Before “ The Teachings of Jesus” was a prerequisite for my college degree. Religion had made its mark on the world. From the Christian’s Crusades to Gandhi’s non-violent protests, the world has witnessed and participated in the religious uprisings for centuries. Religion has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I know you can recall the times you would get dressed up for Easter Sunday, (Or every Sunday, in my case) when you were little. Some of you may still attend church regularly. Or you only make an appearance on holy days such as Passover, Christmas, or Ash Wednesday. To each their own.
However, it was in that same teachings of Jesus class that I got the opportunity to see how Brooklyn McCoy became so enlightened about the bible. We were discussing our perspective on how we translate the bible. Then Brooklyn said and I quote “ Sometimes I like to get high and read my Bible” While the class gasped in surprise, I laughed on the inside. So, I felt it was only right that I took a trip the Mile High Club Denver, Co. I wanted to see if the high altitude got me closer to God, or if I need further assistance.
What is your religion?
“I identify with Christianity. I’m a Christian. I am still learning new things about it every day. I wouldn’t define Christianity as a religion. It is more than a religion, it is a way of life. A lifestyle that is more than a religion. But I wouldn’t argue with anyone that says it’s a religion.”
Religion can be a controversial topic for many reasons. What religion do you identify with? Are you a Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jewish or Buddhist? Of course, this does not cover every religion. There are roughly 4,000 religions practiced around the world. Many of them stem from the same foundation but have several doctrines that vary.
I agree that practicing a religion is a lifestyle. It’s not something you dabble in from time to time. Or when it’s convenient for you. I think it should be a privilege to call yourself Buddhist, or Jewish. Having the discipline to faithfully follow the pillars of a religion is not an easy undertaking. When it comes to religion. I don’t identify when any particular faith. I am my religion.
Is there a difference between being spiritual and being religious?
“ Absolutely, because spirituality is inside of me. It’s between me and my personal GodThis can apply to any human being. But religion I believe is a set of rules I should follow. For example, if I were to follow the Buddhist religion there would be some rituals I would need to perform to stay in standing with my religion or religious authority. But Christianity I don’t think there is a set of rituals I need to follow. I believe it’s about my spirituality and how I conduct myself towards other people. When other people are watching and when nobody is watching me.”
Some people preach that being a God-fearing person makes you religious.
While being spiritual refers to metaphysics. Things such as concepts, ideas, and philosophy. Something that is abstract. In some regards religion is abstract. So you can see where the two can interchange with one another. I believe you need to be a spiritual person to be religious. But you don’t have to be religious to be a spiritual person. Being self-aware and truly knowing who you are and why you do certain things as a person is on a spiritual level. Being spiritual is a pillar to happiness in my opinion.
Do you believe in the bible?
“Yea. I have come to the understanding about what the bible is. How it’s been created, and what’s gone into it from the good to the bad. It is not a perfect book and it has not been put together perfectly. I believe a lot of unbelief comes from people that are told how to interpret the bible instead of going through it themselves, and coming up with their own interpretations. You're missing the point if you’re reading the bible like a traditional book. But I believe it for what it is”
This can refer to any religious text The Holy Quran, Tripitakas, or the Bhagavad Gita. These are all subject to whether you believe what has been written or portrayed in the text. Based on the title of this blog it is obvious I am skeptical of all religions. But I must be fair and state that many religious texts hold numerous life principles/lessons that will hold true until the end of time.
My perspective on religious text is not one of an atheist. I can’t confidently say I have solid reasons or evidence on why I don’t hold these books to be true. It is based on my moral conscience of not agreeing with certain religious beliefs or practices that these books proclaim to be holy.
Why do you pray?
“I pray because sometimes life gets the best of me. And I have to believe there is a personal God out there that can hear me praying. So I pray to get the hard things off my chest that I see day to day. I see a lot of unfortunate things sometimes. I pray for healing and other people. Just to acknowledge I see their struggle. I’m praying to send some good energy.”
Praying is a way of venting to someone you believe is listening and not judging you for your shortcomings. You may pray for the same reasons that Brooklyn prays for. Or you may pray that your vices don’t get a hold of you. We all have prayed or hoped something would happen in the near future. For a new job, to be accepted into college or that the cute new girl would be your girlfriend. (I’m guilty and I got her)
When I was a kid I would pray for a lot of things. New fishing gear, my father, not to get a whooping (which was most of my prayers) the list goes. But the prayers never got answered. I always got a whooping lol. Then one day I stopped praying to “God”. I started to vent to myself and address the things that bothered me. Over time I became the “God” of my own life. Overtime I manifested the lifestyle I wanted to live.
Is there life after death?
“I don’t know. I don’t know man. Because you got some people that say that there is. But some people say there’s not. Every time I’ve met somebody whose actual died and come back to life. I’ve always asked them. “ What happens when they die? I usually get the same answer every time. They usually tell me some pretty wicked stuff about their experience. I’ve met three people who’ve died and came back to life and they all told me there is an afterlife. So I believe there’s an afterlife.”
If you died right now, where would you go in the afterlife? Heaven or Hell? No disrespect for the dead but it seems like everyone is resting in peace in heaven. Hitler, pedophiles, rapists, and murders must be the only ones in hell . If these religious books are true. I think Hell might be at capacity. I believe there is something after death. We have such great minds and know so little about the brain. The subconscious mind is a universe of its own. For it to die with the flesh would be a pity on so many levels.
What is your purpose of visiting the cemetery?
“I go to the cemetery because it is really quiet out there. The original purpose of visiting the cemetery I had a dream maybe I was 15. The dream was that I was inside of a cemetery. I was there to visit a deceased loved one. After that, I was freaked out by cemeteries. Unfortunately, I ended up losing a sibling so I had to go to the cemetery to lay him to rest. Since then I got over my fear of the cemetery. I have to visit my brother. It gave me peace of mind when I was going through a lot of confusion about life and death.”
Learning to cope with death can be difficult. If you have lost a loved one, you may still be trying to cope and understand why. The cliché saying time will heal everything is not true. Some wounds are too deep to heal with time. Not being able to talk to someone you used to talk to everyday is rough. Lucky for I haven’t experienced losing a very close loved one. I have lost a number of friends over the years but no one in my close circle. So, I can’t give you any encouraging words or advice on the topic.
It’s weird but I was able to grasp the concept of death at a very early age. I was probably five or six when I killed my brother’s pet rabbit out of jealousy. After that, I understood that people could die and not return. I wasn’t traumatized but learned death is part of life. I have life and death tattooed on my hands with roses. Life is just as beautiful as death.
What’s your definition of a real friend?
“I have experienced some real friendships but the real friend to me is somebody I can survive with. For instance, I had a group of friends in Missouri. Now that I am grown it has hit me. We were all we had in that state. Anything pertaining to survival or getting together one day out of the week to get away from our studies. Or putting our resources together to pick someone up from another city four hours away. A real friend is someone I make sacrifices for and they will make sacrifices for me.”
Real friends are people who can survive together. I know you can think of two friends or even a couple that started living together and everything changed. They have turned into enemies and hate each other to this day. Then you have the Florida boys that embraced Brooklyn when he left Colorado for the misery I mean Missouri. Now, here we are eight years later make memories we won’t forget.
There’s a saying “ Real niggas make away” The same goes for real friends. You make sacrifices for one another. True friendships are made from sacrifices that better the relationship. Going through hardship alone is tough, and can be depressing. But struggling with a group of friends is funny when you look back on it. There’s a scene in the TV show Atlanta where Darius tells Earn “We’re friends now” after they spent a whole day together trying help Earn get money. For many reasons, those three words made the episode ten times better.
Do you believe religion is for the faithless?
“I don’t know. Let me think of a careful way to answer that. It doesn’t matter how much faith I have in this mysterious God. I could be praying to God for a new car every day but if I don’t have enough faith in myself and go to work and earn some cash it’s not going to happen. This is not magic. There’s no magic tricks going on around here. It is unfair to blame God for these magic tricks people are praying for. I think that some religions can target the faithless. It can teach you complacency, to be grateful for the little I have and comfortable with my circumstances. Then work every day for my minimum wage then give 10% of that money to the church. So that institution can keep thriving. So yea I think religion can be for the faithless.”
We have finally come to the elephant in the room. Religion is for the faithless. I know some of you may feel offended by the statement. It is somewhat ungodly. I am not here to tear down your faith or your religion. I have a genuine appreciation and respect for religion. To witness someone devote their entire life to something and faithfully live by its guidelines is truly extraordinary. Almost every time I travel, I see a Jewish man praying at the airport wearing his tefillin, phylacteries and a prayer shawl. It always puts a smile on my face.
For me “Religion is for the Faithless” means you have lost faith in humanity and in yourself to make the changes this world needs. So, you pray and hope your God will bring better days. People have been praying year after year to end world hunger, war, deadly diseases, racism, and poverty. But here we are in 2019 facing the same issues. Let’s stop praying for better days and create betters days. We are the gods of own life and the future.
After spending the morning with Brooklyn discussing religion. We came to the conclusion that people can use religion to target the faithless. I can’t confirm or deny if I needed further assistance to reach this state of enlightenment. You will have to get high and read your bible and see for yourself.