Thursday, January 4, 2007

Perfectionism Insanity...

I haven't posted for a few days. I'll let you in on why that is. First though, some background. In the cult I grew up in, Jehovah's Witnesses, (that's the first time I've mentioned that, isn't it? I guess I'm really out of the closet now) there was always this "protect the appearance of the religion at all costs" kind of mentality. There's an all-pervasive need to not "bring reproach on 'Jehovah' or the congregation" (as if God needed me to make sure no one got the wrong idea about him). It causes quite a perfectionist persona to develop, where you have the need to project that you've got it altogether. Time and again, we were told that we were "Jehovah's happy people" and that we must be aware of how we present ourselves "to the world" so that people "on the outside" would be endeared to the God we served. No small task.

So, what does this have to do with why I haven't written for a few days? Well, as I've been writing about my increasingly atheistic ideas, I felt this overwhelming need to "protect" that idea from any ill perceptions. I haven't been feeling great emotionally for the past few days and I thought that if I wrote about my depressive thoughts I'd be "casting a bad light" on atheism. The thought swirled around in my head: "No one's gonna wanna become an atheist if they see that it hasn't cured all your ails." So I didn't write. Yes, I know. It's fucked up.

I realized though this morning that that was completely irrational. I'm not responsible for what anyone thinks of atheism or anything else for that matter. And I'm human. I suffer from depression. This is part of my life for the time being. I can only be where I am. And so it is.

tall penguin


Anonymous said...

I am not a big fan of posting comments but I felt I could share my thoughts about religion.

Since I started working in New York I was surprised to discover a big number of people and students at City College who go to church on a regular basis. They are mostly catholic and a few belong to penticostal church. This is very different from Canada. I heard the US is more conservative but I did not realize religion is so important here.

A while ago I found a book about religion written by Osho. He wrote a lot about philosophy and religion. I never knew about him until I found this book in a bookstore on Brighton Beach. I flipped through the pages and found some interesting discussions. For example,
he pointed out that the laws of nature can not be changed. He challenges the Bible and the stories it tells such as Jesus walking on water.

tall penguin said...

Thanks for your comments.

"I heard the US is more conservative but I did not realize religion is so important here."

Yes, the U.S. is an increasingly religious nation. And increasingly fundamentalist I might add. A great documentary called "Jesus Camp" would give you an indication of this growing and alarming phenomena.

Jesus Camp info:

"A while ago I found a book about religion written by Osho."

I've read a bit of Osho's works. I'm reticent to take much of what he says seriously as he was a cult leader. The idea of challenging the Bible though seems valid. For more info on Osho:

tall penguin

Anonymous said...

I'm dying to see Jesus camp when it comes out on DVD. In any case I found this quote from Dawkins that I absolutely love. I guess ultimately even the most atheistic among us is a little wee bit agnostic after all...


DAWKINS: My mind is not closed, as you have occasionally suggested, Francis. My mind is open to the most wonderful range of future possibilities, which I cannot even dream about, nor can you, nor can anybody else. What I am skeptical about is the idea that whatever wonderful revelation does come in the science of the future, it will turn out to be one of the particular historical religions that people happen to have dreamed up. When we started out and we were talking about the origins of the universe and the physical constants, I provided what I thought were cogent arguments against a supernatural intelligent designer. But it does seem to me to be a worthy idea. Refutable--but nevertheless grand and big enough to be worthy of respect. I don't see the Olympian gods or Jesus coming down and dying on the Cross as worthy of that grandeur. They strike me as parochial. If there is a God, it's going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.,9171,1555132-9,00.html



tall penguin said...

Thanks Fen. That's a great quote. I read the whole article. It's worth reading.

For some reason the link gets cut off. If you google "Time" magazine and Richard Dawkins, it comes up as the first link.

tall penguin

Anonymous said...


This website summarizes 300 United States court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witnesses, including dozens of cases where the Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions:


This website summarizes 160 United States court cases and lawsuits filed by Jehovah's Witnesses against Employers: