Samuel

Reclaiming retreats from religion

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I recently went up to the mountains here in California where I had been taken 5 or 6 times as a kid for Christians retreats. And I  had a chance to think through some things.

 

Firstly, how ideologically packed these so called retreats were for a child. I was also struck with how much had been missed out on and how much a week or weekend like that could have benefited a kid had the intention not been so terribly dogmatic. (No, what if the weekend had not been religion related at all. Isn’t there an irony to Christians not really seeing the point of that. If not for doctrines to impose on young minds they would never had had those retreats).

 

In going back there without such ideological burdens I appreciated the smallish town, the awesome hikes, the wilderness, the cabin, the food. A secular friend went with me, and I didn’t realize how it would impact me, I was just crying on the inside for a good part of the trip just realizing more or less that I had been cheated, used. A lot of serious men convinced they knew what was right, and thought they had the will of their god on the side of using these short and fleeting childhood moments to make sure they got an ideological foothold.

 

As a young adult I participated in one or two occasions and I know just how much these chrisians schemed to get people out for a weekend. They really looked at it like trapping them there getting them away to the “retreats” without family and friends to interfere. They knew these weekends were the prime occasion. I swere, it’s probably one of the core reasons I began to leave religion the first time. I was convinced that a god couldn’t have such low respect for human dignity. As if all you needed to do was manipulate people off their fulcrum until they felt trapped in your hands. 

 

Even had I not been led on to read research and understand more and intellectually know there is nothing in religion, one of my core issues is still an omniscient god would know better. There wouldn’t have to be this battle for conversion. And it comes down to human dignity for me. It wouldn’t need such tactics. And then all the reasoning around why such tactics were needed. God, all the fucking reasoning. You need to bind the devil, the thoughts, all these things, because god is so great except for human thought. Where’s the dignity in that? Why not covert a cow?

 

And even the most sweet and nice people in Christianity all resort to a kind of trickery in the end. Some are very good at it, some are not. I think they really depend on being able to lure you in deep enough that it’s too hard to find your way out, so that when it comes time for the real questions they don’t even bother. They kind of look at you and say, yeah, well what’re you going to do about it. Of course they really just say: “why don’t you pray about it.” The ultimate fuck you and your reason, you drank the kool aide, now go fucking pray about it. 

 

Christianity should come with a warrantee. It would quickly end the religion.

 

Anyway, revisiting those mountains and having a positive non-religious experience there went a long way to reclaiming that part of my youth.

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