Religion Can Mean Something Different For Everyone

Religion Can Mean Something Different For Everyone

When it comes to religion, just like with all things, you need to follow your own path.

I'm what my dad calls "Catholic Lite." He describes someone as being "Catholic Lite" when they consider themselves Catholic but don't hold to all the obligations and beliefs of Catholicism in the same way that Bud Lite is still considered a beer but without all the calories.

To me being religious, or Catholic for that matter has so much more to do with being a decent human being than going to church on Sunday's or participating in confession. I don't believe in the nonsense that says going to church makes you better than anyone else and I surely don't believe that only good people participate in the sacrament of mass.

I grew up in a mixed religious household. My mother was Catholic and my father was raised Baptist. When I was really young I remember going to church every Sunday with my mother, grandparents, aunt, and cousins. I also went to Catholic schools through elementary and high school.

Having my entire life be based on religion, I began to ask questions that my parents didn't know the answers to and was taught concepts that my parents didn't agree with. As time went on, we all pulled away from the faith. In part, I think I pulled away because I felt that Catholicism was being shoved down my throat giving me no chance to catch a breath and decide what I truly believe.

A couple of things I was taught that I personally don't align with are as follows:

  1. I don't believe in confession. I don't understand the concept of one man bestowing onto another power from Christ to cleanse me of my sins. I would much rather pray in the privacy of my home to our lord and savior asking for forgiveness for my wrongdoings.
  2. I don't believe that only human souls enter heaven. I believe that all living things are Gods children and I don't think he would deem some of his beloved creatures as having souls more important than another's.
  3. I was once told by one of my religion teachers that it was a sin for my parents to be married when they were of different faiths. I don't believe faith has anything to do with marriage. Marriage to me is about love and commitment. My mother went to mass without my father because that was her choice and my father didn't mind at all. I think that's the way it should be. A spouse shouldn't participate in the faith of his or her partner simply because they feel obligated to. When it comes to having children I would say teach them the things you can both agree on and then when the child is old enough present to him your different religious factions and let him choose which he feels more closely drawn to.
  4. So many religious organizations or faith sects preach acceptance but then turn away those who desire to live life differently than them. For example, I went to high school with some individuals who upon graduation came out as homosexual or bi. Some of them were blessed with families who love them for who they are no matter if everything they do aligns with the faith or not. Others were not as lucky and were turned away by their families. I ask you, what is religious about this?
  5. I believe there is more than one way to pray. I don't think I need to kneel, bow my head, and spew some words I memorized when I was 5 because I was forced to for a religion test. I don't consider that true prayer because when I'm spewing these words I don't really mean them. I think a prayer can be a simple thought or heart feeling.

Going to Church on Sundays and participating in the sacraments does not make you a good person in the same way that not going to Church does not make you a bad person. I guess you could say my religion is based on the "golden rule" that I treat others the way I want to be treated; with respect, dignity, and kindness.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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So Apparently Chuck E. Cheese Lore Is A Thing And I Am HERE For It

Yeah, don't look at me like that, you know you're interested in this.

So apparently Chuck E. Cheese lore is a thing

I stumbled across this beautiful new world in a tweet from Twitter user @friendbow about the fact that Mr. Cheese is canonically an orphan.

RIP Mr. & Mrs. Cheese

Think about this for a second. Of all the possible backstories for an over-sized anthropomorphic mouse robot who works as a lounge singer at a child casino, the person in charge of character development for CEC Entertainment decided his parents being dead was the best option. Captivated by this, I naturally decided to follow the trail and see just how far the lore goes.

Most of it seems to stem from a book called "The Story of Chuck E. Cheese". The book has no author listed but Chuck E. Cheese's itself, as though it were simply the embodiment of the corporation, the enfleshed form of the lore that exists in the minds and hearts of every employee of the pizza and arcade chain.

The plot of this biography- or, more properly, hagiography- is so wondrous, so unique that I cannot but think that it must be a true story. I truly believe that no human writer could create a legend of this caliber.

The story begins with Cheese moving into St. Marinara's Orphanage. We are not told what event necessitates this, or where he moves from, so we can only assume that his parents' fate was so horrific as to be unrecountable.

Cheese loves to sing, particularly the song "Happy Birthday". His penchant for birthdays turns out to be a prominent theme throughout his life, although he does not know his own due to his lack of parents. Perhaps this is merely a cruel irony, mentally torturing him forever and driving him to seek solace in others' birthdays. Or perhaps this ignorance about the beginning of his life is the source of his birthday obsession. Maddened by having been robbed of this fundamental piece of information about himself, alienated even more thoroughly from his family than he already would have been, he is determined to someday solve the mystery, and if not, then he will ensure that no other child suffers the same fate as he.

Apparently, his only other passion is Pong, which he plays so much that he wins a trophy and $50 in a tournament. Cheese uses this $50 to buy a one way ticket to New York, which raises a number of questions about this orphanage. Do they regularly allow their charges to move off on their own? Do they even keep track of their kids? For a second, I thought that perhaps he was simply living in the walls of the orphanage and was not actually a resident on account of being a mouse, but the fact that he was able to win a Pong tournament and buy a bus ticket indicates that he is anthropomorphic enough to have been treated more or less equally with the human orphans. On the other hand, perhaps he was discriminated against due to his species, and that is why no one cared about him taking off on his own. (Wait. Is Chuck E. Cheese otherkin? Oh God.)

In any case, he arrives in New York homeless, so he squats in a pizzeria- right above the kitchen, in fact, which is quite certainly a health code violation. He successfully hides from the chef, Pasqually (who was named, it would seem, by an alien attempting to guess what an Italian name sounds like), until one night he mistakenly assumes the unfortunately named cuisinier to have gone home for the night.

Upon discovering a mouse running around his restaurant, our pizzaiolo is rightfully concerned and chases the rodent with a rolling pin. (This seems to me a rather poorly thought out pest extermination plan, and I know that I would certainly be fired for doing that in the kitchen I work in, but we can show the man some grace for being in a panic).

The would-be exterminator- or murderer, depending on your point of view- has his victim cornered, ready to strike the fatal blow, when all of a sudden, the mouse begins to sing. Freaked out at this frightening development, Pasqually drops his weapon. After the initial shock of a singing mouse wears off (the trauma would take several additional decades to go away), he proclaims (in a definitely accurate and not at all offensive Italian accent) that his establishment has been saved.

The reason, of course, is that he has realized that he can exploit this desperate singing mouse for profit. We had not previously known that his business was in trouble, but it is not terribly surprising given his poor maintenance skills; and besides, capitalism is excellent at creating crises.

Anyways, Cheese nearly destroys the restaurant by freezing up at his first performance, only to be saved by his uncontrollable urge to sing happy birthday. From there, they hire more singing animals and turn the place into a casino bearing his name, eventually expanding across the country to turn children everywhere into jazz club frequenters and gamblers.

So, uh, yeah, remember that when you have kids and want to take them for some family fun. (Don't worry, there might be booze in it for you).

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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As A Christian, I Think Our Country Needs To Separate Our Beliefs From Government

It's for the wellbeing of the USA.

of 70% of those individuals claim to be a part of the Christian faith. As a result of having such a giant number of people have said faith a question has risen that many citizens believe should be answered; "Should the United States claim to be a Christian Country?'

Many conservative citizens believe we should, our founding fathers were Christians, and intended for the country to be as well, so why not stick with that mentality? We already have "In God We Trust" on all of our currency and many government buildings. In our pledge to allegiance, we even say "under God."

Unfortunately, I disagree; I believe we should not claim Christianity or any religion. If the United States decided to claim to be a Christian country, we would be isolating the other 30% of our population who either are of a different religion or don't believe in a higher power. The founding fathers also believed in religious freedom, which allows anyone to be a US Citizen and have any faith they choose to without being harmed (which isn't the case at the moment).

I am a Christian, I was raised in church, and was baptized at a young age. I try to go to church as often as I can and I love God will all my heart, but I believe we must separate our religious beliefs from anything to do with our government. We must do this not because we are against God, but we must do this to better represent the millions of our citizens who don't believe in the same faith as we do.

The United States has already taken a great step forward by removing prayer from our public-school systems. Many believe that this is wrong, and we should add prayer back into our schools, but again I must disagree. If the United States adds prayer back into schools, we will have many students singled out when they do not pray with the majority of the class. This will ostracize the population of non-Christians more than they already are in this country.

I believe that we must take things further and remove 'In God We Trust' from our currency, the reason being is not every citizen believes in God; some believe in Buddha or Ganesha. Simply speaking for everyone and saying In God we trust is wrong. We must also take out "under God" from the pledge of allegiance for the same reason. Millions of US Citizens do not believe that God is watching over this country. Having "under God" in our pledge and "in God, We Trust" throughout our government is making us Christians separate ourselves from the other non-Christians, and evening making it seem like we are better than the other 30% of our population.

Although it is up to our political leaders to remove Christianity from our government it is also up to us Christians to stop putting ourselves on a pedestal. We need to stop believing that the United States owes it to us to put these little religious remarks on anything that has to do with our government.

It is our duty as Christians to show love to all people and doing that we must make everyone feel welcome in this country, and we cannot do that when everything that has to do with the United States is slapped with something to do with our God. Therefore, it is our duty to make a difference in this country. We have to separate our religion from this government for the well-being of the entire United States of America, all 325 million of us, and we cannot forget the .7; every single citizen matters.

Cover Image Credit: Catholic Imagery™

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