Last week, I spent much time saying stupid prayers.
During days 36-42 of quitting the Bible, I shared an article on social media about a pastor attributing fires in California to God’s judgment on gay people.
Understandably, people felt saddened to outraged, and the comments that deemed such reasoning as “stupid” or “dumb” really stood out to me.
I believe the people who mentioned the stupidity of such Biblical perspectives made accurate points in their observations.
We can get so stuck in religion that we become, as the saying goes, “stuck on stupid.”
A Dumb Spirit and a Stupid Prayer
Is it possible that religiously stuck behavior is actually, according the Biblical accounts, the dumb spirit that Jesus cast out of folks?
(See what clear revelations happen when we put down our Bibles? And to think some of my friends were concerned.)
Anyway, I reflected much on times I had become “stuck on stupid” in religion and times I had been freed from this dumb spirit.
Lawd knows, I have stories.
I have found that the most simple prayers can be extremely powerful.
At times, crying out “Help!” has moved symbolic mountains in my life.
Last week, I added a few more words:
“Help me not to be stuck on stupid.”
This is one of my desires.
It is a prayer.
I kept praying for God to continue to reveal the ways I am unknowingly “stuck on stupid.”
I did not and do not want to be so heavenly smart that I am humanly dumb.
To be so spiritually intelligent that it misses the heart of God would seem tragically stupid.
Our spiritual knowledge can puff us up with the kind of pride that renders us unteachable.
Yes, it is a prayer:
Lord, help me not to be stuck on stupid.
The Cost of Stupidity
The costs of religious stuck on stupid living concern me.
This condition can hurt others in material, emotional, and spiritual ways.
In extreme cases, people have and still kill in the name of God (the buck does not stops at the Christian religion).
Whenever we unquestioningly trust religious leaders and texts with the sole answer and “the truth,” we make ourselves more susceptible to getting stuck on religion more than God.
For example, we might accept church systems that promote a lack of questioning as a sign of faith.
We might blindly trust a supposed literal interpretation of a carefully culturally crafted religious text as if God directly wrote it automatically through human vessels.
To dare consider any other view, according to “the truth,” would endanger our souls, so masses of us let this distorted view of faith cloud our God-given thinking.Others might mistake our looming concerns of “losing salvation” or not pleasing God as reverence and honoring God because of “the Bible.”
I conclude that a religious system structured around the unholy trinity of doubt, fear, and blind loyalty makes it difficult to break free from religious indoctrination.
Church folks have performed such a good job at promoting and policing each other with fear, that I think the devil has gone on an ice-fishing holiday.
I am growing tired. No, I am growing tye-yard of religious fear and hate disguised as the love of God.
I want you to know that God’s love is not fear.
It does not matter what scriptures someone pulls out to try to keep you locked in guilt, shame, fear, and doubt in effort to “help” you or show you “the way.”
God’s love extends beyond our best metaphorical and literal interpretations.
It is perfect love.
God’s love is the most beautifully freeing love you can ever experience.
Closing: Thou Shalt Not Be Stupid
Like last week, I can feel deeply bothered by how insidious indoctrination happens in the church because the gross mischaracterization of God’s love has a far-reaching impact.
Typically, during these moments, I consider how there is probably some kind of mischaracterization of God’s love evident in my life.
This knowing does not justify religious stupidity, but it helps keep my righteous indignation from evolving into self-righteous judgment.
Although I can look back at ways my religiosity has been textbook “stuck on stupid,” I feel thankful that God sent people across my path to plant seeds or water them.
I thank God for people’s mercy for the ways my religiousness caused more separation than closeness.
I feel thankful that I am not clinging to the Bible as an idol, for God is beyond what King James authorized.
If memory serves me right, somewhere in the apocryphal literature in the book of Chile, Please, there is a commandment of “Thou shalt not be stupid.”
Like any commandment, I realize that it takes a Higher Power to live this spiritual life.
No wonder Christ kept it profoundly simple and real: Love.
I have yet to love to the same degree as Christ every day.
Therefore, I do not have time for using the Bible as a handbook on various ways to hate as a show of God’s love.
If we focus on love, this work, alone, will keep us busy for the rest of our lives.
Three Points of Wisdom from Days 36-42
1. God’s love frees us and does not rely on guilt, shame and fear to coerce us into blind devotion.
2. God loves when we use our God-given brains. We do not need to check our thinking outside the church doors to have faith.
3. Most, if not all, of us have blind spots in our lives, where we are “stuck.” Throughout our lives, people and situations plant and water seeds that help us get unstuck.