I guess it didn't take much, really. My old man had been a Baptist preacher for a while, and when he quit, he still insisted that we attend a Baptist Church. Even though I could tell he resented the cliques in the big churches. In fact, it occurs to me now that he really didn't care at all what I thought about all this.

I'll never forget one day, walking out of a particularly passionate service where the invocation to walk down the aisle and become a member of the church (that meant, being saved from eternal damnation, in case you never went through this ordeal) seemed unusually strong to a young child. (I guess I was around 12.) And as my dad and I left the church, I asked him, "Do you think I should have gone down the aisle and become a Christian?"

He was holding my hand. He wasn't a real touchy-feely guy. But he looked me right in the eye and said, "Why don't you wait until you're a little older."

Later on, he would regret the fact that I never accepted Christ as my personal savior. But I wonder if he ever did, either. How much of this is just their wish for us to have a better life with some sort of guidance?

I do know this. When I once read dolphinboy's now deleted cut & paste w/u on exactly what a person goes through in a crucifixion, the pain and the suffering and the love of Jesus is not lost on me,

no matter how hard I try to forget.

I was brought up Catholic. I am a rebel. These two states of being won't get along for long.

I started questioning my religion around the time I figured out that Santa Claus wasn't real.

Dogma such as the infallability of the pope struck a wrong chord in me in the light of a history with multiple simultaneous popes, and the steadfast adherance the Church had to an earth-centric solar system.

My current beliefs about the origins of Judeo-Christian religions are that Judaism was started as a unifying principle to extricate a people from slavery. Once it had served this purpose, it was then used to justify genocide, as the newly extricated Jews had to move somewhere, and God told them that the heathens who occupied "their land" needed to be removed.

Jesus was a real man, who, like Moses, wanted to extricate his people from slavery. This time, the slavers were Romans. The Jews of the time saw Herod as a puppet governor under the hand of Rome. Jesus wanted to return to a Kingdom of God. Analyze this. Kingdom of God does not necessarily refer to heaven, as commonly interpreted by many faiths. It may literally have referred to a return to rule by the priestly class (although Jesus and the populace at large seemed to be nonplussed by the then-current religious leaders, as they had been corrupted by money and power).

So, sensing a threat to their power (the people were not happy with the corruption of the ruling class either), the ruling class killed him. Now without a leader, the people who remained in the movement seeked to use the leader's death as a galvanizing force. They linked him with prophecies, called him the Son of God, and spread the Good Word. Paul, in particular, sought to spread the word to surrounding peoples, probably in an attempt to remove Roman domination. Note that most of the "readings from the bible" that are done in Christian services are letters from Paul to (insert other Roman-dominated peoples here). Behind Paul's common sense teachings of Be Nice To Each Other is a subversive message whose intent is to undermine Roman domination.

Faith in God equates to faith in Man. I have no faith in Man nor God.

Music, in my opinion, is most powerful when one sees it as personal and applicable to their own life. This goes along with the opinion that humans are, in essence, selfish beings, though not always blatantly so. That, however, is another subject entirely. Most songs (i.e. non-classical) are composed of two integral parts: the instrumental music and the lyrics. The music sets the tone or the mood and therefore effects the way we receive the lyrics. It is just as important as, and in some cases more so than, the lyrics. As with any verbal expression, lyrics can convey many meanings at once depending on the mood and circumstances of listener, how well the lyrics are written and presented and the tone of the music. When these elements combine in just the right way, we are left with a song that can communicate directly with the human soul. In my experience, one such song is “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.

A single from the album Out of Time, this was the first R.E.M. song I was ever exposed to. I believe it is because of this that “Losing My Religion” is the song which first comes to mind when I think of R.E.M. and it therefore holds a special place in my heart. I think for many years, however, I’ve misunderstood the meaning of this song. Like many people, I took the title at face value and assumed the song was about someone who is coming to terms with losing his faith in his religion. This, obviously, is not the case. The phrase is actually old Southern slang for losing one’s temper or being at the end of one’s rope. The meaning of the song is best put by an anonymous internet user: As it {the old Southern slang} pertains to the song, it's about an individual obsessed with another and whose feelings about how to approach that other person and how to deal with the whole awkward and rather uncomfortable situation leave the obsessed party to feel as though he is at the end of his rope.

Most R.E.M. songs have a vague quality which allow them to be pertinent to any listener, in that the listener can apply his or her own interpretation, and this song is no exception. However, reading the lyrics in light of the above interpretation makes me tend to agree with that interpretation rather than any other, including my original one.

Life is bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no I've said too much
I set it up

That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh no I've said too much
I haven't said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

Every whisper
Of every waking hour I'm
Choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
Oh no I've said too much
I set it up

Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around
Now I've said too much
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

This actually makes this song more relevant to my own life, which is what makes it such a great song, to me at least (like I said before, selfishness is an innate human trait). However, it’s also relevant to anyone who’s ever been in the position of liking someone whose feelings toward you are not quite clear. It’s a song about frustration. God knows I, and others, have experienced enough of that in regards to relationships. Take from this what you will.

CST Approved

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