I’ve been thinking a lot about indoctrination. I throw the word around quite often. Until recently, it had never occurred to me how just how completely empty our heads are as children. It hadn’t occurred to me that adults carry an enormous burden, namely that they’re all responsible for the education and upbringing of the generation which follows their own. I don’t believe most people ever really consciously acknowledge their responsibility as educators, in the social and moral sense anyway.
I’ve been considering the ties of Christianity and the fictional religion, Bokonism. Bokonism is a religion that Vonnegut created in his novel “Cat’s Cradle”. A foundation of Bokononism is that the religion, including its texts, is formed entirely of lies; however, one who believes and adheres to these lies will have peace of mind, and perhaps live a good life. The primary tenet of Bokononism is to “live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.” Foma — being the harmless untruths I mentioned in an earlier post.
I’ve long struggled, trying to decide if the good outweighs the bad, regarding religion. In my own relation, I lean more toward the bad outweighing the good. The damage that the indoctrinated Christian faith has done in my personal life is ruinous at best. I’ve been victim to a lot of damaging untruths, rather than the harmless untruths I mentioned above. I think I’m finally coming to grips with pretty severe depression, grounded I think – in the deeply rooted untruth that I don’t deserve to be loved. Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past. I’m one of those people.
Most days I don’t want to know what time it is, what day it is, or where I am. I don’t want to see anybody. None of that matters to me. I’ve been trying to understand what it is that makes me feel like this. To add to that, I’ve been horrified that in my religious writings I may have added a damaging untruth to someone’s head. I would never forgive myself if I were to shatter someone’s perception or rather their own understanding of who they are and what they deserve. That’s part of the reason I’ve fled the whole spiritual leader mantle. That isn’t to say that an unbeliever can’t inflict damage of another person’s sense of self-worth. I’ve just been fed so much bullshit by well-intentioned religious officials, who have been revered for so long that they’ve begun to believe they possess a monopoly on truth. I had an empty head once. I don’t want to be revered like the religious superstars of America and I don’t want to convince myself that I know the truth.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. -Henry David Thoreau