It’s a Bad Religion…
..I try not to post rants these days, despite the title of this blog, it seems that TRC has basically become a visual inspiration dumping ground for what I can’t fit onto styleternity.
And the last time I posted one of these rant format articles (admittedly poorly phrased, and inadequately explained) I was accused of being a misogynist.
This is however one of those rare exceptions in which I must absolutely vent, otherwise I’m in danger of taking a blow torch to the inside of my nostrils.
Recently my parents both suffered horrible accidents: the bulk of the damage occurring during the end of semester exams in Australia (for me), sometime between October/November. My father suffered a minor stroke - right because there’s such a thing as a stroke that’s simply ‘minor’ - while my mother has been feeling the effects of two fissures to her left patella, most of the subsidence is gone now but she’s whell chair confined for a couple more weeks.
Needless to say, as a direct result of these accidents that both of my parents have had, at the rather fragile ages of 60 and 68 they wandered to religion in order to cure their pain. This decision, in its isolated state gives me no grounds for worry: with their only son off at uni, nearly a whole life behind them and grievous injuries suffered I understand that they would turn to our local Chinese Christian community for a little comfort (NB: I should add that my parents have not had anything resembling a social life for over 4 decades, working hard to secure the future of their child and helping- in a way - to bring China into the 21st century, so joining a church and going out for food with people who aren’t their family is like a landmark moment for them).
Initially I was supportive: the community church seemed fairly moderate, it was clear access to a social support structure made my parents very happy and with me out of commission studying for legal exams I now remember absolutely asspig all about it was good that they were ‘keeping busy’.
And then as the people say…shit started to go down.
Select members of the Chinese Baptist church my parents attend began telling my mother that she had suffered her accident/and concurrently my father had also suffered because for years prior my mother had been a devoutly ACADEMIC student of Taoism. As I recall, she also studied Chinese folk Buddhism (the not-very-serious-and-not-quite-Shinto-kind) concurrent to this, and upon telling her new Church about these highly objective/non-worship related studies they still berated her for ‘straying’.
THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY!?
Basicallywhat these scripture thumping moral mountaineers were stating was that my parents had suffered near irreversible accidents as a result of God’s intervention. Now mind you, I’m not terribly well versed when it comes to New Testament scripture et cetera but I’m fairly certain the whole Christianity angle centres on a forgiving and compromising deity who welcomes all into his house - the lost, the ‘saved’ (what does that even mean!?), the sick, the healthy blah blah blah - but here we were, with a group of people who were purporting to be there for my parents in their time of need and they were manipulating my highly fragile family into guilt and self loathing.
…and here we are 2 months later.
I’m on holiday in China atm, and things have gotten infinitely worse. My mother is now a ‘self proclaimed disciple of Jesus’ and my father a ‘re-discoverer of his faith’ (some background: my father’s family were quite outspoken Christian doctors back in the old days who helped a large number of refugees who fled mainland China in the wake of the 1949 communist party takeover). And I’m in the middle: a moderate, objective, agnostic who seems to have suddenly become Lucifer’s lamp bearer. Ad nauseam I have argued with my family about the ills of organised religion, my mother continues to assert that our family are in these times ‘not religious, but faithful’ and then will go and do something which totally contravenes that fucking statement.
The faithful do not canonize the Israelites as ‘those dicks who murdered Jesus’, the faithful do not trivialize the customs of other cultural dispositions (case in point: you don’t blame the suffering of young Americans of colour on their ‘lack of God’, you blame it on poor fucking social security, the absence of any uniform education system and the sheer inadequacy of legal accountability) and they certainly do not FORCE themselves on individuals who inhabit the neutral ground.
However, all of the aforementioned acts are synonymous with organised RELIGIONS.
I’ve tried as best I can - through my limited intellectual, moral and oratory means - to tell my parents to take things down a notch, to remain objective and open minded but all my pleadings fall on deaf ears. They’ve even started to disseminate Church material within their business, and I know for a fact that in Australia at such acts could be considered (at the very least) highly inappropriate in a vocational context.
Ultimately I personally feel that faith is a highly private conceit. What you believe in, and how you worship/experience it is for you alone, and no good can come of having constraints enforced upon you in this area. The moment I left high school, I shed the veneer of organised religion: so many things about it are fundamentally - and intentionally - flawed, a systematic attempt to enforce the status quo. I mean as it stands my family are now a bunch of Han Chinese worshipping a middle Eastern male portrayed historically as a well manicured Western European. If it sounds absurd that’s because it is.
Conversely I am not naive, I DO believe there are powers yet unknown to us in this admittedly big universe and that there’s something beyond this mortal coil. But that’s for me alone to experience, I shouldn’t use this base conceit as a reason to demonize people of colour differing creed or sexual orientation. My family’sinability to treat my decisions with respect when I tell them ‘I don’t wish to pray at table’ is a ready example of why this whole organised religious thing is bollocks. A majority of responses from its proponents fall into one of two categories: (a) violence; and/or (b) contempt (it usually presents itself as condescension, smugness or a sense of ill deserved moral superiority).
Now I’m not saying that the die hard scientists, human behaviourists and philosophers of the world don’t react this way to all the moderate people of religion either but their brashness is at least partially rooted in the grounding of logic/reasoning.
One of organised religion’s greatest assets is its ability to attribute with absolute discretion. When an event occurs that benefits humankind in some way, they attribute it to their version of God/or whatever, while conversely when the same event, rendered in the same environment with the same properties and same results in disaster it is attributed as being an act of man.
ARE YOU SHITTING ME!? THIS IS TANTAMOUNT TO CALLING A MAN A CHAMPION AND A WOMAN A WHORE WHERE BOTH PERFORM THE SAME ESSENTIAL ACT OF HAVING LOADS OF SEX. You can’t just change the standard where you feel its appropriate, it has to be immutable for you to possess any credibility when proposing your ideas.
I’m honestly so lost: I feel sick and yet so full of anger at the same time. Its been clear in the last couple of months that my parents have become awfully sad about their age, death is on their minds alot (it would seem) and as their health wanes the last thing I want to do is renege on my filial obligations as a good son. I’m not a very good person - there’s no denying that - but I’ll be damned if I won’t at least try to accommodate my parents and be a half decent child to the people who’ve clothed, fed and (for the most part) given me an excellent education. At the same time, I feel myself slipping away, the more I endorse these toxic lies, these structures and edifices built on bigotry and corruption the more I can’t live with myself: strong personalities and all that shit.
Sigh…I really need a fucking drink, like badly. Hell a drink, a cigarette and a sexual partner with standards low enough to tolerate such physically perceptible self-loathing.