Sunday, August 17, 2008

An Experiment for the Religious

As a person who grew up without a left hand, I've been involuntarily slapped with labels that people feel depict my status in modern society. I'm not talking about economic, political or social status... I'm talking about my state of mind in relation to those "normal" ones around me. People assume that I need to be pitied, or that my self esteem is at a point where it almost can't be saved. People also assume that I'm vulnerable, as if I've never explored spiritual fulfillment.

The truth is that I have explored a lot of things, and that my life has had many of the same ups and downs that anyone might have. Some were worse than others, but I don't think life is meant for competitive comparison of such things. Upon suggestion of friends and family, I explored the possibility of religion with them. At a young age it was imposed upon me, and as I got older, I still tried to explore it until I realized that when I reached out to the church, I wasn't reaching for an invisible crutch, I was reaching for the friends that were level headed and were sane enough to realize that earthly friendship and caring are far better than a false sense of security from faith. They were realistic enough to know that advice and will to listen went further than the spewing of scripture or the random interjection of false hopes (ex: "God is here for you!", "Always put Jesus first in your life, and you'll have no problems!", "You need to pray more, son.").

As I've explained in previous posts, I've received all kinds of explanations as for why I'm the way that I am, and they all seemed bogus. People see me as a vulnerable person, as someone they can easily claim as part of a religious army. This has lead me to believe that the religious tend to rely far too much on their god to take care of things for them, rather than taking problems on themselves. Passing responsibility onto invisible friends to help your real friends is just wrong, unproductive, and idiotically hopeless.

Any thoughts?

For the religious: defend yourselves. Tell me why relying on your invisible friend is better than relying on someone elses, or even you.

For the non-religious: Have you ever copped out of helping a friend who really needed it by sending them to someone else (a blog or a book, professional therapist, whatever)?

For the fellow amputees: Have you had similar experiences or any truly different ones?

3 comments:

morsec0de said...

"For the non-religious: Have you ever copped out of helping a friend who really needed it by sending them to someone else (a blog or a book, professional therapist, whatever)? "

I have, but I try to avoid it in situations where I would be 'copping out'. If I think I legitimately can't help someone, I send them to someone who can...be that a book, a therapist, or even a blog.

Of course, I always try and keep myself open and available even when I do something like that, so I don't just pass the friend on and then forget about it.

atheistamputee said...

@moresc0de: I think we've all done it, as some problems are beyond our scope of understanding. Some issues are far beyond what simple caring and rationale can deal with.

However, I think that a rational person would be better at finding the proper resources, rather than throwing a be-all-to-end-all book at them (the bible, Koran, etc.).

Doug Hoag said...

For the religious: defend yourselves. Tell me why relying on your invisible friend is better than relying on someone elses, or even you.

I'm embarrassed at the way you've been treated by well-intentioned but misguided Christians. It's asinine to try to explain to someone why they are the way they are by employing pious platitudes or misquoting Scripture. Like you, I just am. Everyone just is.

As for my invisible friend-- yes, he's invisible to the naked eye, but much more than that, even beyond invisibility (whatever you might think that means-- I have an image in my mind of what it could mean, although I can't accurately describe it). At any rate, the important thing to me is that he becomes visible through my friends who help me and seek the best for me. We love and serve the very visible neighbor, no matter their condition or station in life. We do this because of the belief in the dignity and integrity of the human being, and that we all experience different but very real levels of brokenness.

You make excellent points about reliability. Never seek the "invisible crutch", and just passively wait around for things to happen. But seek that which makes the "invisible crutch" visible-- caring, level headed, and sane friends!