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"When you pray, move your feet"

Oh dear.

I've committed myself to participating in therealljidol and already I want to bail. See, the very first topic is "When you pray, move your feet." Now, I understand that this is a proverb and that it shouldn't necessarily be taken literally, but ... ugh. I've been single for a little more than two weeks now and one of the great things about no longer dating a religious person is that I can shovel all of that God-type-stuff right out the door. This morning (as an example) I realized that I no longer had to keep my iTunes crammed full of Matisyahu. I am now free to admit that when I hear him say "the eventual building up of the third temple that we're waiting for," my gut reaction is "are you SERIOUS?!? You really take that crap LITERALLY?!?"

So when I pray ... well, I don't. And when I hear other people talk about praying I think that they're mentally ill. It's mythology, people. It's not real. And when you indoctrinate your children to believe that it is real (like I'm sure all those wig-wearing, baby-bearing, Orthodox ladies that I see at Target are busy doing), in my opinion it's a form of child abuse. You're teaching your children to waste their lives by focusing on a bunch of arbitrary and ridiculous rules designed to keep some invisible boogeyman in the sky happy. The fact that otherwise intelligent (I'm looking at you, Dr. Sharon Moalem) people fall prey to this superstition just boggles my mind.

So move your feet, sure. But pray? Thanks, but no thanks.

Comments

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elionwyr
Oct. 18th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
Maybe that's what you need to write about.

From poking around the work room post, it looks like this first entry is generally read as an introduction. You're writing right there about yourself, where your head's at, etc. I think you could expand on that and have a very presentable entry post.

I personally have no idea yet. :)

ETA: Bahaha! Sorry for not realizing you had tagged this one as your entry. I'm glad you did.

Edited at 2011-10-18 06:46 pm (UTC)
hopita
Oct. 19th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
No worries.

So far I'm not sure how I feel about this thing. The bulk of comments seem to be saying that I should change my personal beliefs if I want to win a LJ contest. I'm sticking with it for now, but thus far, I'm not loving it. Also, it's weird to get so many comments from people I don't know (or at least "know").
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honeybeewriter
Oct. 18th, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
I love this post! Probably because I agree with a lot of it!
m_malcontent
Oct. 18th, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
This will be a controversial entry but I enjoyed reading your perspective. Best wishes.
michikatinski
Oct. 18th, 2011 05:14 pm (UTC)
Sure you don't want to tell us how you really feel?

;)

What I want to know is, why in the world were you dating a religious person when you despise religion and "god-type-stuff"? (That's me being nosy. You don't need to answer if you don't wanna.)
hopita
Oct. 18th, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC)
What I want to know is, why in the world were you dating a religious person when you despise religion and "god-type-stuff"? (That's me being nosy. You don't need to answer if you don't wanna.)

It's a long story (as these things often are). One of the big factors was proximity: When we started dating, it was long distance, so the day-to-day stuff like keeping a Kosher kitchen, or worrying about the "appropriateness" of my neckline, weren't really factors until we were already committed to one another. Also, we'd known each other since childhood (it was one of those facebook reunions -- Newsweek coined a term for the phenomenon, which I no longer recall), so I already had (strong, positive) feelings for him from the beginning.

tl;dr
I thought I could live with it but discovered that I was wrong.
(no subject) - honeybeewriter - Oct. 18th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
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teenagewitch
Oct. 18th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
Interesting point of view.
majesticarky
Oct. 18th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
I find there are a LOT of prompts in Idol that are about religion. Since I'm not religious and never have been, I have to adapt them to my life experiences and it usually translates.
theafaye
Oct. 19th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
As majesticarky says, plenty of Idol prompts are taken from some kind of religion or another. As a non religious person myself, I've always found ways to approach it from a different angle. It's only really as much of a big deal as you want to make it. Clearly this is a hot button for you right now - but then, that makes this entry a good introduction to where you're at at the moment.

I don't think you need to change your beliefs to win this contest (and if you did, would you want to win?) but you're already more than aware that this is a pretty controversial opinion. As someone who had an incredibly secular upbringing, I'm massively thankful not to have to lose any religious hangups, but at the same time, I can't say that I agree with your opinions as you express them here. Still, you are more than entitled to them :o)

Good luck in the contest!
teaberryblue
Oct. 18th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
There are a lot of wonderful people in the world who are religious, just as there are a lot of wonderful people in the world who are areligious, and calling people mentally ill or child abusers because your lens is different from theirs seems to be going a bit far. It also seems a bit dismissive of real mental illness, which is something a number of people participating in LJ Idol confront or have confronted on a daily basis.

Remember that there are many people from many walks of life participating in this competition, and that you have just called some of them mentally ill child abusers to their faces. Is that really the way you want to start out?
phoenixejc
Oct. 18th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
This. Yes.
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tralfamadore
Oct. 18th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
One thing that really helped me the last time I competed in LJ Idol was to bear in mind that there are many ways to interpret a given topic. Obviously the proverb has very strong religious connotations, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the only lens through which to view it. There are many ways to stay true to a given topic without having to take it in a direction you might be uncomfortable with or hesitant about. Artistic license, I think they call it. And where better to exercise it than in a writing competition? ;]

That said, while your views are certainly controversial I do appreciate that you stayed true to yourself and didn't fall victim to playing into something you don't feel, just in hope of some votes. I'm going to be interested in seeing what you have to say in the weeks to come. I feel like it'll always be honest!
alephz
Oct. 18th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Hi there.

Just a small bit of advice from a veteran:

You have until Monday to put out an entry. While I see your frustration with trying to tackle this topic immediately, you don't have to put up your entry right away. You may find that you're able to produce a work more reflective of your tastes and abilities if you give yourself a little time to develop your ideas.
maerhys
Oct. 18th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
I like that you took a very different take on the topic and put your views out for us to read and interpret. I think I am probably the polar opposite of you on this specific topic but I like knowing that - it takes all kinds as they say.
funcrunch
Oct. 18th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
Have you checked out atheist blogger Greta Christina? She's awesome.
petercampbell
Oct. 18th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Mentally ill is pushing it a bit - as long as organised religion doesn't interfere directly with your day to day life, then the best thing to do is respect people's beliefs, no matter how deluded you (and I )may think they may be.
hopita
Oct. 19th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
I wrote a more detailed response to teaberryblue above, but the gist is that, for me, having spent the last few years in close proximity to Kosher observance, I noticed a disturbing number of similarities to OCD. Counting. Paralysis in the face of things feared to be "unclean" in some way. The belief that performing complex rituals can somehow prevent bad things from happening.
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liret
Oct. 18th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
I can definitely understand having a strong adverse reaction to something because it's being pushed at you. (I still dislike Christmas just because I had too many years of people insisting I had no right to be unhappy and not want to participate in their decking of the halls. ) But even as a non-theist, I have to recognize that religion is such an important part of general life, history, and culture, for so many people, that avoiding all references isn't possible.

It's perfectly acceptable to use the prompt as a starting point to explain why you don't pray. (Though I would not recommend labeling the over 90% of the world's population that is religious as 'mentally ill'. ) But when the topic says nothing to me, I usually play with word association or take just a part of it. It's not like your entry can get rejected because it's not topical enough, so how much the prompt matters really depends on you.
cacophonesque
Oct. 18th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
I'm a little unsure what to make of this. It feels more like an initial exploration of and reaction to the prompt than it does a finished entry. Sometimes prompts can be perplexing or even initially infuriating--but sometimes if you take a moment and turn the prompt to look at it from another angle, you can find a way to approach it which fills you with excitement rather than dread.
(Deleted comment)
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indigotcg
Oct. 18th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
Since I'm watching this contest for the first time, and from a dummy/game account, I said I wasn't going to comment on entries and then...well, should have known, because I can never shut up about stuff like this.

The thing, to me, about writing about a really hot button viewpoint is that you're either preaching to the choir or there's the burden of your opinion - not converting your audience, but convincing them to entertain your view as worth their time. You're showing about as much knowledge of the wide, wide range of religious belief and practice in the world as you are of the wide range of mental illnesses. Meanwhile, I have no idea why you'd not consider even slightly deviating from the most traditional interpretation of the quote.

If there's a reason what other people do regarding this topic sparks so much anger in you, maybe you should write about that. Otherwise I'm not really sure why I shouldn't write you off as ableist and bigoted the same way you've written off most of the world as abusive and insane.
sabotabby
Oct. 18th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
I am entirely unfamiliar with LJ Idol, though I can kind of guess what it's about? This seems an odd sort of prompt to begin with, at any rate. Is it a thing that you have to be a certain kind of religious to do? It strikes me that many people wouldn't pray.
hopita
Oct. 19th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)
On the surface it's some sort of writing thing. Thus far I'm finding it makes me uncomfortable to have this many people reading who I'm not personally familiar with. Then again, I'm studying to be a writer, so it seemed it would be good practice. I suspect that once my next round of classes starts up, I'll probably be too consumed with those writing projects to pay any attention to this.
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shadowwolf13
Oct. 19th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
I find your entry to be very interesting. I once was a Christian but have since gone down another path.

I see certain forms of prayer to be a little much for me, but if it gives them strength to get through another day then maybe that's what they need.

Strong entry though.
furious_mold
Oct. 19th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
I've often thought about things like super orthodox religious beliefs (not just in Judaism, a lot of religions) forced onto children like being a form of child abuse, but I feel like I don't have the authority to say anything like that. (I was raised Catholic and when I wanted to stop going to church, my parents were fine with that.) I'm glad to know someone else feels the same way.

I wish this were filtered or more private because I'd like to mention something about a guy I dated who was extremely screwed up after being raised with very strict religious beliefs. I don't think he learned how to read properly until he was in his late teens/early 20's...other things too. He was a bright guy and managed to get by verbally, but there were so many things he was sheltered from (because he was raised to believe they were EVIL and WRONG) that could have benefited him if he knew them. Socially, he was a mess because of this. Some of his friends were even worse off. I think he's a lot better now after living among secular people, but I know he still struggles. I know he's only one example, but there have to be others just like him. Others who never escape that shit, and others who do but continue to struggle with navigating the secular world.

Anyway, funny thing: At one time my brother was seriously exploring Satanism. (Yeah, I know.) I was a teenager when this was going on. I met some of the Satanist people he knew. I asked them if I could be a Satanist too. They told me they didn't accept anyone into their religion until they were 18yrs old and older because they felt (well, this particular group of Satanists did, I don't know about any others) anyone under 18 was too young to make reasonable decisions about what religious beliefs they wanted to follow.

I haven't read the other comments to this post, but I needed to comment on the "form of child abuse" thing. It's a very interesting thought, and it's one I've had many times.
hopita
Oct. 19th, 2011 03:10 am (UTC)
It's weird to me to get all of these comments from people I don't know. It's a writing competition thing, so posts have to be unlocked.

I commented above, to teaberryblue and petercampbell, but the gist was that watching ab (definitely not tagging him here, in public) fret (for example) over whether or not to accept a non-Kosher cough drop when he was sick, or waiting for Rabbinic approval to use his c-pap machine on Shabbos (what's the worst that could happen? Oh yea: You'll DIE), it really struck me that being Observant bore a striking number of similarities to having OCD.

Edited at 2011-10-19 03:10 am (UTC)
(no subject) - furious_mold - Oct. 19th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
ravenshrinkery
Oct. 19th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
I don't have the full energy or cognition to give your post the attention it deserves right now because it's late, but I want to link you to an entry of mine from last season. It was especially popular and won its poll for the week, for what that's worth (in the grand scheme of things, nothing :). The prompt for the week was Marching Orders.

http://ravenshrinkery.livejournal.com/74845.html

This is my story of what it was like growing up in a Fundamentalist Christian household. I'm posting this to share a bit of knowing what it's like to live with people who have some pretty wild beliefs, many of which don't mesh with what their faith actually teaches them. Today I am exploring faith again, but with a very open mind as to what it might be and with no specifics.

I escaped, but not unscathed. I'm still dealing with my scars to this day. But please remember they are people too, those Orthodox moms you see in Target in Brooklyn, and their husbands who work at B&H in Manhattan who sell me the equipment I use to ply my trade. Their customs, which may be based in fantasy indeed, are very real to them, and give them a sense of community and place in this world that they would be very lost without. It certainly did for my family growing up. Mental illness in and of itself generally does the very opposite of this. Also having bipolar disorder I can speak to that as well.
hopita
Oct. 19th, 2011 09:01 am (UTC)
Their customs, which may be based in fantasy indeed, are very real to them, and give them a sense of community and place in this world that they would be very lost without.

I would argue that this is one of the aspects that are abusive: Parents teaching children to rely on fantasy for their sense of community and belonging.

(Haven't read your post yet. Will be headed there as soon as I'm done clearing out my email inbox.)
(no subject) - hopita - Oct. 19th, 2011 09:12 am (UTC) - Expand
kf4vkp
Oct. 19th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)

I like your honesty and candor. I think that you should just be you in the contest. The writing will speak for itself and I have a feeling you'll do well.

pixiebelle
Oct. 19th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC)
Well I see controversy abounds here, now doesn't it?

I am agnostic, so nothing you say about religion will ever offend me. I can see where people will disagree though, and they have a right too, sure...Everyone and their brother has an opinion of course and it is the freaking Internet.

But I think the mistake on *their* part is to advise you to change your post. I don't know you at all, but I give you more credit than that. You knew this wouldn't be a popular concept and you chose to write about it anyway. Who am I to say you should change your post?

My advice merely is let them disagree and engage in debates if you're up to it, not bother responding and go on with your life if not. Some people have different goals in this game. Some think everyone wants to merely last week to week and their advice is sound advice if that were the case.

But I never got the feeling that it was and that's your right.

Welcome to Idol :)
baxaphobia
Oct. 19th, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
It's a delicate balance between expressing one's own beliefs and treading on others'. I agree with a good portion of what you write but I also try to put myself in someone else's place and I imagine I would be somewhat put off. That does not say that this is a bad piece of writing because it's not. You came out in the competition swinging and that's not necessarily a bad thing!
icelore
Oct. 19th, 2011 10:02 am (UTC)
I'm an atheist in the fact that I don't believe in any kind of god, but also a bit of a Pagan in the idea that I do believe in some kind of cosmic karma and respect for all living things. As such, I agree with the sentiment of your post and that organized religions is...not the most time worthy occupation. My thoughts aside, the fact that you blatantly attacked people who believe otherwise, let alone as part of a contest, is mind boggling to me. And to top it off, that you don't even realize that calling people "mentally ill child abusers" *is* offensive... Wow. Having your own opinions and expressing them is awesome, but so is have some inkling of class and tact. The fact that you don't see this at all really leaves me wondering who the "mentally ill" person in this scenario is...
hopita
Oct. 19th, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
Right. Because it's totally offensive if I say that I think people who believe a certain way are not grounded in reality, but totally not offensive if you say that you believe the same thing about me.

Kindly do not visit my journal again.
walkertxkitty
Oct. 19th, 2011 11:41 am (UTC)
Blunt and to the point. I can well understand your point of view, living as I do in a place which styles itself the jewel in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt. Looks good! I don't ordinarily like posts which specifically mention the topic or break the fourth wall but you did well with this one. It fits.
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