Which came first religion or guilt

Today, as I took on the role of car service driver, shuttling certain passengers back and forth and being subjected to certain soliloquies aimed directly at me- the central theme running through them being how selfish and what a bad person I am, one thought crystallized in my awful little head.. up until this my 38th year on this planet I’ve operated and made every major and minor decision in my life based on guilt/religion.

I’m honestly not sure where the two separate as my guilt, I’ve realized is tied into my fear of the almighty up there- judging me- waiting for my demise, to rake me over hot coals and have a series of videos running non-stop- of all the instances in my life where I was a) disrespectful to my mother b) not a good religious girl (you can really substitute any religion in here as I’ve come to realize that so many of us who were raised in super religious upbringings tend to carry around this massive 1,000 pound luggage of guilt with us wherever we go that tends to color our perception of things and ultimately the choices we make).

My husband on the other hand was raised as secular as they come– in fact until he met me- I don’t think he even gave the religion he was born into a second thought. His religion, his life is framed by, the concept of never feeling superior to others and running. I do believe a sidewalk is the almighty deity he prays to- that and the sun- because with both of those in alignment- this man is ready to face the day and is imbued with a sense of confidence that his time on this earth is valuable and worth contending with. As far as any guilt ridden thoughts, feelings, rituals he must conform to- to appease the almighty Deity (I believe looms up in the heavens) well he has NONE of that clouding or infringing on his decision making powers.

And he looks at me– as a slave to this dogma I call religion- a veritable basket case of worry, anxiety and yes even at times as a tortured soul- the fact that so much of the energy I expend is avoiding walking on proverbial cracks so as not to inflame the ire of that almighty I am so fearful of.

Of course most of my guilt centers around my parents; and my mother is acutely aware of this and I am certain uses it to her advantage. My dear departed daddy, although he subscribed to the mores and traditions of our religion I know deep down scoffed at the unpredictability of the world- and that if there were truly a grand master narrator of our stories- the grief and sadness he experienced throughout his life would never have come to fruition. I wrestle with those same feelings my dad had- and yet in doing so- I call into question so many of the ways I’ve chosen to live my life.

I wish I was one of those people who could just be religious- and do it because they feel it in every fiber of their being and therefore they do it not for any reason but love. Maybe it’s my father’s passing; being so close to the fragility of our mortality- that has me looking at the reasons behind my decisions and questioning if this path is indeed the right one for me.


  1. says

    Unfortunately, it seems to me that a lot of this debate of philosophy is just a silly way of trying to eternalize the discourse of the day. People won’t think the same way in the future, I can guarantee that.

    You seem like you really want to be a good person, and you want to find meaning in life, and find meaning in being good, you also seem to want a better world, to that end, if you’re going to live as if there is meaning in what you do anyway, I think you can see that it doesn’t hurt to hope. I think the more you think about that, the more rational you’ll find it.

  2. says

    Also, I think there may be a reason we as humans oppose the chaos in the world, I think it’s because we’re meant to do something about it.

    That of course is my opinion, I hope you find value in it.

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