When I was a teenager, during one of my bouts of depression, I wandered about the streets of Wilkes-Barre in tears. I felt unloved, unwanted and totally friendless. I wanted comfort, security, some form of relief from my misery. I was ripe and ready to be approached by a cult.
And I was. Several members of a cult known as “The Family” approached me and tried to convince me that they were my friends. I wanted them to be, but all I heard were the same empty promises that I heard on Sunday at the church I attended.
Their attempts to save my soul only managed to convince me that my religion wasn’t working. I looked into other churches and found the same empty rhetoric. I reread the Bible without someone else telling me what it meant and found a great deal of hypocrisy rampant in my church. There were sermons preaching an intolerance that shouldn’t exist.
I took a closer look and found too many contradictions between books to take any of it on faith. Men had penned these books, not some all-powerful ghostwriter. Men were prone to make mistakes, even change things to suit personal interests. And the discovery and translation of the Dead Sea scrolls provided the nails to the coffin.
Every so often I meet people who are trying to save my soul. I smile politely at them and take their handouts out of respect for them as human beings. It is not up to me to free them from their delusions as long as they pose no threat to the lives of others. I know they are wasting their time and occasionally mine. There are others who won’t walk away and let it be my decision; I have no patience for them and tell them so.
Believe what you choose. Just don’t tell me what I believe, because sometimes I don’t know what I believe. But I know that whatever it is, it is not up to you.