I am having a bad day. I admit it. There are times when I am just terrified that bad things are happening to me because I am "sinning" and have lost the "protection of god." I realize this is total crap, and I will explain why. Simply put, conditioning will cause you to see things that aren't really there. It is easy to pick up meaning from randomness, we were taught to do it all the time in the LDS church. It is called "following the spirit," and those that were really good it were though to be especially spiritual. Let me explain this more scientifically. If you take a random number generator and generate two different sequences of numbers you can run a statistical analysis on them. Theoretically, since both sequences came from the same distribution there should be no significant difference. However, there are times when a standard student-t test will show that the two sequences are significantly different. This is, of course, total bullcrap, but this shows that you can find meaning in randomness.
I mean, why would God come out and punish people the second they do anything wrong? Doesn't the LDS faith believe in a loving God? A loving God wouldn't say "oh, so you weren't perfect? Well, try having a living hell for a life, BLAM." It also seems ridiculous to think that God is punishing someone for not believing, when believers keep asking the question "why do bad things happen to good people?" If God were really punishing bad people and rewarding good people (this whole argument is pretty close to the argument "This good thing is happening to me, must be because I am doing what is right!") then things wouldn't be so random. You wouldn't have good things happening so often to "bad" people and bad things happening so often to "good" people. Let's be serious here, bad and good things happen, at will, to both the good and the bad. That is life, deal with it.
Why would things hit randomly, months later, when "in the moment" of "sinful" behavior I don't feel any guilt, don't have any problems, no bad things happen, etc. This seems to defy the mormon reasoning behind "well, bad things are happening to you, when are you coming back to church?" It is especially annoying when I talk with mormons about my lack of faith and the first thing they ask is "well, have things been going poorly for you lately?" All assuming that my life must be terrible if I am not a practicing mormon.
I had an interesting thought today while reading a conversion story. I realized that I felt the exact same way once I left the church. I have seen and heard of so many people feeling happier than ever once they join the church, that their family can even see the difference in them, everyone notices how much happier they are. Well, this happened to me in reverse. I changed a lot for the better, and I felt a lot happier and better, all once I left the church. Why is this? I think it has more to do with discovering our true selves, and less with discovering "the truth." Discovering your true self will set you free. Burying yourself under falsehoods and half-truths, under compulsions and obligations, will stifle yourself and your personality. It is really unfair both to you and to the world to do that to yourself.
I am really glad that I am finding myself. This has been a more meaningful "spiritual" experience than I have ever had in the church. If only people inside the church would believe that those of us outside could ever be happy.
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