Thank you, Steph. <3
I just find myself distracted and struggling emotionally today.
(And please know that what I'm writing here is not specifically directed to you or your kind, well-meaning words of comfort. My questions and struggle are with religion and faith as a whole.)
I find myself discussing religion with some of my friends online today, and asking this: if God really exists, what kind of God is he? The one who let these things happen? Or perhaps, as some say, it is all part of a "plan"? What the hell kind of plan is that, to let innocent people be slaughtered (in a club or a school or anywhere), or children to be abused, or anyone to be raped or murdered or harmed in any way? What kind of God is cool with a plan that includes any of that? And if he is not cool with such things, but is all-seeing and all-powerful and it's all part of a "divine plan," why would he let such horrific things happen? That's who I should pray to? No. I struggle more and more with the idea of "prayer." When good things happen, people say that "God is good," or "God must have heard my prayers," or "God was looking out for me today." They thank him for everything from a beautiful sunrise to a lucky parking space to narrowly missing being in a car accident. But what of those who have been hurt so terribly? Does that mean God was not looking out for them? Were they insufficient in some way that they did not deserve God's care and protection? It seems so arbitrary.
I just think there is so much ugliness tied to organized religion that the very thought of it frustrates and sometimes even sickens me. When someone says "I'll pray" it immediately makes me feel stressed out, anxious and/or angry. Those words feel and sound so hollow to me these days. I've tried not to feel angry, but I do. It stirs up in me almost anytime someone says the word "pray." I know rationally that in most cases they mean well, and wish to send their most loving thoughts someone's way. Rationally I understand that. I do. But when I see so many so-called religious people or people of faith speak of "prayer" with one breath and speak viciousness lacking in compassion or care in the next breath, and follow with actions of the same, the hypocrisy has made that word into a trigger for me.
When unquestionably horrific things like this happen, when violence occurs either because of extremism or because someone's "God" says one group of people is somehow less than another group of people and therefore needs to die, it makes me wish we could scrap all organized religion and start community with a clean slate. No one would be fighting over whose faith is "right," no one would hurt one another over their religious beliefs, no one would have cause to use it in that way. I don't know... this is one of the many reasons why I no longer go to church. The "faith" I had as a child, that I was taught to have, does not stand up against all that I see happening in the world. It doesn't make sense to me anymore. I can't "go along" with it the way I did when I was a kid. Enough has happened that it just doesn't feel right.
Anyway... I join you in sending love and support and comfort to Orlando. I just wish there was something else I could do. It doesn't feel like enough.
word count: 626