Religious behavior being exhibited by the non-religious with addends


There’s a blog I like to read but almost never comment on by a fellow apostate from religion in general that I find as endlessly fascinating as I do disturbing.  Yesterday, after having been too busy to read during the holidays, I went back to her blog to catch up, eagerly reading one blog after another and finding each one both fascinating and disturbing as usual. I couldn’t account for it, so I went back over the blogs just to take note of what exactly was bothering me.

We have a lot in common she and I: our disaffection with religion in general, our feeling that it’s being used as a tool to brainwash the masses into the control of those who enjoy power tripping, that it blocks people from their full spirituality by dictating what their thoughts and feelings are supposed to be as opposed to what they actually are, that reincarnation is real, as are the lines of power between all things that some of us refer to as magic.  She doesn’t call it “magic,” but she refers to it all the same.  But none of this bothered me.  Why should it?  No, it was something else.

You know those little chapbooks the Seventh Day Adventists like to pass out?  Well, I was never a member of their church; never even admired it really, but their chapbooks were nonetheless entertaining to me for many years.  The stories and pictures in them were… I don’t know.  It felt a little like reading short, bright, fantasy tales.  So yeah, I read a lot of those cover to cover and was even friendly to the Seventh Day Adventist evangelists even though I tend to be unfriendly to evangelists in general, the former being friendly and full of entertaining ideas and the latter just insulting and borish.  Even so, I eventually stopped finding them entertaining as I grew older because I started seeing them as simply silly and you have to have some suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy a story, you know?  Okay, maybe not, but I thought of that when I was trying to think why my fellow apostate’s blog was bugging me.  It was because on the surface it campaigned against religion while all the while campaigning for what sounded a lot like Seven Day Adventism, even to the terms being used like “Old Testament prophecy,” “The Daughter of Zion,” “The Children of God….”  It also sounded as though she were setting herself up to be a prophetess based on an OT prophesy with the aim of starting a religion of her own.

My first reaction to that was to wonder if there was some sort of psychological condition resulting in the non-religious exhibiting religious behaviors.  I actually Googled this and came up with nothing.  Even so, I suspect it may amount to nothing more than looking for or wanting some sort of special status like being a “Chosen One,” “Charmed Ones,” or “The Select;” somehow being the One who’s “right” when everyone else is “wrong.”

I can understand the comfort of trying to convince oneself of that when so much in life is flat out overwhelming and more for some than others.  I’m sure it has more to do with personality type than any religion or lack of one.  Not something to blame anyone for really.  You’re either totally comfortable with who and what you are or, like the rest of us, you mostly are or mostly aren’t.

My second reaction was one of self-examination.  If I’m seeing this in her, could it be a reflection of something that’s in me?  I really would NOT want to start a religion as I think there are more than enough in the world already, but I realize I talk about religion a lot.  I can’t ignore its effects on those around me, myself, or the world in general.  It’s an ignore-at-your-peril kind of thing.  It really is.

My third reaction, was to look up that Daughter of Zion thing, which is what I should have done in the first place since it was so obviously a religious term more than any other she’d used.  Turns out it’s a favorite for the Seventh Day Adventists; hence my funny feeling about it.

Having found that, I read some of their current stuff about that and this Daughter(s) of Zion thing is kind of a new wave trend among them.  I think it’s new anyway.  It’s prophesied in the Old Testament as a path away from traditional religion to a more loving personal relationship, through these chosen women, between god and man…

I am soooooo going to try and leave that one alone.

Okay.  Try over.

…one not blocked by power mongering religious leaders dictating thoughts.

We are not dictating your thoughts.  Just think what we tell you to.

This is where my thoughts go all choppy little death and seeing again a religious sentiment expressed to what are apparently non-religious demands.

Are they in me?  Hmmmmm.  I don’t think so.  But I like the idea.  I think it’s progress of a sort; not for me, but for the world as a whole.

Okay, I realize there is one other thing that’s bothering me about this: the sense of elitist separatism embedded in the terms “Daughter(s) of Zion” and “Children of God.”  But even so: little steps, little steps….

Things I count progress for the world:

1. Equal rights for Americans regardless of race or creed or gender or sexual proclivities.

2.  The military finally saying “We’re pulling out of Iraq and we’re not going back.  Let them fix their own problems.  This is between Iraqis; not us and them.

3.  Syrian’s finally saying “ENOUGH!” to Al Qaeda.  Telling them to stop fomenting religious friction and put down their arms or they will be eradicated there.

4.  People sharing ideas on the Internet that religions, politics, nationality, and distance can no longer curtail.  People that never would have talked to each other, even met, are talking to each other now.  They are acknowledging one another in ways previously unthought of.

5.  The Afghan women and girls beginning to “No” to forced marriage and suicide martyr belts being foisted on them.

6.  A religion that claims to be non-religious saying, okay enough with the BS.  Time to examine our own hearts and minds and pursue our own spirituality without being told what to think and do and say… what’s okay; what’s not.

7.  Growing respect for ecological, an accepting of our responsibility to the earth itself.  This is a slow process, but if you look at how it was in the 1950s compared to now, you can see we’ve come a long way.  Back then, it was no big deal, for instance, for people to toss their garbage on the side of the road or just anywhere in public parks.  There was no fine for it and few considered there to be anything wrong with doing so.

8.  Growing health consciousness.  The progress here with the last century has been immense.

I don’t know.  A lot can go wrong between religion and spirituality and the world, but there’s also a lot that can go right.  I think the people of the world are probably better off thinking independently but standing up together for the things that really count.

Oh.  Side thought here:  that religious guy that’s hunger fasting against gay marriage is pretty silly.  He’s protesting against the same civil rights for others as for himself?  Idiot.  I just hope he doesn’t starve himself to death.  What a dumb way that would be to go.  Sorry.  It just would be.  It’s so crazy!

Gotta find the way to keep loving this crazy world though; wackos and all.  Right?

Something else just occurred to me.  If Seven Day Adventists, or members of ANY religion are indeed going through some sort of apostasy movement that does not involve actually leaving their organized belief structures behind, there’s a reason for that.  The same reason that caused Buddhism to splinter out of Hinduism, Christianity to splinter out of Judaism, Protestantism to splinter out of Catholicism, Satanism to splinter out of Baptist, Catholic, and Pentecostal churches in the American Bible Belt, Ba’Haism to to splinter out of Shia Islamism, cults to splinter out of innumerable sects and religions, and apostates to leave any and all.  Can anyone else here guess what I’m getting at?

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About Ampbreia

I'm an ex-Pentacostal, ex-Muslim, ecclectic Agnostic with slightly Wiccan leanings. I am not affiliated with any organized religion or political platform, but I do believe in magic and all things wise and wonderful. I work as an admin in a calibration lab. I've published 2 books so far this year: Lost in Foreign Passions: Love and betrayal, passion and loss in the heart of an alien land (a memoir of my time as a Muslimah and living in Iran for a year), written under my previous married name, Debra Kamza, and Dream Lover (a paranormal romance, the tale of witch that summons her favorite character out of a Bewitched spin-off and the actor who plays him as well). I'm constantly writing stories and poems, thoughts and dreams, and quite a few opinions - many of which are not popular but oh well. Bite me. I'm interested in art, animals, the paranormal, and people. I love to dance, all sorts, but have been studying belly dance since 2006 and LOVE it! I love anime too and love dressing up and going to conventions. My writing runs the gummut of historical, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and erotica. Beware: I may not be safe reading for work. Just saying....
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16 Responses to Religious behavior being exhibited by the non-religious with addends

  1. As a person of faith, I see my first duty as to bring myself to account, each day. A parallel step is to investigate truth for myself, without anyone pointing to pages and paragraphs.

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  2. whyzat says:

    Interesting thoughts.

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    • ampbreia says:

      Thank you… I think. I have a vague memory of a comedian portraying a Nazi on Laugh-In way back when who used to say in a German accent, “Hmmmmm. Very Interesting. But CRAZY!” LOL. I won’t blame you if it’s like that for you.

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  3. jr cline says:

    Great post and a lot to think about.
    I’m with you on the love thing. I just keep trying to love it all and bring peace and help where and when I can.

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  4. nciteful says:

    Lots of food for thought. You make so many points. Some I agree with. Some I don’t. No way to address them all here. Besides, I’ve grown too old for diatribes. That said…

    Religion and Faith are two distinct things.

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  5. ampbreia says:

    I wouldn’t expect anyone to agree with everything and that’s okay. Differences in opinion make life interesting. They do not have to make it a war. We are all having individual experiences here. And I agree with you about religion faith as far as being two different things. To me, I would call one an institution and the other an optimistic feeling of certainty in the unseen/unseeable. But I’m curious: how are they distinct to you?

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  6. I like your #6…that’s something I’ve thought a lot about over the past few years. Religion often divides, causes hurt, causes fighting (and worse)…so I struggle with it’s benefits. And it seems like a lot of religions were initiated by men, with men calling the shots.
    I admire your brain and your wisdom. I don’t often get into religious discussions or debates with radical religious people anymore…as they are not gonna’ change my mind and I’m not out to try to change theirs. I would like it if we could seek to love, respect, and be kind to each other whether we are religious or not. 🙂
    This post has given me some stuff to think about. Thank you!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

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    • ampbreia says:

      Yep. Religious discussions can be mine fields between some people but they don’t have to be. We can always respectfully agree to disagree. Right? And big HUGS back!

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      • I agree with you! But, I’ve met religious and non-religious people who just want to argue, name call, etc. I’ve seen them get very vicious. I don’t find any value in that. I wish people could agree to disagree…and then share points or reasons why they think the way they do. I love learning from others…I have an open-mind…but I don’t want to discuss if they just want to argue.
        I sure enjoy your posts!
        More HUGS!!! 🙂

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  7. I really enjoyed your musings. I’m impressed that you have the self-awareness to ask some of those questions. That’s a rare gift. Just as a note, I’ve studied all the world’s major religions and many of the minor ones as well as many ancient mythologies which were once active religions. I’ve paid careful attention to how religion develops and how it fits into our psychology.

    My conclusion based on the evidence is that it’s not possible to avoid having a religion in a functional sense, though some people do not have one to which they explicitly adhere. In most cases, people who describe themselves as irreligious simply treat an odd amalgam of their political ideology, philosophical assumptions and moral intuitions as a religion. They usually don’t think of it as such, of course, because it doesn’t fit into any of the established religious traditions. It’s exceedingly common for people who believe that they are engaged in anti-religious behaviors to demonstrate what looks like (and is in fact) religious behaviors of their own.

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    • ampbreia says:

      I think you have something there. Too many’s the time I’ve heard someone belonging to an organized religion belittle someone who doesn’t (agnostic like me or an “aetheist”) by saying they “don’t believe in anything.” Not so. Everyone believes in SOMEthing. I guess it could be called a religion even if it’s a religion of one. I feel, though, that a religion for one is truer that a religion for many. One size does not fit all. Too often when you’re part of a religion for many, you feel obligated to agree with many things you’re own true feelings run counter to, resulting in cognitive dissonance.

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      • I quite agree that everyone believes in something. Most atheists and agnostics I’ve encountered are scientific realists (a view which has a lot of beliefs entailed in it), and they usually have some sort of moral framework. The moral framework is either borrowed from religions and divorced of it’s ontological underpinnings or something similar to Sam Harris’ attempt to create a purely naturalistic moral framework.

        That’s an interesting thought about having your own customized religion. I suspect that makes sense to a lot of people in Western commercialized countries where more and more products in our lives are customizable to us and mold themselves to our convenience.

        I’ll offer a counterpoint for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. The most useful function of a religion is that it provides a moral compass, a standard of behavior which challenges our natural inclinations and calls us out of ourselves and away from egotistical desires to practice altruistic behaviors. Any religion that doesn’t challenge your feelings and create some dissonance or disequilibrium for you to work through isn’t doing its job.

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  8. Pingback: Side Thoughts and Dreams | Ampbreia's space

  9. Ampbreia says:

    That was your idea nousapeironlogos and I agree with it. It explains a lot. However I do not agree with your counterpoint at all. It has been my impression that religion, if anything, turns the moral compass off in certain types of people.

    These types are the ones who are very strictly raised in a religion or join one just to fit in. They don’t ask enough questions. They’re willing to be told what to think and feel. They’re crowd followers. When they’re used to some authority (be it Bible, Mullah, Koran, or preacher) doing their thinking for them, often consulting on every issue (Shia Muslims do this a LOT and so do Catholics and Baptists to name a few), they stop thinking for themselves. Their brains get lazy and their moral instincts get weak.

    What’s more, the “authority figures” at the heads of these religious organizations tend to be power mongering. Not all… but enough to get the world embroiled in wars and social schisms of all sorts. I don’t think that’s a good thing and all.

    All that said, I don’t believe anyone needs organized religion to have a moral compass. I’ve heard that a lot from religious types and have always considered it insulting.

    Sorry to wax so windy on this subject. It’s a bit of a hot button for me.

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