Religion in the eyes of one man: The Heretic Me


hmooreHave you heard of Shamanism?  Also, have you heard of the religious practice of Christianity?   These two beliefs dominate our Hmong society; you’re pretty much one or the other, differentiating yourself as plain as day or night, black or white, or yin or yang.  Though contrary to my statement aforementioned, outside the premise of these 2 chief Hmong beliefs are some people I would call the “in-betweeners.” These people are the stubborn “think-they-know-it-all” Hmong wannabe intellectuals that aren’t willing to accept anything unless proof manifests before them.  They’re the confused agnostic dwellers who’s not willing to accept any beliefs because the teachings just doesn’t add up, as the teachings seems too much outside the norm compared to the scientific facts.  There can also be other Hmongs who believe in the other variations of the monotheistic teachings about this holy one God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but have you ever ask yourself: “Is any of it the truth?”

I’ve been dealt the hand of Shamanism.  As one of the progenies of a dictator in a patriarchal family oriented system, papa’s words were to be venerated as to the likes of the tenets comprised in the Holy Christian Bible.  Because whatever papa utters out were holy and not to be contested, as you were to simply comply to his every wishes as well as conform to his hierarchy fondness of himself.  To add to this infrastructure, papa infuses this absurdity with his fanatical obsession to the old belief of the Shamanistic ways of life, a belief that is still far beyond what I can really comprehend.

Through hearsay, the Hmong Shamanists believes that everything has a living spirit, from a simple sand pebble on the ground to a magnificent redwood tree soaring through the heavens like a skyscraper, each carrying either a good or a bad spirit. To complement this, it is said that all shamanists’ ancestors are like their shepherds in this physical world in helping guide them through life’s conundrums.  Their direct ancestors watch over them as to the Christians’ God watching over them.

From a priest, a pastor, or a preacher the shamanists have an equivalent master known simply as a shaman.  These shamans have supernatural powers with clairvoyant eyes to help them heal or predict the future.  From time to time, these shamans are called upon by the common man to help ward off evil that has embodied a poor soul; to rid the helpless soul from which evil has entered.  For the holistic healing process with mind and body, shamans are the protectors and gatekeepers in making contact with the spirit world, and the chief authority in the teachings of the Shamanistic ways of life.

I’ve witnessed the incantations of gibberish in a tongue twisted peculiarity that only occurs when a Hmong shaman is in his trancelike phase while riding on his wooden makeshift bench.  In the oddity of hearing such fabricated glossolalia (speaking in tongues) with the cadence of the Shaman’s gong banging loudly in the background, it appears that the hoaxer has done his job precisely like he had intended it to be, to make a nonbeliever believe.  Because this belief is the only way that they’ve known it to be, and that this belief has been the way since they were born, as well as since before their direct ancestors were born to the magnitude of believing that this belief was there since the inception of their kind through word of mouth from their father’s father’s father on an infinite level that this belief is deemed as the truth.

Although I was dealt the hand of Shamanism, I was never truly a devout believer and I couldn’t fully convert myself into believing in this religion.  I had this strong discord to the teachings of this old traditional belief that my father had taught me, but subtly kept it to myself, so not to become the black sheep of the family.  In many aspects I’ve inherited their traits as nomadic wanderers, as I have become sort of like a wanderer myself.  To be honest, I’ve fully embraced this nomadic genetic disorder of theirs, in becoming a lost wandering soul to be exact, ever slowly slipping away from my ancestors’ way of life to grab a little Christmas here and a little Easter there to keep sane from insane, but never true to either religion.  It’s the clashes of two cultures, a first generation Hmong kid, confused out of his mind, trying to understand the true heritage of his ancestors, yet trying to conform to the American way of life.

Religions of the world are true obscurities much like the vast unexplored universe that lies up above us, and this conundrum can be similarly confusing as much as in asking yourself: “What is the true meaning of life?”  Are we mere mortals created to die without a purpose?  Why are we here?

To make this long debate about religion short, I “believe”—see “believe” comes into play a lot with religion—people blatantly become one-sided in their blind ambitions to mark their religion as the truth and the only one true religion.  Why is that?  Is it the real truth and nothing but the truth?  Are we too blind to see pass our own religion?

You see, believing in something, knowledge and understanding in something are ambiguous and can be interpreted in many ways from one individual to the next.  What is real?   Real is also ambiguous!  Similar to the movie “The Matrix,” I ask you a similar question: Do you want to take the red pill and explore the unexplained, or did you want to take the blue pill and go back to plead ignorance in being your old self?

Many people become quite ignorant in trying to understand other religions and with haughtiness, finds that other creation-based religions seems too silly to be true, yet the main culprit of all religions talks about thousand years old men, a talking snake, and that the world was created in a matter of days by an omnipotent God with a magical wand doing his hocus pocus irresponsibly by creating earth and its inhabitants, and then when he feels that they aren’t worshipping him like he wants them to he quickly disposes them to create a new—see Noah’s Arch.  Imagine to yourself if someone was to create a present day Noah’s Arch, what would you do?  What would Jesus do (WWJD)? Would you try to stop it?  Would you ignore it? Would you attempt to save yourself, or would you rather die in believing that you were doing as what your god wanted you to do?

I believe that once you’re born into a certain religion you’re conditioned from birth that this enigma is the truth and the only way.  You become brainwashed and hardwired into just believing, and you become this illogical patron to your parents’ religion because that’s what it is!  Take a step back and visualize yourself with virgin eyes and ears about your religion.  Think about it in a logical manner.  I believe that all religions are about the teachings of good morals.  However you don’t need to belong to a sect, a cult or a religion to become a good person.  I believe everyone has a good in them without having faith in their lives.  I believe that the churches are a global enterprise out to monopolize the minds of people in enslaving them to a certain belief so that the churches can manipulate people who conform to their beliefs to their likings, as you’ll never see a non-Christian in the oval office.  These are the eyes of me and this may be blasphemy, but this is what I “BELIEVE” in.  Believe in me and be leave in your religion!

By: Yesu Layman



  1. jerry thao

    April 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Exactly as I would put it! Religion, religion, we live in religion!

  2. jerry thao

    April 12, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    No comments, wow!

  3. John Yang

    April 12, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Religions are like sports teams. Chances are you'll be a fan of the same religion as your parents.

    Religion doesn't make sense unless you; were force fed it when you were young, committed a crime and need to cope with it, or you need to cope with dying.

    Despite what religious people believe, religion did not invent morality.

    It takes some level of stupidity to be a Christian. It's just plain dumb to believe in Shamanism.

  4. John

    April 13, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    to the author: I thought that you were going to take your stand based on your answer to your own qeustion, “Is any of it the truth?” which would have been the logical, grounded thing to do. But, dismissing something, i.e. a belief, or even the concept of truth itself, because you've felt pressured to or that you might have been conditioned to believe it (cause that's all you really say) doesn't really prove/disprove its validity. To come to a real conclusion about a beliefe/truth, you take a step back and do the hard work of answering all the hard quesitons surrounding it. I know it's hard work when it comes to religion, but you gotta give it a fair chance.

  5. Leng

    April 14, 2010 at 1:57 AM

    @John, Really? Only the less intelligence will fall to Christ?

    Many of us are very educated, yet we still believe. We don't just believe, we have tested and know that our God is real… and alive. We see the work of His hands in our lives everyday.

    Let's just say, Christianity isn't for the weak.

  6. sam

    April 16, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    The author is the perfect example of a person without any coherence of what it means to believe, or to have faith, not just in religion, but in anything. This is a confused, disjointed, contradictory, incoherent article…a reflection of the author's struggle to find himself and his convictions.

  7. Saul

    April 20, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    I believe! lol

  8. yang

    April 28, 2010 at 2:11 AM

    Author: You mentioned that you 'believe' "all religions teach good morals and that no one really needs to belong to a group of believers or have faith, and that churches are global enterprises to manipulate others…"

    Well, I think that you are opinionated to believe so, because of your upbringing and religious views/doctrines of Shamanism. To say "good morals" without belonging to a group is to compare oneself to the World's standards not God's standards or other religious standards. But look how corrupted the world is. And to say that about churches is deep. You remind me of my skeptical brother who says Churches are just like a business, out to recruit people…etc. But I think differently. Christianity is not a way to "monopolize" or "enslave" people to certain beliefs….No. You've got it wrong there. Many people come to believe in God just cause, but some come to believe and trust in God through miracles from self repentance. Christianity is not even merely a religion, but a relationship with God and a righteous lifestlye. Some "in-betweeners" may look at a Christian and say " I don't need to go to church because compared to that church-goer I am a better person." Well, really, are they? Again, they are comparing themselves to the world.

    P/S/ Christianity is for the weak, the humble, and the ones that regard to themselves as sinners.

  9. Saul

    April 28, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    good for you, 2 thumbs up.

  10. Bee

    April 28, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I have yet to find any written, documented and verified, doctrines on Shamanism, and its teaching on moral values. It offers none! So where is the validity?

  11. Samantha

    April 29, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Wow Bee, how ignorant of you. So since many happenings of the Hmong involved in the war of the past is neither documented or verified, is that invalid too?

  12. Saul

    April 29, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    all through mommies and daddies of the past that has been passed along through the generations, but if you would like, i can write something now…maybe a few centuries from now it'll become fact! lol

    bee u so serious…

  13. Ching Ly

    May 11, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    The author is the perfect example of a person without any coherence of what it means to believe, or to have faith, not just in religion, but in anything. This is a confused, disjointed, contradictory, incoherent article…a reflection of the author’s struggle to find himself and his convictions.

    I agree with sam.

    Many of your readers in general will most likely agree with your conclusion because many of your readers don't have philosophical understanding to comprehend what religion and culture mean for the structure of humanity. Your take on this subject is from a postmodern perspective where your opinions and ideas whether right or wrong have to be respected because in a postmodern society there is "NO" qualitative scale to judge what is right and what is wrong. Let me be one of the few say you are wrong.

    Is there truth in religion? Yes.

    Is there truth in a postmodern world? NO, only facts and opinions.

  14. MNConvert

    May 12, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Yesu Layman, I understand the last part of this article, however, unless I missed the point, but I don't see where you tied the relation between Shamanism+Christianity=being raised to believe/practice what you do. This article seems to blast the practice of Shamanism with no reference to Christianity, thus, the title might as well be "Shamanism" or the like. Keep an open mind-you said in the article???

    To Bee: You must've just flew out of the beehive to write what you had. Perhaps a little open mind like this article states will help enlighten that tight and small pea like brain like yours.

  15. smantha

    May 25, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    i think im happy that im a shaman religon thingy, because it doesn;t cause me to go to church and sit there being bored to death (no offense), im not saying christanity is bad either!..GO SHAMAN!..:P

  16. Saul

    May 25, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    The title actually is "Religion in the eyes of one man: The Heretic Me"

  17. sherman

    June 7, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    I really like this article! I believe people put too much on religion, this is one possible reason why one day people will perish; there can never be true peace when there are conflicting strong beliefs. When religion starts to affect the way you feel, act and/or think it starts to become problematic. One of the most ignorant things about religion is thinking that your religion is "the correct one". There is no such thing as all are correct, all believe in a higher power or of a world that is beyond ours.

    What really annoys me are individuals who go as far as letting religion ruin their lives by pushing loved ones and friends away who do not share the same beliefs as they do. This is an extremely common practice in our Hmong community, something I truly wish we could grow out of.

  18. sherman

    June 7, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Another thing I wanted to add was that I see religion as a "system" of giving yourself hope and a guild line of how to live your life. That is all I see it as.

    Do not get me wrong, I do believe there is a God out there, or someone or something of a higher power. I also believe there is an after life…but these are my own beliefs. As far as religion goes, it matters not to me.

  19. yuya

    July 14, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    This has got the be one of the dumbest and most incoherent "articles" that I have ever read. This long rambling makes no sense whatsoever! Right when I think I know what this person is trying to point out, he contradicts himself. Instead, this author came off as anti-shamanism, confused, extremely uninformed, and very self-contradicting! I don't know any "writers" who are quite as talented as this one happens to be.

    Shame on you, Hmoodle for even wasting space by posting this extremely bad "article!" However, I am not surprised! It just further solidify my perception that Hmoodle is filled with idiots who think too highly of themselves and are in a great need of a good and proper college education. Yeah, you can go to college and earn your degree, but it doesn't mean you were properly educated.

    Hmoodle = for those who are too dumb to look at real informative and intelligent sources of current events!

  20. Jerry

    July 16, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    Thanks yous fors yours comments!!!

  21. honestlyBlunt1

    July 10, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Look how humans have used religions to divide & oppress people. They continue to do so today. Look how you all are arguing. That’s why I don’t care for religion. I believe in & love God. I’m spiritual, but not religious. Those people who are blessed enough to attain education & opportunities seem to act so much more righteous, intelligent, & sanctimonious than those who may not be as educated or have as much. Be grateful for the blessings that you have but don’t use them to belittle others b/c it can all be taken away in an instant. My take on religious facilities. Churches/temples/mosques are all like clubs that people attend to meet more folks like them who shares the same interests. Just b/c people don’t go to church & follow all their rules don’t make them a bad person & just b/c people don’t believe in Shamanism doesn’t mean they should be hated on b/c they’ve assimilated to the American cultures or whatever reasons. People have no right to impose their beliefs & views on others. People may not believe in any religion or have any faith until something happens to them directly or their love ones, this may be their path, so don’t judge them for it even it it’s frustrating sometimes. What if all religions don’t matter b/c what truly matters is your relationship w/ God, your ancestors/families, & being a genuinely decent human being. If 1 religion is suppose to be the true religion then why are there so many religions? If 1 race is suppose to be the true or best race than why are they so many? If 1 culture is suppose to be the one everyone is suppose to follow then why are there so many? Maybe, all the religions are good but many humans use them for negative purposes. Maybe, God allowed the creation of many races, cultures, religions, deities, foods, habitats etc. to exist b/c differences are meant to be here & it’s up to humans on how to approach & deal w/ all these things. Maybe, God created Buddha to start helping out the East Indians & Asians. Ancestor spirits were meant to help the nomads like Hmong & Native/aboriginal people. Jesus was meant to help others. I learned some where that a spiritual source said there are 9 billion dimensions. If you were God & there’s only one of you, how the heck do you help all the people & creatures in all those places? Wouldn’t you want assistance? It’s just too much to handle. Maybe, Buddha, Jesus, our ancestors, Hindu Deities, & other Gods/Goddesses are just Gods assistance to us, but we’re so damn blind to see that b/c of all the brainwashing/conditioning we’ve had. Check out this video here. **** THAT’S WHY I DON’T PICK RELIGIOUS SIDES…. I ONLY PICK GOD & I TRY TO BE A WORTHY CREATION OF MY HEAVENLY FATHER NO MATTER WHAT MY HUMAN FLAWS ARE. Give up on religious war, but never give up on God, our true father in heaven who will always be there since our past, in our present, will continue to be there in our future, even when our earthly fathers have failed us. *** Did anyone get the memo? More new & younger Shamans are getting recruited b/c the older ones are dying off & so the new ones have new spirits involved that are more directly connected to God himself. Even many aspects of Shamanism are Some food for thoughts here:)

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