When I was a wee little lad, I basically believed in God. Well, as much as a child can believe in something like that. As I grew older, I felt less and less like waking up early to go to church, and on Wednesdays I preferred to sit around, watch TV, play video games, or go hang out with friends. It took a few more years for me to come to terms with my lack of belief. A major factor in that decision was when I went to a summer church camp with a couple of the kids from the neighborhood we lived in at the time. After having what little money I had stolen, basically being avoided by everyone for whatever reason, and just having a horrible time all around (I don't remember any concrete details, as I was maybe 13 at the time), I decided that if that is how religious people wanted to act, then I didn't want to have anything to do with them. Moving through my teenage years, I basically became an atheist, which led to a couple of awkward conversations with some of my friends who were deeply religious and concerned about my soul or whatever. I appreciated it, but really didn't have any time for any of that. For the majority of my teenage years, I was a pretty serious atheist, because I was a teenager, and thus I knew everything. As the years have gone by, I have a much more relaxed view on the whole religion thing. If anything, I am an agnostic, unless someone is aggressively trying to "convert" me, then I just lean back on my atheism, mostly to get them to leave me the hell alone. I realize that there is no real way to prove whether or not God actually exists until we die, and at that point, who are we going to tell?
As a whole, I have no real issue with any religion. The idea of religion has done no real damage to anyone ever. I have always viewed the Bible as a book that serves as a guideline to being a good person. Granted, some of the stuff in the Old Testament is pretty extreme, but those stories were told to help straighten people out. The "fear of God" is a pretty powerful thing, and can be a very good motivator. It's when people start taking the stories from the Bible and try to use them to affect what other people do that I cannot stand. The best example I can think of is homosexuality. I will admit that I'd rather not see two big, burly dudes go at each others' business, but I also understand that what they do is their business, and is none of mine. If they want to stick things in each others butts, as long as they don't ask for my help, then I'm cool with it. Once the more opinionated of the religious got wind of the idea of homosexuality, it all went to shit. Then government officials threw their hats into the fray. Holy shit. Thankfully, homosexuals are finally starting to get the rights they should've always had. The treatment of homosexuals are only a couple of baby steps above what we used to do to African Americans, and that's mostly because most of us don't go around, trying to kill them. It's fucking ridiculous. If two grown adults want to be a couple, get married, and grow to hate each other like every other couple, who cares if they both have matching parts? I hope that we have a gay president before I die. The only real issue I have with anything relating to homosexuality is the cross dressing, and that's really only because most guys make some horrible looking women. I'm all about doing what you want, but come on. Do something extra to make yourself look sexy if you're going to dress as the opposite sex. Anyway...
On a related note, I hope Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church fucking die. Seriously, he and his crew should be executed and I will dance the happiest dance of joy the day that man dies. Hopefully in a fire. With the rest of his family. Moving on.
One thing I have noticed about being an agnostic/atheist is that other religions don't exactly appreciate it. I vividly remember a time when I was banned from my friends grandparents and, if I remember correctly, parents house. What had happened was a couple of us were over at his grandparents house, staying up late and hanging out in the living room, probably playing video games or watching anime. Apparently, I said something regarding religion. I say apparently because I don't have any recollection of it, since the two friends I was with were deeply religious, and I'd like to think that I'd at least keep my mouth shut about that topic around them. I guess I didn't, and his grandparents heard it somehow. A few days or so later I learn that I'm not allowed back there because of whatever I said. I understand why they'd be upset, but to be banned is a little much. I think a similar episode happened with his parents, but I'm not exactly sure. Another example happened in my first semester of college. I had to give a speech for my Speech class, and I decided it was a good idea to talk to a class full of religious people about how being an atheist doesn't make you evil. We had to post our speech topic on a discussion board where we would all comment on each others topics. A couple said they were interested in hearing what I had to say, and that they agreed with me. However, most of them said that if they were talking to an atheist they would choose to dismiss them based solely on the fact that they did not believe in God. That reaction didn't surprise me one bit. Most religious people seem to be all for religious freedom as long as you agree with what they believe in.
I'm losing my steam and getting off track, but the basic gist of what I'm talking about is this: For a group that worship Jesus, who has been said to be a peaceful man who loved everyone regardless of their flaws, Christians and Catholics and all the others seem to have a lot of hate for a lot of different people, mostly because they don't agree. If anyone out there reads this, and is deeply religious, and hates anyone for any reason simply because they have some different view of what is acceptable (sexuality, religion, whatever), maybe you should read a little more about what your savior preached.
Ok, I officially have ran out of things to say about this. GROUP HUG!