I don’t dislike religion, I dislike the people that believe in religion. And while this may seem like a small point, it is not. As I read the words of the icons of religion, I kind of nod my head and think, “these are not unreasonable thoughts and, if implemented correctly, would probably lead to a better world”.
Then, of course, man comes into the picture and completely screws the whole thing up. Man decides to “interpret” the words of the great religious leaders of our time and that is when all hell breaks loose.
Take this simple quote. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him”. Pretty straightforward, no?
Except that somehow, “everyone” soon became a much smaller group. “Everyone” quickly became “those who think in the same way I do”. You believe in Jesus but are pro-choice? You are not everyone. You are gay? Again, not everyone. And the list gets smaller and smaller as the fractions multiply. Are you a liberal? Then you are not everyone. Fornicating with the neighbors wife? Hey…no one’s perfect. You can still be in the club.
And, remarkably, the second line even addresses this hypocrisy. God specifically told Jesus not to judge the world but to save it. Yet man spends the vast majority of his time judging. If Jesus was told not to do it, who the hell is man to do it?
Here is my other beef. I have spent years of my life being open to the concept that I don’t know very much. So, much of my time is spent trying to learn. Religious folks, in general, seem to spend little time trying to learn outside of their comfortable parameters. Distressingly, atheists have started taking the same approach. In essence, the argument is “I’m right and you are not”. At this point both sides cover their ears and make “nah, nah, nah”, noises so they can’t hear the other side. It is a scene straight out of kindergarten.
This would all seem to stem from ego and insecurity. We all have huge egos and, particularly in America, seem to be afraid of every damned thing. From the Y2K scare, to Anthrax, to H1N1, to Mexicans, to losing our gun rights, we walk around in a state of panic all of the time. The only solace we have is getting with like minded thinkers so we can stroke each other into feeling better. (Normally, I am for stroking but not this kind).
Being inquisitive and saying “I don’t know” is for pussies and weaklings. Well then strap a tampon on me because I am a giant pussy. I don’t know hardly anything but I enjoy learning about new ideas and concepts. Because I am not rigid in my beliefs, anything is possible. Am I sucker waiting to be had? Maybe. But it sure beats the hell out of being afraid of what’s lurking around every corner in my life.
So to all my friends of whatever faith you do or don’t belong, a challenge. Ask someone you disagree with and actually listen to their answer. Mull it over and consider the relative merit of it. It may or may not make sense but your mind will appreciate the little walk you just took it on. At the very least, you will be the proud holder of new information.
Frankly. if there is a Jesus or Buddha or Allah, I would think they are quite distressed at what has been done in “their” name. Personally, I would like to see the 3 join up and put one big ass smoting on all of the offenders of the world. That would truly be the greatest story ever told.
Frankly, we need to be more like these guys: