Musings on religion

As a kid I used to be terrified of Hell and all that went with it. The hot, the torment, the being kept from the people that I loved….

I spent much of my time praying, asking to be forgiven and for God to come into my heart because, yanno, that’s what you must do to avoid hell. That meant that EVERY night before bed, I would pray. And pray. And pray. I frequently would fall asleep before I finished because, unlike my grandmother who “had the Holy Spirit” and was spoken to by God, I never felt God “enter” my heart. If I would say something about this, I’d be instructed to pray harder. I knew I must be doing something wrong. I would pray more in the hopes that I could feel what my Grandma did. God never spoke to me. No matter how much I prayed. I knew I wasn’t a good Christian. Maybe God didn’t want me. Maybe He knew my secret doubts and concerns!

Most anything I would do would make me feel guilty so, of course, I would pray. I’d feel guilty for not praying if I’d forget. I’d feel guilty if I fell asleep before finishing. I’d feel guilty if I listened to “devil music” or read something that might have been “not of God”.

I knew that my sole purpose in life was to serve God. That was also the only eternal purpose as well. It didn’t sound like much fun to me, to be honest. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to spend an eternity worshipping and fearing a divine being. It all honestly sounded a bit twisted, like a controlling boyfriend. I just wanted to live and enjoy life but I was terrified at the thought of burning forever.

My first marriage was mostly because I felt guilty becauseI was having premarital sex, even though I’d been having it for a couple years. Unfortunately, I did so to the detriment of a relationship with someone who I actually loved. He would die before I ever had an opportunity to apologize to him.

Eventually I started questioning things. I figured either I was a bad, unsavable person or something just wasn’t right about what all I’d been told. I was on the fence awhile but then after Elias died, I really began to question things. Especially after getting involved in online support groups for bereaved parents where most of them actually say things like how things happen for a reason and God took their child, etc. How the fuck can anyone love or worship something that would do that to people? Many take comfort in seeing their child again in Heaven one day. I’ll be honest. I’m kind of jealous of them because since I have come to believe that Hell is basically a social construct designed to scare people like me into toeing the line, it would stand to reason that Heaven, being the total opposite of Hell, would be made up as well.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around everything. I still have a lot of guilt. I guess maybe I’m a recovering Christian.

Musings On Those Crazy Duggars

Unless you’ve been living under a rock as of late, you’ve probably heard the revelation that Josh Duggar had an account on Ashley Madison, that married-but-dating site we all love to hate.

According to “sources“, his wife, Anna, is partially blaming herself. I think it’s typical to blame oneself – at least momentarily – when ones partner has stepped out so that, in and of itself, isn’t a newsflash. I think the Duggar family – and possibly hers – blaming her goes without saying. After all, in their cult belief system, anything bad like this can generally be blamed on the woman. It must be so easy to be a fundie man because you’re never 100% accountable for your misdeeds.

Unfortunately, this just further ensures that a) Anna will never leave Josh for a better life, and b) Josh will never really face the reality of what he’s done. After all, when the people you trust the most are blaming your misdeeds on someone else, why should you feel the need to change anything about yourself?

I especially think that Anna will have a hard time healing from this considering that, in this fundie “culture”, women aren’t supposed to be angry or sad. They’re supposed to smile all the time, no matter how they feel inside. Ever notice those fake smiles the Duggar girls always have plastered on? (In case you’re wondering, the best way to tell if a smile is real or fake is by seeing if the eyes crinkle. If the smile reaches the eyes, it’s a genuine smile. If not, they’re faking it.) Healing from something like this without the ability to be angry (and justifiably so) with be very difficult, if not altogether impossible.

Now I’ve nothing against couples that choose to stay together and work through things after one party has cheated. It does seem that the ones that are really successful and able to (eventually) recover are the ones who accept that the cheated did not cause the cheater to cheat, don’t put a timeline on the hurt, and also that the cheater must be 100% accountable for as long as the cheated feels necessary. Oh, and the cheated must be willing to actually forgive because, no joke, as long as the cheated doesn’t feel validated, they will continue to bring up the indiscretions – especially during arguments – and, as long as they continue to be brought up in anger, it’s that much harder for healing to occur.

Just more evidence that the sexual shaming that this family – and others like it – engage in ultimately does more harm than good. Look around the internet at the various blogs and articles by people who lived in this lifestyle. They’re not well-adjusted people. Here’s one of the more recent articles. If you can’t look around the internet or read some books to see how harmful this behavior can be, then you’re just willfully ignorant. If you have looked at them, and dismiss them… well then, I just feel sorry for you.

Not sure what to name this

This was a post that I made elsewhere and it was recommended that I blog it, so that is what I’m doing.

This post actually started out as a comment on the other thread until it sort of didn’t stop once I started typing. Sooooo, rather than clutter up someone else’s thread, I just cut and pasted it here. Please forgive my jumping around… I’m emotional right now, not so much logical.

I, too, am a member of the club that no one asks to join. In 2012, our almost four year old son died unexpectedly in his sleep. We still have no explanation. I have an autopsy report that leaves more questions than answers. We have our suspicions but no way to prove it. Google the Indy Star article on Elias Hause if you want.

I hate the angel references as well… angel, angelversary, the day my ___ got his/her wings, etc. They make me cringe each and every time. Oddly enough, the grief support groups I found on Facebook just wound up annoying me more than anything because the vast majority of them held onto this belief that one day they would be reunited with their deceased love one. I wasn’t too sure what I believed but I didn’t think that the existence of a heaven was a guaranteed thing.

The worst, however, was my then-sil who – that same fucking day he died!! – made the comment, through tears of course, that God must have needed him more than us. I know she “meant well” but that pissed me off. I’d been on the fence for some time but that just pissed me off to no end. I decided right then and there that, fuck any so-called God that could do or would do such a thing to anyone.

Don’t even get me started on people who “mean well”. *eyeroll* Don’t compare the death of your parent or your fucking pet to the death of my son. Just. Fucking. Don’t. While those who had a sibling die come closer, unless you’re a parent who lost a child, or a grandparent who lost a grandchild, you most likely  have ZERO idea what I’m going through. Hell, I don’t profess to know exactly what my husband is going through and vice versa. I just wanted to say to everyone, “Repeat these words after me: ‘I’m so very sorry for your loss’ and that’s it.” From that point on, you can offer a hug or hold me, you can offer to make supper, bring cookies, bring balloons for the kids, but just stop talking at that point because all you’ll do is put your foot in your mouth and piss me off or make me cry. Maybe both.” I never did say that to anyone, of course, but I sure wanted to.

And that whole “loss” thing? Yeah, my son’s not some goddamn car keys that I misplaced. He was my son. He died, for fuck’s sake. Just deal with it; I have to. 

Granted, I was raised super religiously so you can probably imagine the tremendous guilt I feel over my own feelings and thoughts. But, again, I can’t really think of too many worse ways to be punished so….

I will say that, when I expressed this to the minister (my in-law’s pastor) that did the service, he got a bit angry. So much so that he made a point of incorporating into his sermon how this wasn’t God needing Elias more than us, that this was just a tragic happenstance that had nothing whatsoever to do with God. I hadn’t expected him to do that, but it was damned beautiful. 

Anyway, I’m going to end here because I’m falling apart in my freaking office and that’s just not cool.

Belief in God

I was chatting with someone the other day and that was the inspiration for this post.

Do I believe in God? I don’t honestly know. I’ve been struggling with that for a long time.

For several years now I’ve had so many doubts about the existence of a god. Elias’ death hasn’t really resolved anything in that regard. My initial reaction to those that tried to comfort me with how God was taking care of him was that of, what sort of God would take my baby from me? But, that was just a knee-jerk reaction to the situation. Even when I did believe in God, I always believed that He didn’t do things or not do things to us; I always felt that we were essentially a great big science experiment to him, that he never really intervened.

So, no, Elias’ death didn’t change anything for me as far as believing or not believing. It’s something I struggle with almost daily. I wish I knew the answer.

I also envy people who can just believe. I cannot.

After Elias died, I begged and pleaded that it be just a horrific nightmare, that none of it was true. I begged and pleaded that Elias be given back to me. Silly, I know. I can only imagine that’s all normal, just part of the process that one goes through. Obviously none of that happened, not that I truly expected it to.

It all brings me back to the same point when asked about my belief in God. Do I? I just don’t know.