These are my thoughts.
Religion, to my mind, should be a source of Comfort, strength, belonging and an instant source of Community should you ever find yourself Uprooted and moved somewhere. It should give you Courage, security, and good Lessons in the face of everyday life, adversity, birth and Death.
I Respect people who take these qualities of Religion and make it their own. I've had and have Friends, bosses, coworkers of all types and sects. It makes me Happy :) to count them as people I have mutual respect, admiration and Like for.
I Do not think religion should be
used as a tool to Excuse violence against
children, other Sects, religion or races, Oppress women, stamp on diversity, brush Aberrant behaviour under the carpet, Condemn everyone else on the face of the planet, Expect that miracles alone will save a dying child or Crush someone's spirit until they're Suicidal. It's the way people can wield it like a Knife, axe, gun or bomb in Ireland,
in the Middle East, and sometimes in our
very own Cities and countrysides that I'm sure
was part of the inspiration behind John Lennon's song, "Imagine".
My Own belief system, as it were, can best
be Described as secular humanistic. I
don't believe in the Supernatural, I do believe
that humans are ultimately Responsible for the World, society, how we treat one Another.
I came by this Honestly. When I was Young, I attended Baptist
Sunday School - my family wasn't Baptist (they felt at home in Methodist or Presbyterian services),
but the location was Convenient. I wish I
could Remember this properly, but I apparently
saw Problems with what they were Saying.
From the precocious 7-8-year-old phase Onwards,
the questioning has never Stopped.
I learned, and Continue to learn, the History of religions.
The Question: "What
if I was born in a different country to different parents; would I still
have the same religion?" - I find it Revealing.
As a layman Linguist, I understand some of
the Translation issues, and am Intrigued
about some of the still-Outstanding ones.
For example, the Question of translating nephesh
in the Old Testament and whether it represents Body (it can bleed and be killed)
or Soul (it's typically
translated as soul or similar wordage in English translations) is
still a hot topic. Did you Know about it? What did you Think?
The more I learn, especially about Context,
the more of a Humanist I become.
Please bear in mind that I'm not attacking Religion
or its Practitioners in any sense. My "Fight", if you can even call it that, is against that Special blend of Ignorance
and the desire to Control that can affect anybody,
religious or Not. Remember
that the terrible "Cultural Revolution" of China
was a non-to-anti-religious Revolution.
I ask but 3Three
To that third item, I must Decry the Conniving attempts to push Religion
under the Guise of Science
into Classrooms in some locales. You know who you are.
There are Morals apart from religion. We - well, most of us - abhor Slavery,
yet it is Condemned in precious few
holy writs, and Sanctioned in more
than a few. Where do we get our Anti-slavery moral Imperative? Why is it so Powerful that it
makes us G l o s s over certain written Passages?
I daresay that in this particular case, it's Empathy. I wouldn't want to be a Slave. I wouldn't want any of my friends to be Slaves either. Or You, reading this right Now.
The profundities of life: Marriage, Birth, Graduation, new Friends, new Experiences, and the ultimate End
of life are not the Sole province of Religion. Neither are Promises,Trust or Family.
In all this Discussion, too, remember that I
am a Reasonable sort. I've come to my Position through Learning and Observation. If Adonai/Jehovah/God or Vishnu
or Buddha came to me in person tomorrow, I'm Not about to ((clap)) my hands over my eyes and sit around Chanting, "You don't exist, you don't exist... la la
la la la".
So how do
you feel after all this?
Respectful but you don't agree? Great.
Respectful and you agree somewhat? That's
Angry? Disgusted? Not so good.
I must wonder... why?
Not sure about all this? Questions of your
own? Going to run something you just thought of by your
friends? That's superb - don't let them brush off your
questions. Your answers won't likely end up the same as mine, but
by gum, you'll be a better person for it.
I Mean what I Say
about Respecting people.
If you've got some Food for Thought,
please Share. My Mind
is always Hungry :)