Religion has not become obsolete, by can completely understand why many would think it has. Throughout the history of time on Earth, religions have been the source of many disagreements, lengthy wars, tragedies such as the Crusades, the witch hunts, and the Nazi Holocaust, and caused the mistreatment of many people on this planet. Religion is often divisive, seldom leads to coexistence or peace, and, for the most part, is of no use to mankind whatsoever.
I was once, myself, a very religious person.
I grew up in a born-again Christian fundamentalist church and school and was taught that people such as my father, who did not attend the church, we’re all going to burn in hell for Eternity, because of their sins and their failure to ask God for salvation and devote their lives to Him. This is a very disconcerting thing to hear about your dad when you are about six or seven years old. Not to mention, it is also rather distressing to hear this fate granted to every non-Christian you know, including your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and friends. It was at a very young age when I began, as the REM song says, “losin’ my religion“. By the time I was a teenager, one of the head pastors of the church I grew up in had been arrested, charged, and sent to prison for pedophilia. He had been molesting young girls I knew in my church; one of them was my babysitter. I learned about this when it hit the six o’clock news. Much to my dismay, the congregation of my church did not shun this man or even consider him a bad person. They believed that he was “forgiven” by God, and therefore still meant to be revered. I had a big problem with that concept, and I began to refuse to attend church altogether.
Growing Up Without Religion
Some time went by, and I grew up, perfectly content to have rid my life of religion I became a devout agnostic (sometimes considering myself atheist), and turned my back on all religions altogether. However, deep down I still felt an emptiness where my spirituality once was. I yearned for a higher power to believe in.
Part of the reason for that yearning can be seen in this quote from The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville: “If everything is allowed, we can ask nothing of ourselves and expect nothing of others. There is no reason to combat horror, violence, or injustice. All we can do is give in to nihilism and servility (the former being merely the high-class version of the latter), and hand the world over to the fanatics, and the barbarians. If everything is allowed, then so are terrorism, torture, dictatorship, and genocide.”
It was under this mindset that I began to visit the Unitarian Universalist church, which, actually, is not considered to even be a “church” by some of its members. This religion actually welcomes agnostics, atheists, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and anyone else who is seeking answers and chooses to look into the world of the UUs. I found that this church not only accepted people from all walks of life, unlike the sexist, racist, homophobic, hate-filled churches I grew up in, but they encouraged people to take action on behalf of peace, social justice, feminism, and ending homophobia. I was thrilled at discovering such a religion and decided that it was the only religion that could possibly be right for me.
God loves gays
Not long later, however, I had a Divine Revelation from God. God, as She told me, is actually a woman. She is also black-skinned, lesbian, and very disgusted with the ways in which she has been grossly misrepresented by most of the religions on earth throughout the history of mankind. She told me, in a voice anyone could recognize as the Lord’s, to create a *new* church, which would be called The Church of the Righteous Heathens, and to spread the word about her Truth. God, as it turns out, loves hippies, revolutionaries, and liberals of all types; she also loves everybody else, even those who chose not to believe in Her. God loves gays, which is why She, Herself, chose to be gay, and she is also a radical feminist. She wants to end patriarchy in all its forms, put a stop to racism, and combat homophobia.
So, in summary, religion, as it turns out, is not obsolete after all. While you may be disenchanted with the religions of old, there are a couple of newer faiths which would welcome you, whoever you are, with open arms, and change your vision of God and faith.