I was browsing one of my regular discussion forums today and to no one’s great surprise the topic of religion was of course high up on the list. What amazes me with discussions on religion is that almost every debater demands respect for their views while offering none of that to the counterpart. Amidst labels like brainwashed, doomed, infidel, stupid etc. there seems to be very little constructive debate. And when it comes to beliefs what is there really to discuss? -I believe this! -I don’t believe that! -I like strawberries! -I like vanilla. -Ok. Let’s wrestle!!
I am not a big fan of organized religon. Not because I don’t believe in a power greater than myself, but because I am left with the impression that it belittles and limits its followers more than it sets them free. Believers are rarely encouraged to formulate their own conclusions. Instead indoctrination and blind acceptance of inflexible truths seem to be a prerequisite for a majority of organized religions. Not to speak of the literature that accompanies them. These books are being treated by many as if they once came falling down from the heavens bound in hardback and translated into every modern language. Rightfully, a lot can be learned from these books as many principles are universally accepted truths, but they must never be taken literally. They were written in another time and more importantly they were penned by humans. Fallible humans.
Humanity evolves but this is not done by clinging on to the marvels of the past. We must remember the past, learn from it and then create something even better. Creation is continuous. Treating religious texts as ultimate truths that can neither be questioned (the authors are long gone) nor reasoned with is not to learn from the past. It is to be stuck in it. Look ahead, and for the love of whomever you believe in: Use that wonderful mind that your creator equipped you with.
I have great respect for people who use their religion for the good of the people around them. I have however very little patience with those who use their religion to limit the freedom of others. If your religion can add to the harmony of the world around you then I am all for it. But if your religion is a licence to discriminate, harass, molest and even murder then I am pretty sure that you are on the wrong track if it is eternal salvation you are chasing. Just a hunch I have.
What are my beliefs? Well, really I just want everyone to get along. Seriously. I try to treat others like I want to be treated, an attitude that I believe can go a long way. And I believe that love trumps everything.
Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.