who we really are. If we, in our thirst for spirituality, agree to drink the syrupy-sweet Kool-Aid of guilt, shame, and fear those in control serve us, we will live as zombies — alive but dead.

Face it, most belief systems are the rotted remains of what one person did in deliberation and mindfulness for themselves. Will you be content to live on the rotted meat of their long-lost labors?

The unexamined life is a second-hand life. It is second hand because it is dependent on other things for meaning. Take away the hand-me-down beliefs, and you take away meaning. An examined life is meaningful because it is the examination and personal exploration that gives it meaning and grants dignity. Do you really believe in or want off-the-shelf, one-size fits-all truths, or are you going to make your own?

The choice has always been yours.