Many years ago I worked as a sales manager at a transport company. One day I was spending time in the field with one of my new salespeople. In the car between appointments, talk somehow turned to religion and she started telling me about being reborn, and how Jesus saved her.
Fair enough, I thought. Jesus had a reputation for doing that. Cool.
She then went on to tell me that she thought me a good man: caring, thoughtful, a good trainer, great listener and all that.
I thanked her and tried moving on but that’s when she switched gears on me and launched into the, BUT you need to be saved too, admonition and reproof sermon.
That was the first time I’d experienced the fervor and zeal of a full-blown, born again, loony tune.
The real worry was she went from complementary to critical-serious so quick she made Usain Bolt look like a garden snail. I could tell she was serious by the telltale bulge of both eyes, the fast reddening cheeks and spittle forming around the corners of the mouth.
Unless I stopped sinning right now, gave my life over to Jesus, got onto the path and started drinking from the well, I was going to be a contemptible failure in this life! And that was the good news!
After death was when the real pain and torment was going to kick in. I was going to be Satan’s bitch in the fiery pits of hell for like, EVER! An experience that would make Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen nightmare seem like a dreamy moonlight stroll with a fluffy souffle in hand.
In the end I had to firmly remind the women possessed by love and faith that ours was a business relationship and there would be no more talk about religion. Ever.
She didn’t stay with the company very long. I can’t recall the reason she gave for leaving but I’m thinking that perhaps working for a heathen boss didn’t sit well.
Just for the record, let me say that I have no issue with people opting to follow a religion. As far as I’m concerned it’s all about Live and Let Live.
Furthermore, it is a fact that many find comfort and a level of peace within the various religious dogmata. To those folks their religion is it. And so be it. People have a right to believe whatever they want and practice whatever they like. It would be kinda neighborly though if they saw fit to offer others equal opportunity and respect.
Unfortunately far too often religious people want to force-feed their beliefs down others throats. Remember the missionaries? The Middle East right now, the Spanish Inquisition? The pesky folks door knocking with the good book in hand?
Granted, religions like Buddhism and Taoism are not in the same league of torment, viciousness and obsession as Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their various offshoots, however, religion by design and objective is neither freedom focused or spiritual.
The moment someone says they are religious the very first question to pop into mind is, which religion? There is something profoundly wrong with that and the reason religion rouses rancor rather than redemption.
For something that professes to heal and unite, religion in reality divides, fractures and engenders deep hatreds.
The funny thing is every religion will tell you that there is only one god. Theirs. And the way to prove it, gods must go to war! Unfortunately when gods go to war, it’s the people that do the suffering and the dying. You don’t hear about too many deities with missing limbs, wheelchairs and suffering posttraumatic stress disorder. Or politicians or priests for that matter.
Religions are big on preaching and proclaiming love and peace, as core tenets but slip as easily into murder and persecution as a foot slips into a favourite well-worn slipper.
Equality is another fundamental principle, as long as you have a penis and a beard and aren’t black. Or at least a penis; everyone knows women folk just aren’t up to it, right?
If you’re a believer and an asshole, and beg forgiveness, it’s okay, you’ll be forgiven. If you’re a relatively decent human but an atheist, well, you’ll be joining me down in the furnace room, dancing in the flames with the horny dude. According to my born-again buddy.
Funniest thing is, these folks don’t want to understand that religion killed Jesus. Think on that for a while, all you born-again-full-of-love-and-compassion folks. One of the finest spiritual teachers ever, killed by religious zombies.
Comparing religion with spirituality is like comparing headstones with love-stones. One buries you down deep, the other lifts you into love and divinity. Shouldn’t be a difficult choice.
See you on the bright side.