A friend recently told me a story about his girlfriend that I'd like to share with you all. This is a nice little example of the fear-mongering these religious groups utilize to oppress their followers.
This particular friend's girlfriend is a practicing Catholic. Now, if you know anything about religion, it is currently Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The season of no meat on Fridays (except fish and/or poultry depending on how lax a person's church is). Are you starting to notice the inconsistencies and hypocracy of the various religions? It is also the season of sacrificing something you enjoy. For example: meat, beer, cigarettes, etc. Now, in this girl's case, she gave up chocolate for Lent. Okay, that's not crazy. Seems doable. A small, acceptable token of one's belief in their particular deity of choice. Hang with me folks, I'm getting to the point.
So this girl stops to get a sandwich and coffee while driving to a relative's house. However, she doesn't get just any coffee. Oh no, she gets CHOCOLATE coffee. Astute readers will recall that she has given up this guilty pleasure for Lent. She gets back in her vehicle and heads out on the road. Before long, she notices a cop following her, lights flashing. The cop gives her a warning for doing 36mph in a 25mph zone. A warning. No citation. She immediately texts her boyfriend with, "God is punishing me." He calls her back and she tells him the story. She was convinced that God was mad at her for having chocolate after she'd given it up for Lent. So He apparently sent her a warning. I guess next time she'll (gasp!) get a speeding ticket. Just seems so silly to me. Why should anyone be afraid to eat chocolate?
The previous example is just a small sample of the many rules and regulations religions use to...well, I don't really know why they do it. I don't think they know either. I guess it's just to maintain control over their subjects. I know a few other guys who utilized this technique. Do the names Charles Manson, David Koresh, and Jim Jones ring a bell? Granted these are extreme cases but they still held sway over their believers and controlled them without question. Sounds awfully similar to what ALL religions do.
I'm a firm believer in freedom of religion. If it works for you, fine. If it brings you peace and stability in an otherwise chaotic world, more power to you. Just keep it away from me. I don't try to convince people that my beliefs (or lack thereof) are the right path. I may discuss it with them but 9 times out of 10 the religious types will get all pissy and judgmental. So apparently I'm a heathen. I'm a sinner. I'm an infidel. Satan has a nice hot seat waiting for me in Hell. Well folks, I'll believe it when I see it.