—If you are practicing the religion of your fathers, you haven't grown up.
The vast majority of adults still live in their parent’s
house. I am not speaking of a literal house of course. I’m referring
to the one inside our head. We’ve all got one, and in most cases
our parents built it. For all but a few enlightened individuals, it lasts
far longer than the physical houses they grew up in.
The house inside our head is an abstract construct of religious beliefs, or other value system.
In spite of the fact that there is a very strong suggestion that we should leave our parents and start our own lives, most take the ancient directive only in the most literal sense. The suggestion I am referring to is the famous verse from Genesis, which goes something like, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife …”
I’m not really interested so much in the part about “cleaving unto his wife” as the words, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother,” with the emphasis on the word “leave.”
If a man (or a woman) is practicing the religion of their parents, they have not truly left their parents. In a very real sense, they are still living in the house they grew up in.
It is nearly a universally accepted mark of maturity to make your own home. Indeed, that is what the biblical verse is truly about, maturity. “Therefore shall a man leave his father,” with the emphasis on “man” (as opposed to “child”).
To be mature, however, suggests more than simply growing up in the physical sense.
We have all experienced full-grown adults (perhaps even our own selves) referred to, or occasionally described, as children, primarily because of behavior, or attitude.
The standard of maturity therefore (leaving ones father and mother), is a proverbial two-edged sword.
Yes, it is a mark of maturity to leave ones father and mother and make ones own physical home. But the second swipe of the blade (usually rendering the lethal cut) compels us to dismantle the home inside our head (the framework of our religious beliefs), and build our own.
We may build an exact duplicate of the structure our parents provided for us, but in most cases we will build our own unique house of faith. We leave our father and mother, in other words, to build our own family and our own faith.
It is my belief that nearly all people (in all cultures) totally disregard this much more profound aspect of maturity, and consequently live their whole lives as children, refusing to leave the house their parents built inside their head. Yes, it is indeed possible that a ninety-year-old man could die, yet continue to be (on one particular level) the same child he was at five.
December 9, 2007
Are You Institutionalized?
The Book of Revelation
Christ is a Human Invention
Christians and Heaven
Fuck the Priests
Is There a Hell?
Mark of the Beast
Man of Faith
On a Personal Note
Religion of the Ordinary
The Second Coming
The Star of Bethlemhem
The Serious Life
The Only Way