Religion, Atheism, and Buddhism

There are two things I hate being discussed among friends and family: religion and politics. Religion is the opium of the masses. This I truly believe which is why I do not believe in religion and all its hullabaloo. Politics, on the other hand, is the dirtiest game man can ever play.

I certainly do not mean to offend anyone in saying this but I do salute our Muslim brothers for their belief in self-sacrifice for the love of their religion and nation. This practice, however, has serve more damage than good as many innocent lives are killed in the process. Not that that’s anything new to religion. How many people died from the Catholic Inquisition in the 12th to 19th centuries? Thousands, hundreds of thousands. We’ll never know. But anyway, that’s going to far from today’s blog post.

What I really want to say is that my disappointment in religion has turned me into an atheist. I started being a non-practicing Catholic many years ago , becoming more disappointed as scandal after scandal broke in the Vatican. Pedophilia, I never realized, was a common practice in the Catholic church. A good friend told me that those in the seminary were given daily doses of papaya to extinguish the “urges” they feel while in prison, I mean religious school. That disbelief in the Catholic church turned me against everything I believed in.

Soon after, I realized I don’t need to pray to any god to make things happen. While fate is an ironic concept I believe in, I still think that people can make dreams come true if only they are determined to make it happen. No one needs to pray to a higher being to make something happen. I know faith is believing in something you have not seen nor felt, but faith also means in trusting yourself and believing in yourself that you can make things happen. When my dog Hershey became really sick last June, my mom placed a rosary on her wrist, hoping it will help her live. I told myself, this may be a call to go back to Catholicism – provided she live. Except she didn’t. She still died. Medicine couldn’t save her but at least her vet tried. The rosary became nothing but an accessory. It didn’t help a single bit. And that’s when I told myself never again to hope on something as invisible as a god. I climbed the highest temple of Angkor Wat and when I was about to get down (I’m scared of heights, you see), I was deciding between praying and cursing. I decided to curse. I’m still breathing, aren’t I?

Glee’s episode on religion (“Grilled Cheesus”) made me love Kurt more. I especially loved the part when he said that he didn’t believe in God but he believed in what he and his father has. And his father woke up from coma soon after that. Religion is imposing, impractical, and deadly, among other things.

I say I’m an atheist but I have been planning to practice Buddhism for months now, specifically since I got home from my Angkor Wat excavation. I was so inspired by the Khmer people and how they venerated Buddha and the teachings of the religion. Sure, they don’t follow everything they’re supposed to do but I felt the respect they have for Buddhism. Buddhism may be a religion but I see it as a way of life. Buddhism is certainly my top priority for 2011.

UPDATE: A dear friend just gave me a Dhammapada text. I am so happy. A Dhammapada is a Buddhist scripture from the Theravada canon, sabi ng Wiki. 😛


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