Religion: Killing yourself with prayer
I want to stress I got a lot of great things out my fling with religion, especially some great friends and a lot of under the table style hedonism.
There were a few years of my youth that religion, particularly episcopalian Christianity, played a role in my moral compass and decision making. My understanding of how one should act, especially as a young man was dictated by readings of Christianity. One of the most horrible skills I ever learned while religious was how to repress my desires and emotions.
There was a bible verse that really stood out to my young puberty-ridden mind, Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”, naturally at the time I was just learning to explore my sexuality, though, this brought me great grief. Many a night did I lay in bed, only to catch myself thinking impure thoughts which I would pray away. “Dear lord please help me stop having these thoughts, dear lord please help me stop having these thoughts” again and again and again, until I would cry myself to sleep from existential guilt.
Religion teaches this horrible skill of repression, take your natural desires, your natural passions and interest, and kill them with God. Pray them away until those thoughts are gone and you are no longer your authentic self but you are a mindless childlike servant to your church, your family, and your god.
This idea of repression of the self is central to Christianity and most religions. Angry and want revenge? No, you must learn to repress your desire and give into mercy. Not comfortable with monogamy and want to have an alternative relationship? No, you must fight these sexual perversions and never have sex out of heterosexual wedlock. Dissatisfied with your job? Don’t you dare think of getting rich, pray your dissatisfaction away and embrace meekness. The things that make the individual authentic and unique are to repressed in the name of purity. In order to love God fully, you must philosophically kill yourself.
It’s okay to be yourself regardless of what the God-Man says. The good aspects of religion are not worth the psychological damage you can cause yourself. If you have desires, don’t repress them, don’t kill your self with prayer, embrace them, be authentic.