Sometimes when I write a post, it opens my mind up for further contemplation on the subject I’ve posted about and paves the way for future posts. This is a good thing as I don’t have to dither on what I’m going to write about each week. Last week’s post on how contradiction has negative effects on me has been successful in influencing this week’s post.
Probably the biggest contradictions I’ve had to deal with in my life is those imposed on me by religion. For those who haven’t been following Peaceful Rampage from the early years, allow me to recap history. In my teens, I was a stalwart Born Again Christian. Like so many people who possess traits of Asperger’s Syndrome, I believed what was taught ultra literally. Not just what I read in the Bible but what was said by ministers, Sunday School teachers and others who I perceived to have standing in the church and to be good Christians. However, there were times that these people seemed to contradict each other and at times, the scriptures and that effected my faith.
The two biggest contradictory occurrences both happened when I was 17. During that summer, I worked away at a Christian summer camp and had a relationship with a female colleague there. When I came home at the end of the summer, I was determined to carry on the relationship despite the fact the girl lived 85 miles away. Naturally, to do this was complicated but I tried to have faith. Some, including members of my family thought that I was wasting time chasing after a girl so far away. However, what kept me on course was messages from two ministers who basically said that one night stands, short term and meaningless romances were a sin because that wasn’t love, it was lust. Therefore, I concluded that if I treated what I had with that girl as a summertime romance, I would be sinning against God. This contradiction messed with my head for the two years, I considered myself to be with this girl. It only ended when she rejected my proposal of marriage and that played a major part in my departure from wanting to do what God wanted.
The second instance started when I was 17 but lasted a good seven years and revolved around my time in the Marines. Some people in the church and my mother weren’t too happy my decision to enlist. They thought that me being such a good Christian, that I would become corrupted by the evil heathens that made up the US military. At the same time, however, many of them would pontificate Romans 13 and obeying the government. Ministers and teachers both stated that if we were called to go to war, we have the obligation to go. Furthermore, some, especially some of the younger Christians used to tell how the Vietnam draft dodgers were all in danger of hell fire for disobeying the Lord. This was a contradiction that in my mind, bordered on hypocrisy. Saying that you should obey your government in one hand but the other, discouraging young people from actually serving their country. That for me was the final straw with the Born Again faith. While I admit that I did become corrupted in the military, it wasn’t because of the evil heathens but because I got to the end of my tether with these contradictions. Saying that, I never renounced my faith in Jesus. I still professed to have faith but and justified it with Ephesians Chapter 2 verses 8 and 9. My statement was that if you’re saved through grace and not of works, why bother with the works?
In my very late twenties and thirties, I did find a faith that was right for me. That was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or better known as Mormons. I didn’t find contradiction with the teachings save one, which I will go into in a moment. I will not go into any argument as to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I look at it this way, we can accept the Bible and Muslims, the Qu’uran, so why should the Book of Mormon be any different? Besides, if Joseph Smith did make it all up, he must have one hell of an imagination. Another point about it is that I have read this book and found absolutely nothing blasphemous. However, I have found a contradiction. Mormons believe that murder is an unpardonable sin. Also, if somebody had something valuable of mine and refused to give it back, even after I had given him money for it, and so one night, I waited for him to be passed out drunk, killed him and got my possession back, I still would be guilty of murder. In the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon, this happens when Nephi kills a man named Laban because he refuses to give back the brass plates belonging to Nephi’s father. It is written that the spirit of God commands Nephi to do this but why would God have somebody commit and act which is really an unpardonable sin? This contradiction gets to me and saying that it’s not important isn’t the answer because it’s important to me. For the record, this wasn’t the reason why I eventually left the LDS faith.
Now for the shameless connection to “He Was Weird.” In the story, Mark does become a Born Again Christian but God never delivers him from his bullies. When he sites the ‘turn the other cheek’ passage for not standing up to his bullies, he is rebuked and told that it doesn’t mean he needs to be a punching bag. The contradictions with his faith are one of the things that lead him to use Deuteronomy Chapter 20, verses 16-17 to carry out his big climax.
At the moment, contradictions in religion have resulted in me becoming a spiritual anarchist. I believe in the teaching of Christianity including Mormonism but to follow any faith would be detrimental to my mental well being because of the fact that I would believe things so literally and contradiction would cause nothing more than stress and anxiety. Therefore, I have chosen to remain happy.
To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484157798&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird