Religion, Christianity, Islam and Me | Miscellaneous Diary Point
So, here’s my deal with Christianity and Religion. Please, do not take offence. I grew up around Christians, in the Church. Christianity is the only thing people knew and Jesus is all they’d worship. Some children grow up in such environment, and remain Christian. I was too super self-conscious about the influence of Christianity surrounding me, and never considered myself Christian. I just simply did not believe, and understood there were many other theories, explanations, and so forth in the world. I thought it frankly weird, and an extremely simpleton religion founded on a creed, that made absolutely no sense, but which contained other wisdom that appealed to the good in us. This is just how it was for me, and I never mean to hurt people’s feelings about it. I loved science, mythology, folklore, cultures. I studied these things very early and was drawn to questions about the mysteries of life and death broadly, specifically death, the spectral and the mental (psychological). I was sensitive to things, and kept it to myself. Why? Because, the Christians associated these things with evil and demons. For me, these answers were weak. I needed to absolutely know what was what, while others just believed. Even if I experienced strange things, I still needed to pull the curtain on it. That is how my mind operated, and people often made me seem strange for this. It sees patterns, and tries to understand the processes in how something is built, how it functions, and that went for everything, no matter if it was about astronomy, or supernaturalism. No one would adequately answer my questions. For thirteen years as a child til my teens, I had been under the delusion that the Bible was the greatest piece of literature there ever was known to mankind. Surely, it should be. It is seen that way, even in scholarship. I should listen to the professionals you’d think. But, no. One day, I sat down to read the Bible. I was thirteen. The day I sat there and read many pages of the Bible from the Torah into the New Testament, I clamped shut the book, and declared myself an “Atheist.” I was mortified by what I wrote. I thought, “if this is God, I still wouldn’t believe in this deity. I’d rather go to Hell. I know I am going to Hell.” I had rejected Christianity all my life, but only had just been learning things about Atheism at the time, nevertheless, because of the over-arching influence of Christianity, I genuinely thought after uttering before myself, “I’m atheist,” that I will have to live my life knowing I might go to Hell for not acknowledging the existence of God, and Jesus – “His” supposed “Son.” This led me away from Philosophy as I got older. I did not have a real understanding about what is morality and ethics. I had to learn these and read theories and so forth. But until then, my entire life, I operated without a moral compass, but on instinct. I lacked self-discipline in the real sense I understand today. Now, to accept Christianity, or Islam meant rejection of all other things; and I really explored into that and dissected it to the point, not a soul on this earth could persuade me, unless I decided for myself, and gave into the fact I will be alone in this world if I’m not part of the biggest “team” in the room. I could “settle down” in a religion, stop fighting history, and just give in. It’ll make it easier for the women in my life too, because they demanded a man apart of their tradition. I thought too much. I was told, that I hated Jesus, but I didn’t. I just simply didn’t believe in worshiping him, and wasn’t sure he even existed; and the fact the great truth billions believed was at the root of our existence depended on him seemed an absurdity to me. The prospect of joining a religion began to look like my only choice and chance for acceptance when I got into my mid-adult years. It’ll make me less confusing for my friends, I thought. In the end, it made me feel more miserable and alone. I needed a new perspective on how to see all this. Talking about this to people was always hard, because it offended some people, when you’re young and you just want people to relate to you. There was nobody I felt understood me. I remember the last day my dad stopped taking me to Church as mandatory. He asked did I want to go, and I said “no” and stayed in bed. I was still in my teens. My older brother said to me, “you’re not into that stuff, I can tell.” See, my older brother understood, without saying anything much after. At that time, I was learning about evolutionary theory and so forth. Religion and Mythology didn’t interest me anymore. I completely abandoned Religion, and even became a little annoying in my atheism. I however changed, and when I had gotten to college, I took some religious studies classes out of curiosity and learned there was more to Religion in History and I can blend this with my interests in Politics. So, I went to a Catholic university, and many years I tried to understand Christianity. I didn’t worship Jesus as the “Son of God.” I just saw him as a reformer introducing his own innovations, and though considering the Passion as mythical, I related to his suffering and death; though from other perspectives, this Jesus is a fraud Messiah. I do not believe in Messiahs. I felt, if he existed today, Christians would still kill him. Everyone would quite crucify him really. He’d be “canceled.” Why would a semi-ascetic mystic be concerned with this toxic modern world. He’d upset Conservatives and Liberals. Though, I have never said anything negative about Jesus, I do really believe all that. If he lived today, he would be hated by the Christians and his worshipers themselves; or maybe more frighteningly, he’d absolutely believe he was a Messiah. Say, he could even do true magic, and said, “worship me” — I still would not worship him, and some people do not seem to understand how adamant of a position of mines that is. I do not worship men, women, deities, myself nor demons, which means I do not see people as “Queens” and “Kings.” I try to complex-proof myself as much as possible, so even the concept of the “divine spark” has nothing to do with self-worship, or replacing God with self. My view about the whole concept of worshiping is different, and therefore this changes the very idea and function of what prayer is. I never make external petitions or invocations to gods, and this includes the concept of “God” with the capital G, which also means I do not believe there is a God, nor that there is a God that listens to prayers. Quite frankly, not just from an atheist viewpoint, from an occult viewpoint, that is disturbing, unless you were one of those “occultists” that engaged in evoking. Nevertheless, the name Jesus and the Bible is used like a magical talisman, to invoke God to listen and perform for us mortals. As to Islam, I was already tired of feeling left out, alone and misunderstood being non-Christian. There are many reasons Islam appealed to me more than other religions, because of the rich history and schools of thought it seemed to represent, among other things that would be difficult to fully elaborate on here. But then, that is when I realized, there were important aspects to the creed that I did not accept, and I also at the time had experienced a bad break-up before it and was battling depression during that relationship and after that I was fighting, which made that relationship difficult for me, as I had no idea what was happening to me. I did not have a great relationship with my family at the time, and I dedicated my time after that relationship when I moved back from across the country to fix my relationship with my family, which did happen, and I am a better person today for it.
Now, you’d think my dark experience would have made me 100x more religious. I wasn’t engaged in “occult” practices, which would actually be “goetia” to be technical, and not the broad term Christians or the Bible uses — “occult” (as a synonym for evil, dark things). These strange things have hung over me all my life, which led me to try and find the truth about it all. It was more than depression. It was unnatural, and I could only describe it as a months long case of possession, because the shit was honestly the most frightening thing I’ve been through. It made me feel at that time everything religious people told me often in my life was right, and that I deserved what was happening to me. It made me more depressed thinking about it. My fears were manifesting in reality. I felt presences all around me, coming in and out of my space. I would pray, and my prayers were so intensified, the atmosphere and sense of perception would wholly change. I would hear bells in the distance. I felt challenged by a presence when I prayed, that tried to disturb my concentration. The bells is what broke my concentration gradually, as the sensation of being lifted or elated stopped and my mind chased the sound of the bells. I suffered from numerous sleep paralysis bouts, and repetitious dreams of a particular woman, that got closer to me in each dream until she did get to me, on a bus driving into nowhere pitch darkness leaned onto my shoulder. It was strange. I had awoken and felt utterly deprived of energy, which left me open to my most frightening experience. The only thing that got me out of this long fight was the thought of my family, and certain mental techniques that immediately gave me advantages over the experiences to conquer my fears and the illusions. Part of that was innovation and survivalist; and the other, theoretical. I took from what I only knew and learned through readings of Christian spiritual exercises from the Desert Fathers (Christianity) and Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defense. There was no time. Also, I imagined Christ in a Gnostic way, not as a being external to me. It was desperation. I could not turn to anything external, when it felt external things were already attacking me. It was unsafe to just open my perception up. So I looked for strength within, feeling for my compassion of the world, and most importantly thereafter visualizing a budding flower from within. As I did this, a blinding light grew from within and illuminated my mental darkness, and eliminated the dark presence that was consuming me. I did this twice. I had to accomplish this twice. It was such a dire moment of a frightening experience of being consumed or absorbed into a black hole within myself as if I was going to be lost and entrapped forever. In that moment all my skepticism and rational theories didn’t matter. Before that happened, my life flashed before me like a kaleidoscope and my body was in tears, while mentally dissociated. My family flashed before me, and the thought of losing them gave me a profound strength. I felt attacked, because the presence I had been feeling for nights, no longer was part of my sleep paralysis, but an image of its face flashed mentally to me sending me into shock, while I felt the presence surround and rush toward me, which led to the bout. I was losing myself, because my brain was attacking itself. It was something so incredibly bizarre. I could have become completely mental and lost. When I say, it was truly frightening, it was exactly the experience of the character Quinn Brenner in the third installment of Insidious. It is something I only told two of my close Muslim friends about. This was six years ago. People see me as a very rational person, shocked I would entertain any religious ideas, so when I say things like this, it comes as a shock. Today, I can try and put it in psychological terms, but in the moment, it felt like a real survival. I have gone through most of my life believing something was wrong with my brain, because I have experienced the feeling of a presence watching me since youth. As a child, I always experienced nightmares. My first ever of such experiences was being taken by a group of large bug-eyed beings, touching me, and I was four. I was a scared little child, and my older brothers and older step-sister (at the time) would use these scary stories and play the Hide-and-Seek game, and I didn’t want to play, because I didn’t want to tell them how sensitive I was to those experiences. I kept it to myself, while hating having the experiences, so much that I tried to just understand them. The psychological explanations always seemed adequate, because it allowed me to actually go through a process of figuring out why the brain operates this way, and how we can be tricked by the mind. When I was older and took tests, doctors told me, my brain scans showed me to be “perfectly healthy.” Every doctor tells me that. Like the last time I took a hearing test, and they told me I have an abnormal high degree of hearing. Yes, I practice what I could only describe as hearing sounds within sounds. But to get back to Islam, my issues with religion is rooted in Philosophy and Theology. People speak of establishing relationships with God. For me, I am not establishing a relationship with any entity. There is a difference. I remove the idea of God as an entity in any particular space or time, completely. This does not mean opening yourself up to any and everything. There is a discriminate difference you will only learn by studying the experience of meditation and prayer. I lack a preconceived notion, image, concept, or idea about where this God is or might be. This is also a protective measure, a technique to ward off or protect the integrity of mind, which works. You are supposed to investigate into the very experience itself, discriminating, feeling, and figuring out. As to technical matters, the idea of making myself a minority within a minority within a minority in Islam seemed placing a needless burden on me. I was not strong enough on my own, because I wanted friends, but I had a problem with trusting people. See, the issue. It was the idea, from experience, that my views no matter where I went were just heretical positions. People always disagreed with me, and I always disagreed with them. There were schools within Islam I related to, but this did not feel sufficient. Why continue to put myself through trouble with people? I’m Black, I’m queer (though only sexually attracted to women), which by the way is no new secret to any of my close friends. But, you know how that is — people’s assumptions, and fears myself when I was younger how women would take that used to bother me. I grew confidently out of worrying what anyone thought about that though. It just felt annoying and constricting boxing myself in boxes within boxes trying to “live my truth.” I just hungered for knowledge of the world, and not the bigotry and evil I felt often came from religion or was permitted by it, and not just done in the name of religion.
I am trying to speak honestly without holding my tongue. The Christology of Christianity made absolutely no sense to me, and over and over I say, “how could such a religion have made it this far?” So, I tried to understand. And that is not a simple question. There are many reasons, and it wasn’t because a particular god decided it. I’ve attended more Theological Seminary lectures than you can count. When I would go into the pew, or a Catholic mass, college friends would say, “I didn’t know you’d be at a place like this!” People read my stuff, and think I absolutely loathe Christianity. That I hate it. I don’t hate it. I am honestly, jealous of it. Jealousy is one of the Seven Sins. No, really, I’m baffled might be the better term, as to why I live in such a timeline. It doesn’t feel as if things should be this way, but that is how it has turned out. I’ve eye-balled Biblical literature more than any other religion I’ve studied. I try to understand Christianity, and get a better perspective on it, outside of the purely negative view of its historical trajectory, or the purely positive mythical and romantic view that says, Christianity succeeded, because “God” made it succeed. As I had said before, it is just absurd that it would succeed purely based on its theology. Its theology is extremely basic. ‘Jesus is the Son of God, and came to Earth to suffer and sacrifice himself for the sins committed by Adam and Eve. Worship Jesus and you will be saved.’ It sounds like an utter, complete bastardization of lore from the ancient theology of various Mysteries. I’m not thinking about arguments about why Christendom was so great, and why we need to make “Christianity Great Again.” I’m trying to get a clearer picture about the influence, the past and future of Christianity on human history, and the more I study, the more it feels like an obstruction towards real investigation and understanding our past. This whole thing Christians and Muslims have, where they try and portray the ancient world as lost in filth, mere idolatry and immoral heathenism, while their era of domination was marked by cleanliness, beauty and moral advancement is problematic to understanding what will be the ‘future of Religion’ in human affairs. The decline, or the perceived modern persecution of Christians afraid of a future Islamized Western civilization has brought about the rise of certain disturbing forces. If I could add one last thing, for me it is this with religion in general. Religion has ready-made answers to questions. Religion also often obstructs you from answers and investigation into flaws and fallacies. Not even the New Testament and the words attributed to Jesus are free from fallacy, stupid and messed-up things said, when it supposedly comes from the mouth of a perfect God. The Bible is the product of humans, not a god. Christianity never answered my deepest questions. Instead, it tries to fill me with hopes, but it does not satisfy me. I am interested in investigating, whereas religion comes ready-made with answers. It is simply a case of religion providing mistaken explanations for things to it, which remain unknown. Whereas, I believe there are other explanations, for which we have not developed better ways in understanding. And religion complicates it, because people develop rituals and worship the unknown, the hidden innumerable worlds and space which surrounds us and composes our biological makeup. I’m no expert, but I’ve tried to understand, and all my life, people have made it seem I was in the way for questioning their treasured beliefs. It is not about you. I’m just a hound trying to piece an incredibly large puzzle together. “Jesus is the truth and the way!” has long been counted out as that missing piece. And I found that many times, that Christians will never accept the idea of considering Jesus an adept within a history of many men of similar stature, because he is considered unique and the Son of God. No matter how much it is explained to me, it just does not sound right, and some people can’t understand that. A Muslim would be inclined of course to understand my position. And when I speak of Christianity, I speak from a perspective a Jew might understand as well, that to majority of Christians would be identified as error or heresy. You see these differences, because though I am not Christian, the way in which I have made sense of Christianity is through schools of thought considered heretical and non-Nicene. Many have smiled before me when proselytizing, but when their efforts failed, they turned quickly into frustrated demons, and I don’t deal with people like that. It has been a boon to my sanity. Many have told me I am lost. Do you think I am lost? I have been strengthened plenty times fold by these challenges.