but not religion

I just feel like heaven and hell are a place that’s inside each of us and we’re the ones who choose which one to explore. I mean, like, you know, I think you have to have both to have an understanding of why they exist. Shit wouldn’t be balanced if we didn’t have hell. I don’t think you’d be able to appreciate how amazing it feels to sit on a rooftop with all your friends as you’re watching the sunset listening to your favorite Lorde song if you didn’t want to kill yourself sometimes. You know and I think we’re all like, you know, a step away from both. I feel like both universes are so near to us. I don’t really think that heaven is all the way up at the top of whatever all of this is, and that hell is all the way down at the bottom. I think it’s all right here in front of us. I think they layer onto our realities like filters on an Instagram image. We see our lives through heaven and hell, and I think we always have a say in which one we can choose. You know because, even when your life is dog shit, heaven is just as close as it was before. You don’t really get further away from it, you just lose the ability to take notice of it, I guess. But I know how you feel, man. I feel like God is really quiet sometimes in my stupid life. But I still know that it’s all still right there in front of my face. It’s not really a matter of looking or searching, it’s a matter of seeing things for what they are. It’s all so much closer to you than you think it is. It’s all just a breath away.
—  Excerpt, THE INTIMACY GAP

Selichot in Isfahan, Iran

Selichot are Jewish penitential poems and prayers recited in the period leading up to the High Holidays. Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews traditionally recite the selichot at dawn on weekdays throughout the month of Elul which precedes Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year), whereas Ashkenazim begin at midnight on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.

Very few religious people follow every single precept in their respective scripture.  To the (admittedly limited) extent that religion makes any sense to me, I can understand this.  It is usually a much better option than the alternative.

If your religion’s holy text was written hundreds or thousands of years ago, there will inevitably be some of parts of it which have become outdated, by virtue of either being irrelevant to modern life or antithetical to it.  If you intend to use those texts as a guide for how to best live your life, it stands to reason that you would do a little judicious cherry-picking, incorporating into your life those rules which fit your understanding of what it means to be a good person, and ignoring or rejecting those which are incompatible with it.

Nearly every religious person does this, to one degree or another.  Some people might call it counterintuitive or even hypocritical, but if your goal is to establish positive behavioral guidelines for yourself, it certainly makes far more sense than blindly accepting every last word of your scripture as immutable law.

But bearing that in mind, what does that say about religious people who focus so intently on the parts of their scripture about hating, ostracizing, or otherwise mistreating those who are different from that text’s narrow, ancient view of how people should live?  If the practice of religion ultimately comes down to adhering to the aspects of scripture that fit one’s best understanding of how one ought to live, then those who focus on the most hateful and regressive parts aren’t being devout, they merely use their religion as an excuse to be awful people.

anonymous asked:

Hi I'm new here sorry if this is a bother but I desperately need someone to talk to... about gender identity I come from a Cerys strict catholic family who only believe there are two genders who should comply to the gender 'norm' I hope I'm not bothersome you seem like a very open and kind person

Unfortunately a lot of religions have very strict views on gender and sexuality. But you don’t have to agree with your family’s viewpoint! If you feel that you’re something other than cisgender, that’s entirely valid, and it’s entirely okay! I can’t guarantee that your family will accept that about you, but there are plenty of other people who will. Please just stay safe, and know that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you do! <3

He wrote me letters. Not the kind that come from electronic letters and numbers, but from typewriters. Ours was a scratchy, old-fashioned, black and white love. And it was so beautiful, back when he kissed me with my lipstick on and we prayed to the same God.

Protestant. 🖤

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Trevor Noah talks about Novel Prize Winner and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi taking heat for ignoring the Buddhists lead ethical cleansings of Muslims in…

Wait… Did I just typed “Buddhists-lead” and ethical cleansing" in the same sentence?

Can someone enlighten me about this? Apparently, I’m a little rusty in world religions and violence.

I used to be a sheep,

subdued and dutiful. I followed and obeyed,

plunged into the deep.

As a playful lamb,

never strayed from safety. Clinging to my flock,

as Isaac to Abraham.

Imbedded in the congregation,

ignorant of the impending slaughter; the burning of sacrifices,

Grows closer with migration.

“Follow the Shepard” they bleat

He will keep us safe, Shepard knows the way

For wolves would have us as meat.

Don’t stray from the flock,

Shepard will leave the ninety and nine, to hunt down the one.

As we are his livestock.

My sheep beware!

Shepard will indoctrinate, beware of lurking wolves.

Step not into their snare.

No longer a lamb.

I resist the sacrifice, and fear the altar of fire.

And suffer the wrath of a ram.

Shredded and beaten,

Alone in anguish, what is this compassion I see?

To my aid is a wolf, a heathen?

My wolf, black as can be,

Illuminates the sect, that calls itself a flock-

My Shepard, the Pharisee.

I am still a sheep

I make my bed with a devouring pack, black and white, side by side

The company of wolves now I keep.


-EmilyAC

I walked out my front door this morning holding 5 very Catholic books, to find Jehovah Witnesses at my door. They saw my books and I told them I was Catholic and I worked for the Church and they still tried to convert me. As I walked away they put some pamphlets on top of my pile of books I was holding… they knew I couldn’t say no to the pamphlets because my hands were full