what you need to understand about organized religion is that it's inherently fucked. i don't mean religion, i don't mean spiritual shit, i don't mean all facets of "organized religion" - i mean the vatican has been, consistently, a whorehouse. i mean this in the metaphorical debauchery sense, the crusades were mostly cynical power plays - but also very literally in the case of john XII, and realistically probably others. holy men seem to tend to get into it for the power, at least the high ranking ones. if you're a reasonable nice priest you're gonna stay low level your whole life and find fulfillment in bringing the joy of your belief to your community, giving people something to cling to in their darkest hours. i think that's good, i think local churches can be powerful, worthwhile centers of the community if handled well. i think this is much less common than it should be, and has been since time immemorial. i'm not the rick and morty fedora aethist i was at 13, i am more than glad to espouse the benefit of belief. if it's suicide or religion, pick religion, keep on fighting. people need something to get them through the day - and that "sense of community" can often be a great way to keep people, y'know, kicking. tooth and claw. but powerseats are going to be bad, and before there was shit like NATO and the UN and whatever else holy seats were the ultimate form of cross-national power - and really, the UN doesn't do a god damn thing, whereas the vatican started wars and implemented policy.

i'm not a very supersitious or spiritual person [This claim is contested by somebody who knows better. Not conceited, just true!] - i wish i was. i'm a cynic through and through and it keeps me grounded, but it also stops me from getting some measure of beauty from this or that thing. i feel like having spiritual beliefs has to be really fulfilling, or that it would be for me - but i can never bring myself to subscribe wholeheartedly, even if i'm like "haha [this] or [that]" it's always disclaimered in my brain with that little wall of "but it's not /really/ for real, for real".