Sunday, March 27, 2005

Reason #1,543,869 That I Will Never Again be a Part of Organized Religion

Aggressive fundamentalism really gets to me. This morning I was watching Larry King Live and they had some yahoo on there quoting the Bible. He's the author of "The Purpose Driven Life" or something, and his God must be really small. I've been doing everything in my power to keep away from the Terri Shaivo issue in the media because it's just too bizarre for me. I don't need that kind of stress in my life -- the kind that comes from wondering what in the HELL George and Jeb Bush (or anyone named Jeb for that matter) are doing in the middle of that very horrific, MEDICAL, PERSONAL situation. Plus, the other day I found CNN on the tube and they were asking people to e-mail in their opinion about her life or death. The American media is too weird. I can't handle it.

So I caught a few minutes of the stupid show, swore off religion for the 10th time this week, and then went off to meet a friend. She's a new Japanese friend and we've spoken on and off for a couple of years, but this was the first time we've gotten together outside of work. She invited me to a kid-themed art show, and while art is totally my thing, I have to admit -- I had a funny feeling about her asking to get together after all this time. I shrugged it off and decided it would be fun.

It was pretty fun-- the art was all about children's fairly tales from around the world. I was interested in the themes that run through all stories no matter where they originate, but I had a funny feeling about some of the just seemed a little weird at times. I couldn't put my finger on it.

Anyway, so I invite her to my house afterwards to hang out and talk. She brought me some birthday treats, which was really nice, and we ate them and caught up. She speaks some English, but an interesting version that I haven't come across before -- while she's trying to think of the English word that she is looking for, she is constantly chattering to herself in Japanese, so it's like a verbal stream-of-consciousness where every fifth word is English. She never takes a breath or a pause between languages or topics. It's very confusing, but I found that I was picking up on quite a bit of Japanese while listening for the English part of the conversation. Anyway, we had fun, but after about three hours (everything is a marathon to these people!!!), she pulled out these magazines and started talking about a certain semi-obscure brand of Buddhism. She said that she is a part of a group that has members all over the world and they actually sponsored the art exhibit. She told me about their Leader (perhaps if she would have called him something other than "Our Leader" it would have been a little less Starship Enterprise/creepy ), and how all other religions seem "crever" -- especially "Cathorics" -- but that hers is the One True Religion. (That's "clever" and "Catholics" for those of you who don't speak Japanese.)

It's so original, isn't it? The One True Religion. The Only Way. Just once I'd like to hear about a religion that doesn't claim to have the only enlightenment. I'm over it.

The conversation continued for another hour before I could steer it away, although not for lack of trying. "Do you have any pictures of your kids?" "How is your job going?" "Any vacation plans this year?" "Can you believe this rain?"

It's all so desperate and crazy. I wish all the converts would just pick on each other and leave those of us who can think for ourselves alone. GO AWAY!!! Does she really think 34 years of a personal process will be wiped away with one suggestion of a New Leader? And if so, is that really the kind of person she wants in her club? I like conversation that stimulates the brain, but frankly, this wasn't going to qualify in a million years. I have my own strongly held beliefs about God. Open up and I'll shove them down your throat. Over it, people. Over it.

(Disclaimer -- in the event this post attracts a few religious freaks, post comments if you must, but if you start talking crazy shit, I'm going to delete it faster than you can say John 3:16.)

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