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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

( 80 comments — Leave a comment )
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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.
(no subject) - alephz - Oct. 19th, 2011 08:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sabotabby - Oct. 19th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alephz - Oct. 19th, 2011 11:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hopita - Oct. 19th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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.
lyricmaniac
Oct. 19th, 2011 01:32 pm (UTC)
I was an Orthodox Jew. I am now spiritual but have separated myself from the organized religion. That said, I think it is unfair and highly offensive to call religious people "mentally ill" for believing and "child abusers" if they share their beliefs with their children. I think your view is as narrow if not more so than some of the religious people you seem to feel you are above.

I also find it pretty sad that you lived a lifestyle for 3 years that you vehemently disagree with in order to please a man. I think that says less about him and his religion than it says about you.

Aside from feeling you are misguided in your views, I feel that opening a contest with this entry will knock you out of it toward the start. Not a very good strategic move.
lyricmaniac
Oct. 19th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
By the by, you seem to be banning anyone from commenting who shares an opinion that does not completely line up with your own. I'd like to save you the trouble. I won't be visiting your entries again.
(no subject) - hopita - Oct. 19th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
dslartoo
Oct. 19th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
Or, you could enjoy Matisyahu because you just like reggae (I'm an atheist and I've got one or two of his albums kicking around. I like his flow, what can I say?)

Still, I can definitely sympathize with the idea of regaining your freedom. Nobody should be forced to change or edit themselves to make someone else happy.

cheers,
Phil
hopita
Oct. 19th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
I remember having a conversation with my ex about Matisyahu, and comparing him to the movie Sister Act. If you listen to any Matisyahu song out of context, you may not necessarily get God from it, but when you listen to them within the context of knowing who Matisyahu is and what he believes in, it becomes apparent. Sort of like Whoopi Goldberg singing 60s hits like "I Love Him." Outside of the context of the movie, it's just an old Top 40 song. Within the context of the movie, it's about God.

The specific thing that I wrote about in the post was a song from the Live At Stubbs album. It came on to my iTunes shuffle yesterday morning, Matisyahu said the exact line that I quoted, and my thought was "why do I have my iTunes crammed full of this religious crap when I've got a stack of CDs on my desk and no room to upload them?" I haven't actually fixed that situation yet, but it's on my to do list.

Which doesn't mean that I disagree with you about Matisyahu being a talented reggae singer, BTW. It's more that reggae (and religious reggae in particular) isn't so much my thing, so I'm realizing that it doesn't have to take up such a large percentage of the limited space that I have available.

Edited at 2011-10-19 04:46 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - dslartoo - Oct. 19th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
mrstotten
Oct. 19th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
I'm a religious person, raised as catholic, who now has a slightly differently view on organised religion at least. I still have faith but less on the do this say this think this and more along the lines of there is something bigger than me, but it isn't as important as the family and friends around me.

I know it can be hard when there is a prompt that throws you but some of my favourite entries have been one where the person turns the prompt on its head and totally reinterprets it.

As someone in a similar place to you a couple of years ago (I did my first lj idol whilst doing my English degree and in my creative writing year and it was a MASSIVE help) so I would say embrace it, it will bring out sides of your writing style you never knew you had

In regards to the parts that people have discussed. Honesty works in LJ Idol, I opened my heart and life in quite a few entries and it opened me up in a way I never imagined, but that honesty should be tempered with kindness. If you picture it as writing a book, you want that book to be you, you want it to be honest, but you also want it to sell so always think of your audience :)

Edited at 2011-10-19 10:13 pm (UTC)
zeitgeistic
Oct. 20th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
Interesting entry. I think that you can interpret the word 'pray' pretty loosely. It could also mean 'wish' or 'hope for' or any number of other things. :)
mstrobel
Oct. 20th, 2011 10:52 am (UTC)
Gary's good at throwing out some really weird topics. I mean sometimes you get something nice and normal, and then he goes and gives you "noumenon" which has probably left scars on most season 7 competitors... ;)
wolfden
Oct. 20th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
This was a challenging topic and obviously a raw spot for you. It does feel a bit odd to have so many "strangers" reading your words, doesn't it?

I am glad you are feeling freer now.

I worry very much about my cousin's kids who are being raised in a very cult-like fundamental environment. They was extremely isolated and a lot of the ways they are treated and raised DO feel like child abuse to me. Like everything, there are always those that for whatever, reason will take it to the extreme.
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