Why I am Spiritual and Not Religious

By susanpeabody 06/08/18

Many people, including myself,  were not raised in homes in which we were taught about how much God cherishes us. We were told how we are going to go to hell if we do not do what we are told, which is all summed up in the phrases, “now be a good little girl,” or “stop being a bad little girl.”

I still choke on the phrase “good little girl.” My granddaughter is not a good little girl or a bad little girl. She is a wonderful work in progress. (Actually, she is a sweet little princess sent to me by a loving God.)

The Catholic religion is famous for this point of view, as is pointed out in a book called “Recovering Catholics.” I have heard stories of children being shamed by nuns and even abused by corporal punishment. I hope this is just in the past and not currently going on. This did not happen to me but God knows I was terrified of the  going to hell if I did not do what I was told or if I had sex before I was married.

Some religions also teach us to hate other groups and shun them. I had to leave a church because they were homophobic. I thought Christ loved us but apparently not if I we are gay. My pastor put the words bad, gay and toxic all in the same sentence sometimes.

Yesterday was my granddaughter's graduation from high school. Yes I am that old. I am only allowed to see her for graduations. She did a video of everyone who had meant something to her and I was not mentioned.

For a long time, I blamed myself for neglecting my daughter when I was a practicing alcoholic. But my son Karl explained to me that my role as her mother was only part of the problem. The real problem was that she had joined a religion that believed in shunning people. It was a Christian group. She also married a very controlling man who wanted to isolate her. So when I fell in love with a woman named Sandra, all hell broke loose and they used this as an excuse to shut the door on me.

This is why I hesitate to call myself a Christian and prefer to call myself a "Follower of Christ." All religions start out with a great spiritual presence. Then each generation loses something special like the idea that God loves EVERYBODY not just those in their personal group.

My conclusion is that religion can bring love, joy and peace, or it can be dysfunctional. As for me, after the graduation I came home to the family who loves me even though I am not perfect. There is a brighter tomorrow.

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