Never explain--your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

And yet I will still try. In the next few chapters of this work, I'll be talking about religion. This is the single most polarized subject in the world, so I have been extremely careful to protect my address. I don't plan on (or really want to) convert anyone to my way of thinking. Maybe, though, I might put a few drops of it into your own world view.

I also wish to address several issues before they come up: first off, Christian views and my own personal ones can be very similar. However, they are often VERY different. That does not translate into personal animosity, or into hatred. If you took the time to read this, I like you! I should love you simply because you are human, and I am indeed working on that.

But I will probably say things that will anger you. Please, I beg of you, do not just ignore me. Don't just close up and hate me for being different: tell me WHY I'm wrong! Attack my logical flaws! Talk and argue and question me! That's how we learn and become better at this kind of thing!

And, for me at least, it's just fun. (Yep, I realize it sounds odd that a 16-year-old enjoys theological debate.)

*** I'm going to start with the origins of Joeism. I was, for a brief time, Catholic. (I still attend a Catholic church, but that's just because I have some wonderfully close friends there and the priest is so reasonable and progressive that he is actually leaving soon because he isn't really "Catholic" enough.)

Search me as to why, but I wanted to be part of a religion. I was scared of death and what happened after it, I felt a sort of spiritual loneliness, and I was simply curious. Since my family is Catholic, I chose that path to God.

But more and more, I started questioning. Gay and non-Catholic people didn't seem inferior or different in any way. Why did they have to go to Hell? Why were so many harmless things sins? I also disagreed with the idea of God creating the world in the way He was supposed to have. hell, why is God even a He? Why not a Her? Why is it even necessary that God has a gender?

Those kind of questions are rather difficult to reconcile with a Biblical viewpoint. I doubted to the point that I simply gave up on Catholicism. I set out, naively taking my own view of Christianity. Nowadays, I have chagned even from that. I am now what is technically called a Deist.

Now, a Deist is simply a believer in some kind of deity who does not follow an organized religion. Half-laughingly, I gave my own little religion a name: Joeism. It stuck. And so. my earlier work was a challenge to Atheism. (Feel free to have a glance at that if you finish this one.)

This work is a challenge to Christians. I want to provoke you to think, to question, to wonder whether you really are serving Jesus, or just a backwards and unrealistic establishment. (If you aren't Christian, I still want to hear your accolades, death threats, ego-deflations, and everything in between.)

I hope you learn something from me, and vice-versa. May the deity of your choice bless you, friends.