I think I got this whole religion thing wrong.

Apparently, it’s ok to brag about how great your god is, and to mock everyone else’s thoughts, beliefs, or philosophies. After all, in the Christian Bible, it says that they shall not have any god before him.

Personally, I think that’s horse shit. And it’s probably the reason why I didn’t automatically sign up to be full-blow Christian when I got old enough to think about such things.

So let’s get in the waaay back machine and see if I can figure out why I have these thought. Why, when I hear anyone, of any religion, mouthing-off about how great their beliefs are, it makes me wanna punch them in the face.

Maybe it starts back when I was a kid. Back then, I never knew we were lower-class, or lower-middle class. I got stuff I asked for, and the things I didn’t, I just dreamed about as I stared into the Sears Christmas catalog. But when my friends got all the newest and coolest stuff, I may have been jealous, but I also saw how they liked to flaunt it. Some would be like, “I got this and that and I’m really cool aren’t I!” Then they would toss it aside when they got bored with it. Meanwhile, I would be stunned, cause while they were ignoring the latest action figure play structure, I was building one out of cardboard cause that year, we didn’t have a Christmas.

Going ahead a few years, when I discovered music, I was influenced by family and friends. Most of my friends didn’t like the music I liked. But they listened to whatever was popular, according to some record producer or playlist manager at the radio station. Some of it was cool, but it was played over, and over, and over again, I tuned out. Big time. Sadly, it wasn’t until college  that I discovered other kinds of music besides what the radio stations play. Back then, I tolerated Pearl Jam because everyone else loved them. It took many years, after much of their hype had faded, for me to really appreciate their much. It was the same thing with Nickelback. When they first came out, hated them and that one frickin song they played ad nauseum. But now, even as everyone loved to hate them, I don’t mind them. Used to hate disco. Now, it’s cheesy awesomeness.

Maybe it isn’t something specific about my past. maybe it’s just me. I always saw people who brag  as assholes. Back in the day, I never knew why I thought they were assholes. All I knew is every time they opened their mouth about whatever it was that they had that was sooo awesome, in my mind, a sign would appear over their head, flashing in bright neon, that they were an asshole. And before you get all testy about the difference between talking about something someone is proud of, and bragging, you can tell the difference. It’s a combination of knowing the type of person they are, and how they talk about it. So, like I said, back then, i didn’t understand why I thought they were an asshole, I just knew they were an asshole.

Today, I think they are insecure. Someone who talks about how great they are, or how awesome their iPhone is, and how lame everything else is compared to their crap, obviously don’t have much substance to them. They need material items and peer gratification to make themselves feel better and important. It’s also a matter of status. They need to prove to themselves, and others, that what they have, or what they have chosen, makes them better, smarter, stronger, and more important.

Which brings me back to religion. Some people need to prove that their choices are valid, that they are smart people, that they made the right decision, and that they are backing a winner. Cause if they back a winner, then they are a winner too! And what better way to prove that you are backing a winner than to prove to others that any other choice is one for the losers. It won’t be as blatant as saying “My God is greater than yours!”, although I’m sure that thought is somewhere rattling around in their heads. It can be as simple as taking a tragic event and mentioning that it might have been averted if God had been worshiped there.

I won’t go into the history of wars that were fought in the name of religion, and how many people have killed others, and themselves, by the billions, in the name of various religions. Suffice to say, mankind will do harm with or without religion. But it sure seems that religion has been a big factor in all those deaths.

I’m not expert, by any stretch of the imagination, on religion. But I have read a few things, watched a few things, and come up with my own thought on all this: One doesn’t brag about religion.

You can be faithful. You can be devout. But to brag about your belief system, saying how awesome your god is, makes you sound like that asshole I mentioned earlier. I just don’t see Mohammad, or Jesus, or Buddha walking about pointing fingers at others and saying, “Your religion sucks!” or “My beliefs are better than yours!”. They opened people’s mind with their deeds and their words, not by bragging about how cool they were.

To me, that is what religion is about. Deeds and words.

If you truly want to honor your faith and belief system, walk the walk. When people see how you live, they ask about what your beliefs are. That’s when you talk the talk. No bragging, just the basics. I truly believe people respond better to such things when it isn’t beating them over the head, or making them feel like shit. If someone discovers something, it fills them with something. Hope. Wonder. Enlightenment. Call it whatever you want, when they discover that feeling, it means so much more.