Today, sitting in the parking lot at the head of the hiking trails waiting for the tow truck to come and rescue me, I overheard bits and pieces of a conversation between two women sitting at the benches on the other side of the lot. One of them was ranting and raving rather loudly, cursing every other word, and sounding downright hysterical. Of course, none of that bothers me. It's not like I've never gone off on a rant before (like I'm about to do here), and it's not like I'm not known to sprinkle in some expletives to emphasize my point.
What did bother me was the content of the rant. The woman was furious because someone had said to her that they didn't believe in God. "You don't fucking say that! I don't want to fucking hear that!" and on and on and on. Here was someone on an angry tirade because someone had expressed disagreement with her religion, who was also openly defying her religion's morals in public. The hypocrisy was palpable.
I am a former Evangelical Pentecostal Christian. Former. Over the past year, I have slowly, but completely and utterly, dumped dogmatic religion into the refuse bin. There are many reasons for this. This sort of shit is one of them. The Bible says, "You shall know them by their fruits.", and in my lifetime of looking at these "fruits", I have seen no evidence in them for the validity of the religion held by the fruit bearers - including when I examined my own. None.
What I have seen consistently are lives which do not match with stated beliefs beyond the superficial. Whether it's the illiterate religious redneck ranting in a parking lot because someone disagreed with their religion, or the suit-wearing bible-college grad minister who psychologically abuses, manipulates, and intellectually disembowels his congregation on a weekly basis. Or me, who tried with everything I had to play the part, to fit into the mold - and not only failed spectacularly, but destroyed my life in the process - which I am now trying to rebuild from the ground up.
And I don't want to hear the "Christians aren't perfect, they are forgiven." bullshit. This isn't imperfection. This is fraud. It's calling something "life", but when you open it up, all you find inside it is death and decay. It's claiming moral high ground, then shitting all over it wantonly. It's condemning others for arbitrary offenses while ignoring when you do the same things. It's sick.
This doesn't apply to everyone who believes in God, calls themselves a Christian, or identified with a religion. I still believe in God, or something like God. My jury is out on what that is, and if it's something I want anything to do with. Not all Christians or religious people embrace dogmatism. There are non-fundamentalists, and they are often quite sane and pleasant by comparison. They think for themselves. They treat people who disagree with them with respect. They are open to new ideas and points of view. They don't use their religion as a pretense to gaslight, brainwash, or mentally abuse people. And I hope if any such person reads this, that you understand that I'm not talking about you. But I find it very telling that, in general, the worse people are at following their religion, the better people they are.