Please Stop Throwing Your Bible at Me

Jamaica is not a Christian country. I know people think that the Church is the biggest baddest body on the island, but even though roughly 70% of Jamaicans claim allegiance to Christ, that still leaves at least 30% of us who are Buddhist, Muslim, atheistic and non-religious. To call us “Christian” is mean and cliquish.

If we’re being technical, Christianity isn’t even our religion. Thrust upon us by Spanish/Italian conquistadors and reinforced by centuries of post-colonial fear-mongering, we are clinging to our borrowed robes because now they’re the only robes we know. Before Europe’s God, we were polytheists and spiritualists who were deeply rooted in nature. I’m not complaining that that part of history and herstory is over because religion has to change shape with society. But it does not change the shape of society.

Society is the vessel; religion, merely the contents.

Religion becomes what society needs it to be in order to survive: a guidebook for communal life, an excuse for slavery, the opiate of the masses. When religion stagnantly opposes societal progress, it has lost its most basic function. Its purpose is not to stand in the way of our laws or dictate what we should be teaching our children. We have moved beyond that kind of empirical sovereignty, a realization our churches cannot or will not seem to grasp.

Because religions are largely dedicated to remaining the dominant power. An attack on the “morals of our country” is nothing more than an attack on the influence of Christian values, and Christian leaders are afraid that they will lose the clout they’ve scraped together through years of fire-and-brimstone indoctrination and self-soothing promises of a better life in the hereafter. The “homo agenda” has become the catch-all for rapes, murders, corruption and everything else that is wrong with our country because it is a threat to their control.

(If the church was genuinely concerned about the “moral temperature” of Jamaica, they’d be organizing 25,000 strong rallies to protest the 10,000 cases of child abuse that were reported just last year. But child abuse, unlike sexuality, drives people toward prayer, not to question Christian dogma).

I have no bone to pick with the tenets of any one religion (including Christianity) but the way most followers choose to carry out the principles of their faith leaves much to be desired. But I get a little upset when people quote Scripture first and ask questions later. Because our culture of pointing fingers and guns and Bibles will never solve our problems, but for some reason we haven’t realized that yet.

For us to get anywhere as a people, as a society, we need to have open, honest dialogue about the real evils (poverty, lack of education, discrimination) that plague us. Universal evils, not Christian or upper-class or lower-class evils, need to be the enemy we rally against or we’ll be playing the blame game for a long, long time.

on being evangelised to

you live in a christian country, you can’t hold grudges. it’s in their nature. it’s practically their job. you can’t control what they say to you. all you can control is how you respond. or don’t respond.

i used to get all worked up at seeing evangelicals talking to people in parks or at the library and stuff. you know the types they target: alone, maybe a little sad-looking. as if they can smell a wavering belief system a mile away. i thought, why can’t they pick on someone with a working brain? someone who can match them point for point, who asks more questions than they themselves do.

but that’s not the point, is it? if you’ve already got a concrete belief, then you don’t need what they’re selling. so they offer it to someone who does. and you can’t blame them.

i have had my fair share of being preached to and prayed for and prophecied at. it comes with the territory of not clasping-your-hands-and-closing-your-eyes in a country where this is done at every social gathering. it’s more awkward when it comes from people you know.  because then you have to worry about somehow offending their beliefs while you try and tactfully explain that you think their beliefs are basically bull.

to add insult to their injury, i don’t even have a religion. for christians (and i imagine most religious groups) this is like your spouse not only leaving you, but leaving you and becoming homosexual. actually it’s more like leaving you and then never having sex again. they think i’m missing out on something, and they try to fill that gap with christianity. they cannot fathom not needing to believe in something. but that’s cool. i can understand you, even if you can’t understand me. we can still be friends. i still love you.

but i don’t want to hear about how much jesus loves me because, no offense but, that’s your delusion. and it’s okay. because it’s a cultural thing. i get it. and i don’t want you to preach about the benefits and “truths” of christianity and then call it objectivity because you know about judaism and islam too. that you have chosen only one religion to follow makes you biased in the same way that the man with a favourite son is biased. blindly.

but mostly i’d rather you were a little less intolerant of my tolerance. choosing not to conform to the herd of society is difficult, but not devious.  i’m not here to sabotage your religion. and despite what you may think, i don’t pick on christianity. it’s just always in my face, and i can only comment on what i see. if a jewish/muslim/buddhist/whatever person was getting on my nerves, i’d go off on them too.

evangelists just keep asking for trouble.

If I may step on a few toes

It doesn’t bother me that I live in a country whose values I don’t subscribe to, where we pray before every meeting and not going to church is akin to being a Satanist. Growing up here means I have to put up and shut up, and for the most part I do (because I like Gospel music, and ‘fellowship’ is just a fancy word for ‘socialize’). But I feel like some clarification is necessary.

I am not a Christian.

There, I said it. I don’t have to go to your churches, listen to your prayers or talk about your God. I do these things because despite my inherent evilness in not being a Christian, I actually like it. I will poke fun at Christians and Christianity and religion in general because I think everyone should be able to laugh at themselves, especially me. I’m never 100% sure what I believe in (except fairies!) so every time you ask, you will likely get a different answer. Last year I was agnostic. This year I am a Pantheist. Not being a Christian is not synonymous with atheism. I have never been (and will never be) an atheist, simply because I don’t put that much effort into ascertaining the existence of this God-concept. My God is not your God, but that does not make your God better than mine – what is this, primary school? Nor does it give you the right to tell me with dripping condescension that your God loves me anyway. I will probably laugh.

I’m not by nature a mean person, but when provoked to wrath by the all-too-frequent insensitivity of well-meaning Christians, I will don my anti-proselytizing shield and fight dirty. It’s tolerance or gtfo. Why is there such a big deal about who I mean when I say God anyway? I’m sure he/she/it doesn’t care what I call him/her/it.