Dearly beloved members of the First (and Only) Church of Hook, we gathered here today to acknowledge and pay tribute to all forms of organized, and even unorganized, worship and its place in our lives.
I shall now pause for a moment, as 90% of you click away and see what’s new on YouTube and any of the other “Tube” sights that shall remain nameless….
All done? Good, then we’ll continue.
I realize religion is one of those hot-button topics that people usually advise other people to avoid at social gatherings so as to avoid someone getting a shrimp fork in the temple, but you know me, right? I don’t give a toss who I offend, and it usually works out pretty well. For me, at least.
So that’s why I’ve decided to forgo my personal feelings on religion and acknowledge the positive effects it can have on a person who is struggling with life’s many challenges.
My wife once had an Uncle Johnny who swore belonging to a church saved him from remaining on a path of self-destruction. Indeed, I’ve heard the stories over the years about the path he was once on as a young husband and father and he surely would’ve never have made it to his golden years if he hadn’t found an anchor to keep him from drifting away.
For some the bonds of family are enough. For others, it can be something as seemingly-simple as a dedicated exercise regiment, organized sports, writing, painting, or even underwater basket-weaving.
But for millions of mammals the secret to a happy, stable life involves chewing a thin, bland wafer and drinking an even blander (that’s a word, right?) cup of crimson liquid that’s supposed to be the blood of God’s only son.
Hey, if it’s good enough for Prof. Farnsworth and Sheldon Cooper…
Fun Fact: As a kid because I was worried I’d become a vampire, so that “Blood of Christ” never touched my lips. And I was disappointed beyond words when I came upon the realization that being a vampire would actually be pretty cool, and nothing happened when I finally took a swig of that religious concoction. That misunderstanding aside, I attended quite a few church services throughout my early life until I decided it just wasn’t something that appealed to me.
The hypocrisy I witnessed made me sick (sinning like a motherfucker all week cannot be washed away with a few Hail Marys in a church at the week’s end) and so I continued on my path without a Sunday consumed by a couple of hours praying and singing in a monkey suit followed by lunch at Swiss Chalet.
Actually, I miss the chicken.
But all religion can save lives. I’m sure there are congregates of the Church of Satan that would surely be worm food right now if they hadn’t been compelled to devote their lives to the red-skinned guy with the horns and tails. And yes, that’s still a victory for the pro-religious camp. Short of stalking and murdering innocent victims, every pastime that gives a lost soul something to focus on is worthwhile.
So picking up a bible, the Quran, whatever Satanists read, or any other religious text may be just what you need to keep you from severing that vital connection to the world. Feeling as though you’re a part of something larger than yourself can be humbling but also deeply fulfilling.
I was concerned when we first lost Ronnie that his immortal soul may have been in jeopardy but after consulting with a few friends and a religious authority or two I was assured that my friend is at peace at last. On a side note, I was deeply relieved when I didn’t burst into flame after entering a church to meet with a priest.
So in conclusion, religion may not be your bag but it when you look past all the BS you may just find what you’re looking for.
And that’s as inspirational as I can be these days so take it or leave it.
See you in the lobby or between the pews, kids…
Chicken? You got chicken at the Swiss Chalet? For us it was always ham.
Not for this boy!
It’s a double leg dinner every time, Kate!
A belief in something more substantial than only oneself is the key. Good post, Hook.
I prayed for blogging guidance and I got it.
Ha haha. Try the lotto numbers next time.
I’m not a regular church goer, and believe in ‘something’ though not necessarily as the Scriptures taught at school.
However, it was FAITH in her God that got my parents’ next door neighbour walking after being bedridden for something like 25 years. I can’t knock that or anyone else beliefs.
She lived to be 104 and never held it against us for not ‘converting’.
The power of prayer has never been more apparent.
It certainly worked for her Robert.
OK, a couple of things:
First, Daniel Quinn, who was a very smart man, said that without what he called “the awareness of the sacred” we were never fully human. That’s right, he wrote spirituality into our evolution. Which is, of course, different from organized religion. Which brings me to:
Second, I feel that being an atheist makes it easier for me to see one of the positive functions of organized religion in society: It gives you a tribe to belong to.
I can’t express how important that is in the prevention of suicide.
We evolved to live in tribes, and a need for a tribe is indelibly written deep in our genes.
But nobody tells you that in school, so many of us just go through life with this nagging yearning for something we can’t really define that none of our achievements or successes can alleviate.
And for a lot of folks who don’t have many of those successes or achievements, it’s just always there, a reminder that we have somehow failed at life, whether anyone else would see it that way or not.
And then there’s the folks who are on shaky ground with their mental health who don’t need much to push them over the edge, who can be in mortal danger over the lack of human connections that is the main symptom of lacking a tribe to belong to.
It has become fashionable to blame our civic problems on “tribalism” these days, but I feel like that is the wrong word, and the proper word is the one our founders used to express their concern about it; they called them factions, not tribes, perhaps because there were still functioning tribal societies around back then, and they hadn’t decided to obliterate them yet.
Good post, I hadn’t thought of religion in a positive light in a while.
That makes two of us, Doug.
Thanks for dropping by and weighing in.
It works for many. As long as we have something – family, nature, work, God, writing… something, anything – that’s what matters. Great post, Hook.
Great comment, Jennie.
Thank you, Hook.
The Golden Rule is not a bad one by which to live. Basically, treat others the way you would like to be treated. Nothing wrong with that.
Nothing at all.
As much as man and his wild ego love nothing better than to misinterpret inspired teachings for his benefit, the truth often prevails. And it’s helped a lot of people get by. Really digging this one Robert!
There are many roads to the same destination. Find what works for you and do that ( and stop harassing/ criticizing those who go a different route, please.No one made you the boss of them, so cool it.)
I know people say humans started out with (fear) and creating superstitions for comfort and explanation. Then then superstitions and naturalism changed into organized religions. And then “intellectual superior” decided science had all the answers ( Victorian era?) and religions should be tossed aside.
Dad always said religion, belief, and faith were probably good but when people created churches things/concepts got messed up/totally confused for power’s sake and hypocrisy was created.
All I can say is many need a firm guide for life and established religions/churches did provide that for many people. Kept them out of trouble, made them a positive influence on society, and often limited violence (as society shunned those who didn’t follow the rules or saw the sanctity of life).
Psychologist say to change any bad behavior, a new behavior pattern must be given immediately and followed. So what’s available that won’t offend those looking to be offended in this violent era?
The Golden Rule is pretty universal. Maybe that should (once again) be taught, valued, and followed more? (That and the old “live and let live”?)
Excellent post ( and I’m pretty sure Ronnie wasn’t damned. But that’s just me. Humans with limited understanding may not see the full purpose of a life or actions. Peace.)
I’m sure Ronnie wasn’t damned either.
As I said in my eulogy to my dear brother, “I don’t know anything about the afterlife, or about Heaven, Hell or whatever lies beyond, but I know that wherever he is, the first thing Rockin’ said was, “Someone hand me a guitar and point me in the direction of the stage.”
Thank you so much, my friend, for being here.
As an atheist, I’ll probably go along with a thesis that a religion may be beneficial in making a person less likely to kill themselves.
I do worry that it might make a person more likely to kill others – religion-motivated terrorism is definitely a thing.
I can’t argue with you at all, X.