Some things I’m going to say may seem like shocking heresy, but I’ve been through the wringer once (childhood spent in a cult, which you’re welcome to read in detail at The Lipstick Mystic). The spin cycles that came later were a piece of cake by comparison (sampling other organized religions). If I’ve done my job correctly, it should sound like ‘shocking heresy’.
I’m going to start by pushing the envelope a little bit here and preface this post with the suggestion that most, if not all, religions are cults in their own way – that there’s just varying degrees of severity separating them.
If you haven’t fainted from that statement, well done you, but if you’re struggling to comprehend how I could make such a provocative comment, then please let me ask you to grab a cuppa, a beer, a tea, a vino, a bourbon, a hot chocolate, a Coke – whatever floats your boat – pull up a chair, and let us reason together. This may take a while.
Please bear in mind that I don’t have all the answers. I’m a ‘cult escapee’. Whilst freed of the cult that tortured my childhood, I’m still fumbling about a little bit, still extricating myself from all the other tangled lies of men (meaning humanity in general, not the male sex, per se) and their need to control, dominate and bleed the weak dry by any means possible, keeping the many enslaved to the few.
But, if I may, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned along the way, the thinking processes/experiences that drew me to the conclusions I’ve now reached, and which ultimately helped me break free of some of the worst of them.
Qualifiers: The Red Pill, Or The Blue Pill?
Does your particular religion teach that your God is going to either take you to heaven or hell when you die, depending on how good or bad you’ve been? (the mild end of the scale > blue pill).
Does it teach that you mustn’t think for yourself, or ask questions or do any research into what what you’re taught, not to read your holy book alone and unsupervised, and not to associate with anyone who doesn’t belong to your religion? (enter oppression, stage right > red pill)
Or that your God is going to ‘destroy’ everyone on earth who doesn’t belong to your religion? (Whoa! Harsh! > red pill)
Or that your God is going to suddenly appear one day and catch you up in a ‘rapture’ to take you away from all this drudgery and live with him in heaven, where everything is perfect? (Trippin’! You totally took the blue pill, don’t lie!)
Or that our beautiful earth is going to end in this ’3rd dimension’, as it struggles to ‘morph’ itself into ‘the 5th, and that little < insert any color of the rainbow here > men are going to take some of you away in spaceships? (too many episodes of Star Trek under your belt > blue pill)
Or that there’s going to be a ‘face-off’ on earth between a God and a Devil and most will die in the fray, some will be ‘raptured’ up by their God, some will be left behind to suffer worse fates, and that only those who belong to your particular religion and died, will be brought back from the dead to ‘live forever’? (Will you stop reading the Left Behind Series, for goodness sakes?! > red pill)
Or that your religion is “the only one true religion” and that it’s just too bad for those who never knew that, because they’re going to be chased down and murdered by your God for picking the wrong one? (yeah, ok, you can turn off “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, too > red pill)
Or that you’re going to receive an unheard-of number of ‘virgins’ to play with when you die? (you took the blue pill, didn’t you, you horny little bastard?)
If you answered yes to one or more of those basic questions then, I’m sorry, but you’re hooked into a cult, you definitely swallowed one of those pills – and you’ve been right royally screwed over, short-changed, and ripped off.
Don’t feel bad, I did too. Many have. Even after escaping one of the worst cults known to humanity (the JW’s), I still searched high and low, looking for ‘spiritual truth’, thinking it was somewhere ‘outside of me’, always just out of reach. And so, still searching, I entered various other Christian-brand religions, to see if they held the answers. They didn’t. Not a single one.
Simple, Profound, Words
It took me several more years before it dawned upon me that what I’d been searching for was, in fact, me….which is really, really, ironic, now that I think about it, because 26 years ago, my partner and I were playing around with metaphysical concepts, when I briefly ‘channeled’ an unknown, passing entity, who said, “the only true religion is that of the heart”.
That strikes me now, all these years later, as rather profound, because it’s meaning was lost on me back then. Alex Gordon discusses that in his book, Nine Deadly Venoms; feelings are truth, the only pure, honest form of ‘language’ (to paraphrase).
The tongue can lie, the mind can lie, but the heart cannot.
My guy takes issue with that comment; he’s of the view that our hearts, and therefore, our emotions, can be deceived by our minds. Yes, I can see where he’s coming from, but I stand by my statement, because our hearts, and therefore emotions, accurately reflect the content of our thoughts.
We are, like it or not, the products of habitual thinking. The buck stops with us. If our thoughts are heavy, burdened and dark, our hearts will accurately reflect that. The heart does not lie. Otherwise, you might as well say mirrors always lie.
The heart can be muffled and suppressed from expressing itself, yes, as with insincerity and bold-faced lies, but it simply cannot lie.
A loved one dies, our hearts reflect our thoughts of sorrow; it’s not a lie. We discover we’ve been lied to, our hearts reflect our thoughts of anger; it’s not a lie. We discover our trust has been betrayed; our hearts reflect our thoughts of pain; it’s not a lie. We’re tumbling over and over in a car that’s skidding and rolling off the road and heading down an embankment, our hearts express the terror of thoughts of impending death; it’s not a lie.
And when we willingly choose to focus on things of a negative nature for the purposes of entertainment, or just because we’re bored and not paying attention, our hearts will accurately reflect them with the corresponding emotions.
If we think and say one thing, but mean another (insincerity/lying), our hearts won’t let us rest easy for it, because we’ve prevented them from expressing the truth and opened a can of worms, finding that we now have to keep the lie/insincerity going. It’s a pain in the ass and just not worth it, if you ask me.
Not that we should be ‘happy, happy, happy’ constantly, because it’s artificial, unrealistic and kind of – well, dumb – it’s a lie – and I could slap anyone who plays the ‘Glad Game’ 24/7; they’re living in denial and expect you to, as well.
But, I digress.
My partner and I decided to ‘try out’ a small, suburban Catholic Church one Sunday – he’d been raised a Catholic, and I was semi-interested in learning more about Catholicism. We entered shortly before the service commenced.There were only a handful of people inside, the atmosphere seemed ‘pleasant’ to me, and we settled in.
In that moment of ‘pleasant’ vibes, I saw a golden shaft of light come bursting through the ceiling and shine down near the pulpit. When I say ‘golden’, I mean ‘golden’, not ‘sun yellow’ – golden. It seemed gentle, to me, like a curious, inquisitive, innocent, affectionate child. There were no windows above, it was a solid, very high ceiling, but yet here was this big, golden, shaft of light coming straight through it.
Apparently, I was the only one to see this curious and awesome sight and I watched quietly, anticipating something super-spiritual and amazing about to happen. My heart was pounding with excitement in the surrealism of the moment.
Right about then, an attendant came round with the ‘donations plate’ and when the first coin of the day shattered the tranquil atmosphere, clattering rudely into the metal bowl – bam! – the golden shaft of light blinked out, and didn’t return. Did I get the feeling that money was somehow ‘wrong’ in that environment, or at least, the way in which it was approached? Yep. ‘Something’ definitely wasn’t happy about it. I’ve never forgotten that day.
In the car after the service, I told my partner what I’d seen and shortly thereafter, those words came from my mouth that I wouldn’t understand for another 26 years, “the only true religion is that of the heart.”
Holy Rollers in Armani Suits & the Hallelujah Brigade
These, too, I consider dubious: the ‘hallelujah brigade’, with their holy roller pastors (yes you – you know who you are, you rat bastards – we all do) who slip into bed with politicians in order to influence government policies, live in mansions, drive Mercs, wear Rolex watches and Armani suits, with big, flashy gold rings on their fat fingers, yelling, ‘The Holy Spirit’s in the house tonight!‘ as though they’re suddenly a black American 50′s rocker (comical when it’s coming from a sweaty, unfit, obese, pasty-white, middle-aged Aussie bloke), coaxing worshipers to give up their last dollar to the collection plate being passed around by an army of attendants – yet again, for the second time this service (‘under holy inspiration!‘) – with all the greasy smoothness of a used car salesman, while upbeat, frenzied musicians on stage – his partners in crime – are coaxing a veil of illusion over your common sense with their pulsing, enticing, music that smoothly toys with your emotions, until your common sense actually becomes so pissed off and disgusted, it abandons you and storms out the door, leaving you to your stupidity with the rest of the zombies, now broke, and unable to eat until the next pay cheque. (Can you say ‘gullible’?)
Here’s another scenario, same church: a young father with 3 small children under the age of 6, finds himself in sudden and urgent, dire need. It was the weekend, so all government departments and services were closed. Out of sheer desperation, he approached this particular ‘Hallelujah Brigade’ for charity. They were only around the corner – one of those enormous, flashy, Pentecostal Assemblies of God joints, somewhere in the southern suburbs of South Australia.
What did they give him? A small box with a few dented tins of food (all inedible). For example, a tin of tomatoes and two of veggies, a packet of pre-made spicy pasta, a bottle of tomato sauce (ketchup) and a couple of other inedible and unsuitable items for toddlers – all of which were – wait for it – no less than 2 years out of date!
Oh yeah, baby, gimme big helpings of that Christian love and charity you quack about from your pulpit! Assholes.
And if, per chance, you happen to have fallen upon financially hard times, and aren’t particularly young, single, blonde, or attractive (whether male or female), with a definite sense of fashion and ‘style’, then the ‘holy rollers’ running the show won’t make an effort to get to know you. They certainly won’t invite you to their home, particularly if you drive an ‘old bomb’.
The more I witnessed going on in churches like those, the more my disgust was elevated to new heights.
As the ‘pastor’ – the holy roller – of this two-bit, Pentecostal, Assemblies of God church put it to his congregation one day, “I’m a prosperity teacher, I don’t want you parking your old bomb in front of my mansion on the hill – it makes a bad impression!”. (I still can’t believe the entire congregation found that terribly funny and laughed their heads off. I know this because I attended – briefly – and was there that day. That sermon was the last straw – and the last day – I ever attended another man-made church of any variety).
So, Jesus was a prosperity teacher, was he? Really? So, you mean to tell me that if someone didn’t have a flashy, gleaming chariot back in his day, and designer silk robes, he wouldn’t permit them to visit him at his home, because their old bomb would betray their financial status, which would, in turn, have been a public embarrassment to Jesus in front of his neighbours?
And entertaining and befriending prostitutes is ok (in typically hypocritical Christian lip-service and theory only, of course), but being financially poor and driving an old bomb is something to be ashamed of? Seriously?
Jesus Only Loves You if You’re Blonde, Stylish, or a Rock Musician (preferably all 3)
My, my! You learn something new every day. And to think I clearly missed those scriptures when I read the bible (Old and New Testaments, both King James Version and NIV) from cover to cover – not once, but three times!
Those ‘holy roller’ pastors sure do know how to accept the offerings you can’t afford readily enough; offerings that keep them in very luxurious, very comfortable, tax-free, lifestyles. Just don’t expect them to actually socialize with you if you’re not of their financial ‘ilk’.
I’m truly sorry to rain on your parade, and really don’t want to slap you in the face so cruelly, but there’s really no other way to put this, other than to say – they’re laughing at you, all the way to the bank. These are sycophants we’re talking about here; spiritually dead psychic vampires and financial leeches with political agendas. They feed off the emotional frenzy they create in their ‘houses of worship’, sucking the very soul out of you.
God is not there. Something darker is. Much, much darker. “Sheep in wolves clothing” comes to mind. What the ‘masses’ follow, should be viewed from a distance, with caution, and not joined in foolish abandon if you value your spiritual, moral and mental health.
For the Holy Rollers and their Hallelujah Brigades, it’s all about being stylish and attractive for their upcoming ‘rapture’ (y’know, like the JW ‘Armageddon’ that consistently and inconveniently – for them – never arrives?).
Apparently, Jesus only loves shapely, single blondes, young rock musicians, and wealthy, portly, middle aged, fast-talking, anal-retentive, dishonest, ‘holy roller’ pastors – and if you’re not wearing Dior, Gucci, or Lagerfeld when the rapture comes, then you just won’t make the cut, I’m sorry.
Which pill did you take?
Stay tuned for the next riveting instalment…