FUN GUIDE TO RELIGION, GODS, BELIEFS AND US
Being unreligious and therefore pretty ignorant about Gods and beliefs, I've adopted the view of being an alien trying to get to grips with our earthly beliefs in Godly things. This is what I found, but obviously blame Google if any of its wrong!
Brief explanation as to why I'm so 'alien' ignorant and the 'epiphany' that possibly set me on that path.
The first experience I had of a Godlike figure in my life was Father Christmas. I say this because I was told if I was GOOD I would be rewarded with presents.
I could even write a list of what I wanted and one year I remember sitting on his hallowed knee and telling him in person!
The impossibility of him visiting everyone in one single night, let alone shooting down chimneys when real coal fires were still the norm was of no matter to me because I was a child and hadn't started to independently question anything apart from biscuit preferences and besides, who doesn't like presents.
Easy enough sell although unsure if the being good mantra ever worked, you'd have to ask my Mum n Dad.
Unhappily by the time I was 8 or 9 I'd started to question FC and went on a search for the present I was most anticipating that year, a bike. I figured it would be pretty hard to stash away in our small bungalow so decided to have a snoop round my much visited Auntie Mays house and found it in her spare bedroom.
I think I was more surprised at the success of my secret investigation than disappointed in my FC illusion being shattered, but in a way, there ended my childhood.
Note to self, people make stuff up and magical beings are not to be believed.
However, I still had a great Christmas, I still got what I wanted, and FC was still a cuddly figurehead of presents but resigned to magical childlike whimsies.
Weirdly connected to Father Christmas was someone called God, who had a son named Jesus. He was born on Christmas Day and was the reason we celebrated it.
I was very on board with the presents, so happy Jesus had created a reason for that, but rather less interested in him. Besides he wasn't at all cuddly and got killed in a horrible way. Mind you, even that wasn't too bad because to mark the occasion we got Hot Cross Buns n Easter eggs every year and my favourite were Cadburys Cream Eggs as they were small and numerous and I could torment my big sister as I always made sure I made mine last longer than hers.
My Mum did try to get me a bit more interested in him (or possibly a bit more free time to herself) by sending me to Sunday school, but it was no contest for jumping off the shed roof onto a mattress, playing on my swing or arguing with my big sister, so I declined to keep going after one or two lessons.
I still had to recite a prayer to him every day at school (yawn) and gather in an assembly every morning and sing a dreary hymn (urgghh) but never mind, zoning out was never a problem for me and daydreaming of far more interesting things no problem. As I got older and graduated to Secondary school these religious gatherings were only made memorable if I managed to whisper nonsenses to whoever I was standing next to for a secret sniggering session, made all the more fun by the grim atmosphere of the business at hand.
So there ends my religious indoctrination really. Not supported in any way by my parents and fantastically unsuccessful at school due to its dull as dishwater presentation, so I was pretty much left to my private musings which eventually grew into mild contempt.
So the Church of England and the Bible might not have had the required fun factor or indeed been the pathway to my enlightenment but somewhere along the way I've found out there are OTHER RELIGIONS and here's my 'alien' view of some of them.
Hinduism (founded around 15th–5th century BCE)
Lots of Gods depending on what you either want, or, need to chat about.
BRAHMAN is your Main Man but he isn't an actual God, he's THE UNIVERSE.
BRAHMA is the Creator of the Universe, but it's cyclically destroyed so his jobs not just in creation but renewal too.
VISHNU is the Preserver of Peace and Harmony.
SHIVA is the Destroyer of the Universe when it's reached the end of its cycle. Fear not though cos its destruction is only to make way for a Regeneration of a new and better model.
GANAPATI or Ganesha, is Shiva’s first son and has an elephant head.
He's the Remover of Obstacles and very popular. Most Hindu households have a picture or statue of him and there's quite a lot of them to be found dangling from rearview mirrors of cars and trucks. I'm saying nothing about Indian driving!
They also have GODDESSES. Glory be! A bit of female representation.
Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune, wealth, and well-being.
Durga Devi is a bit scary but I like her name and she fights for and restores dharma (moral order). She is however very nice to her devotees.
Saraswati, is the goddess of learning, wisdom, speech and music and students often pray to her before and during exams.
There's lots more but these are the main bods.
In a nutshell Hindus believe in Dharma which is right conduct, righteousness, moral law, and duty.
They also believe that you keep being reborn until you improve enough to achieve Mokshawhich is the soul’s release from the cycle of death and rebirth and you get to stay somewhere blissful.
Same theme as most religions really. Being alive is a test and if you're super good you get to go somewhere fabulous and stay there.
I ACTUALLY THINK THATS A FUNDAMENTALLY GOOD PREMISE ON WHICH TO BASE YOUR LIFE, SO DOES IT EVEN MATTER IF ITS TOTALLY UNPROVABLE AND QUITE POSSIBLY NONSENSE.
Hindus also have lots of FUN festivals where they get to dress up and their Gods do seem a lot more colourful and up beat.
Judaism (9th–5th century BCE)
The foundation for all other Abrahamic religions, and the oldest One God Does The Lot religion around. It's supposed to be a variation on an ancient Egyptian faith called Atenism, which disappeared in the 14th century BC. Judaism originated in Israel and Judah around the 9th century BC and morphed into its current form in the 6th century BC, when they decided to make some other Gods redundant and left just one in charge.
The first five books of the Bible -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy form the Torah and is their go to guide for all life lessons.
Today there's an estimated 11–14 million followers and its two successor faiths – Christianity (1st century CE) and Islam (7th century CE) – are the world’s most popular, with a combined 3.8 billion adherents!
Probably the most well known fact about Judaism is that the boys have to have a little 'snip' but they also thankfully have a lot of cool sounding rituals and festivals to compensate and here's just a few:-
Rosh Hashanah:- This is the UNIVERSES Birthday when Adam n Eve were born.
There's a great deal of blowing on rams horns (up to 100 times) during each ceremony and they're spaced out over two days. They even provide a home horn blowing service if you can't get to a synagogue. You also have to light candles and think about new fruits to eat. I'm not sure if that means imagining something like a Bananapear or just one that's not gone mouldy.
Yom Kippur:- No food or sex for a day but you do get to eat a big meal and some honey cake beforehand to tide you over. Lots of thinking about your sins but you can't wear leather shoes while you're doing it or have a bath, and certainly not both at the same time.
Sukkot:- Move into a hut with a roof of branches for a week to commemorate the 40 year Exodus from Egypt when the children of Israel were wandering around a dessert. The hut's supposed to represent the heavenly shelter provided on their massive stomp. You can also wave certain kinds of twigs around in six different directions while reciting blessings. Joyously one of the twigs is called Myrtle which is my most favourite funny name and I now wish I was Jewish so I could go into a shop to ask for a bunch of Myrtle Twigs. I'm quite sure the shop assistant would say "Pardon" and I'd have the chance to say it at least three more times.
In the afternoon you have to jump in the sea to wash your sins away, but if you're not in a coastal area a pond will do. You can tell this was started somewhere in the Middle East otherwise they'd have opted for a nice warm bath.
Getting back to the kind of Hut, I'm not sure if garden sheds can be adapted, but that's the question I immediately asked myself.
Chanukah:- A 9 candle minorah is gradually lit over successive nights and you have to listen very intently to the flames because they teach you about all sorts of things like standing up for yourself, getting better every day and a little goes a long way. Bit concerned about singeing incidents but couldn't find any data to back it up. Once you've received your flickered message you can play games and eat lots and lots of food as long as it's fried. I think I'd struggle with this by the third night because I usually feel a bit sick after just one Happy Meal @ MaccyDs.
Shevat:- Its all about saying Happy Birthday to TREES and eating a lot of fruit. Englands got lots of trees so I hope you only have to celebrate with the ones in your own garden and I'm also a bit worried about all that fruit giving me acid reflux.
There's lots and lots more but I'm worn out just reading about them let alone doing them.
Clearly a religion for very sociable people who have a lot of time and candles and possibly prone to being overweight.
One thing I forgot to mention though is that you can WRESTLE with God, which does appeal to my argumentative side, but in all seriousness I doubt whether you can win otherwise they'd have rewritten at least a line or two in the Torah some time in the last 2500 years.
Jainism (8th–2nd century BCE)
It's not very well known and didn't gather much popular appeal because you have to be deprive yourself of flesh eating and become a strict vegetarian.
To expand, your compassion has to have evolved to a level of understanding that overrides your carnivorous lust and you'll be happy to just munch on plant life.
They also believe you're reincarnated until your animalistic and materialistic desires are no more and you are wholly compassionate and selfless and can stay dead. You'll then be relieved of all earthly constraints and be in a continual state of spiritual bliss.
HOWEVER you also have to accept complete responsibility for your own destiny and there is NO GOD to help you out with anything.
ITS STILL PRACTISED TODAY BUT SEEMS FOLKS PREFER TO EAT MEAT AND HAVE SOMEONE TO COMMUNE AND PRAY TO AND POSSIBLY ASK FAVOURS OF.
These days Jains are said to number six to seven million
Confucianism (6th–5th century BCE)
Confucianism was founded by Qiu Kong (hope I'm not the only one thinking of a giant monkey) Anyway, he was a Chinese politician, teacher, and philosopher.
It's more based on human behaviour than spiritualism, but there's still a heaven and a Lord on High and divination.
Strict Confucianists are said to number about six million.
THIS ISN'T ONE of his quotes but maybe it should have been.....
Written by Fizzfan.